Tonight was the first ever “Adoption” emphasis service I have ever been a part of, and it was such a blessing. We celebrated the adoption of Anna Adkins, daughter of Jay and Jennifer Adkins tonight. There were powerful testimonies from members in our Church who had adopted in-state and internationally, and the testimony from one of our adult members who was adopted at a very young age. The testimonies were incredibly powerful tonight. I closed our service by preaching a message on the doctrine of Adoption with much of my notes coming from Grudem’s Systematic Theology book, he had some incredible notes on Adoption. I am so thankful for the powerful physical testimonies of profound theological and spiritual truth that happened in our service. For more Adoption information check out the “Abundant Life” Ministry Team or contact Jennifer Adkins. We are praying that we testify to the Gospel as we embrace adoption at Lifepoint Church.
3 Privileges of Adoption
In regeneration God gives us new spiritual life within. In justification God gives us right legal standing before him. But in adoption God makes us members of his family. Therefore, the biblical teaching on adoption focuses much more on the personal relationships that salvation gives us with God and with his people. We may define adoption as follows: Adoption is an act of God whereby he makes us members of his family. -Grudem, W. A. (1994). Systematic theology : An introduction to biblical doctrine (736). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ” (Romans 8:14–15, ESV)
“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. ” (Galatians 4:1–7, ESV)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ” (Ephesians 1:3–6, ESV)
These are all the passages in which the word is found. Here the word means the “placing” or “adoption” as sons. In regeneration we receive the nature of sons of God; in adoption we receive the position of sons of God. Regeneration is a change of nature. Adoption is a change of position or relation. -Torrey, R. A. (1898). What the Bible teaches a thorough and comprehensive study of what the Bible has to say concerning the great doctrines of which it treats (336). New York, Chicago [etc.: Fleming H. Revell company.
1. The Privilege of Relation.
One of the greatest privileges of our adoption is being able to speak to God and relate to him as a good and loving Father. We are to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9), and we are to realize that we are “no longer slaves, but sons” (Gal. 4:7). Therefore, we now relate to God not as a slave relates to a slave master, but as a child relates to his or her father. In fact, God gives us an internal witness from the Holy Spirit that causes us instinctively to call God our Father. “When we cry, “Abba! Father!’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15–16). This relationship to God as our Father is the foundation of many other blessings of the Christian life, and it becomes the primary way in which we relate to God. Certainly it is true that God is our Creator, our judge, our Lord and Master, our teacher, our provider and protector, and the one who by his providential care sustains our existence. But the role that is most intimate, and the role that conveys the highest privileges of fellowship with God for eternity, is his role as our heavenly Father.
II. The Privilege of Direction
The privilege of being led by the Holy Spirit is also a benefit of adoption. Paul indicates that this is a moral benefit whereby the Holy Spirit puts in us desires to obey God and live according to his will. He says, “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14), and he gives this as the reason Christians should “put to death the deeds of the body” by means of the Holy Spirit working within them (v. 13; note “for” at the beginning of v. 14). He sees the Holy Spirit as leading and guiding God’s children in paths of obedience to God.
III. The Privilege of Correction
Another privilege of adoption into God’s family, though we do not always recognize it as a privilege, is the fact that God disciplines us as his children. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:5–6, quoting Prov. 3:11–12). The author of Hebrews explains, “God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? … he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb. 12:7, 10). Just as earthly children grow in obedience and righteousness when they are disciplined properly by their earthly fathers, so we grow in righteousness and holiness when we are disciplined by our heavenly Father.
Yes, yes I could give many, many more privileges and truths, but I only had 20 minutes….great service and great testimony tonight!