Adopted by God: The Pinnacle of God's Grace
By Dustin Shramek
I. Are all people children of God?
A. John 1:12.
1. If all are children of God, why would we need to become a child of God?
B. 1 John 3:1.
2. Who are children of God?
1. Why does the world not know us?
C. What about Acts 17:28-29?
1. Paul is not thinking of the special privileges that one has as a member of God's family, rather he is highlighting the fact that God is Creator of us all and therefore we are His offspring for we are made in His image.
II. What is adoption?
A. What does adoption mean to you? Do you know anyone who has been adopted?
B. "Adoption is an act of God whereby he makes us members of his family."
C. Adoption is a judicial act in that we are given a new status, we are declared to be children of God.
D. Is adoption simply an act of justification? Why or why not?
1. Does justification necessarily imply adoption?
a. Justification is the primary and fundamental blessing of God's grace, but it is not the highest. It is primary in that it meets our primary spiritual need and it is fundamental in that all other blessings flow from it. But it does imply a deep intimate relationship with God. It is conceivable for God to have justified us without adopting us. In justification, God the Judge declares us righteous, in adoption, God the Father declares us His child. This is a much greater blessing.
E. Is adoption the same as regeneration?
1. God could have creatures who are spiritually alive, but are not members of His family and who therefore do not share in the privileges that come from such membership. This seems to be true of angels (note the distinction between children of God and angels in He 2:14-16).
F. It is important to see these distinctions so that we can truly see the greatness of the blessings of adoption. "To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for By God the Father is a greater."
G. Galatians 4:4-7.
1. Why did God send His Son?
2. As a son, what also does God send?
a. Why does God send His Spirit (Romans 8:15-16)?
3. What is true of those who are adopted (v. 7, also Ro 8:17)?
IV. The privileges of adoption.
A. We can relate to God as our good and loving Father. God is our Creator, Lord Master, Judge, Provider, Teacher, etc., but most intimately, He is our Father! It is because of all of those other things that we are so amazed that He is our Father.
B. Because God is our Father, we can know that He loves us with a special love that He does not have for all people.
1. 1 John 3:1.
a. Why is God's love so great? Not everyone is a child of God, so what implications does this verse have?
2. 1 John 4:10.
a. God did not send His Son to propitiate the sins of all people, no, He sent His Son to propitiate the sins of those He loves.
3. Ephesians 1:4-5.
a. We are predestined "in love." Now we know that not all are predestined for not all are saved, therefore we conclude that God has a special love for His elect that He doesn't have for other people.
4. We would be appalled if a father told his son that he didn't love him any more than all the other children in the neighbor. We would not call him a good, loving father.
5. We are not fit for God's family, but He has chosen to adopt us and exalt us with His perfect Son, Jesus Christ.
6. When one adopts, they don't become passive after the papers are signed. No, they win the love of their new child by overwhelming that child with their love for him.
C. Because God is our Father, He understands us (Ps 103:13-14).
D. Because God is our Father He will take care of us (Mt 6:32).
E. God, as our Father, gives us good gifts (Mt 7:11).
F. The greatest gift is our salvation and the inheritance that awaits us (Ro 8:17; Ga 4:7; 1 Pe 1:4; Re 2:26-27; 3:21).
1. According to 1 Pe 1:4, what kind of inheritance do we have?
a. If God makes us His children in love and He is perfect, then our family relationship must be an abiding one. For God will go out of His way to make His love known. God is a perfect Father.
G. We are being led by the Spirit (Ro 8:14). Our Father wants His children to be obedient so He has granted us the gift of His Spirit to empower us for obedience.
1. The Spirit works to make us ever more clear of our relationship with Christ and with His Father.
2. The Spirit causes us to see God as our Father, thereby giving us confidence and trust when we approach Him. We are able to cry out "Abba, Father!" (Ga 4:6; Ro 8:15).
3. The Spirit moves in us to cause us to live as royal children.
a. He enables us to manifest the family likeness (conform to Christ).
H. God disciplines us as children.
b. He enables us to act for the family's welfare (love our brethren).
c. He enables us to maintain the family honor (seek God's glory).
1. Hebrews 12:5-10.
a. What moves God to discipline us (v. 6)?
2. Truly, God's discipline is a great privilege.
I. We both share in Christ's suffering and in His glory (Ro 8:17).
b. What is God's intended purpose for our discipline?
1. What is our hope as children of God?
a. 1 Jn 3:2.
J. We are members of one family (Ro 1:13; 8:12; 16:1; 1 Co 1:10; 6:8; 7:15; Mt 12:50; Philemon 2; Ja 1:2; 2:15).
b. Ro 8:23.
c. Php 3:20-21.
1. It is as members of God's family that we are to relate to one another (1 Ti 5:1-2).
V. Adoption is the basis of the Christian life (meditations on the Sermon on the Mount).
2. Kingdom work is family work. How will such a view effect the way we view other ministries and churches? What about our view of believers of different races and nationalities?
A. How did Jesus commonly refer to believers (Mk 3:35; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:17-18)?
B. Adoption is the basis of Christian conduct.
1. We are to imitate our Father (Mt 5:44-45, 48). We must show the family likeness.
C. Adoption is the basis of Christian prayer (Mt 6:9).
2. We are to glorify our Father (Mt 5:16; 6:9).
3. We are to please our Father. (Mt 6:1)
1. How would our prayers be different if we were only able to relate to God as our master? Prayer is not impersonal, it is not a mechanical formula to get what you want (Mt 6:7-8).
D. Adoption is the basis of the life of faith.
2. Prayer is free and bold (Mt 7:7-11; see also Ep 3:12 and He 10:19-22).
1. Because our Father is both loving and omnipotent, we have no cause for worry or anxiety, we can trust Him with all of our heart (Mt 6:25-26; 31-33).
VI. The Fatherhood of God.
A. Four implications of God's fatherly relationship to Jesus.
1. It implies that He has authority (Jn 6:38; 17:4; 5:19; 4:34).
B. Is God our Father in the same way that He is Christ's Father? Through faith, do we share in Christ's Sonship, thereby entering into the divine fellowship of the Trinity?
2. It implies affection (Jn 5:20; 15: 9-10).
3. It implies fellowship (Jn 16:32; 8:29).
4. It implies honor (Jn 17:1; 5:22-23).
1. Christ is God's only begotten (Jn 1:18; 3:16, 18; 1 Jn 4:9).
C. Who adopts us? Is it God the Father or the Godhead?
2. How does Jesus keeps this distinction clear in His words to Mary in John 20:17?
1. "Father" is the title of the first person of the trinity and it is He who Jesus prayed to and it is He who is the God and Father of Christ (Ro 15:6).
2. In Jn 20:17, Jesus clearly refers to the first person of the trinity as "My Father" and it is his Father that he also calls "your Father." Therefore, it is the first person of the trinity who is our Father.
3. Jesus often said, "My Father who is in heaven," clearly referring to the first person of the trinity. Is not the same person in view when we says, "Your Father who is in heaven."?
4. Paul often clearly distinguishes the first person of the trinity as "the Father", "God", or "God the Father" (Ro 15:6; 2 Co 1:3; 11:31; Ga 1:1; Ep 1:3; 6:23; Ph 2:11; Col 1:3; 1 Th 1:1; 2 Th 1:2; 1 Ti 1:2; 2 Ti 1:2; Tit 1:4; 1 Pe 1:2,3; 2 Pe 1:17; 2 Jn 3; Jude 1; Re 1:6). When God is called the Father of believers, the expression used is very similar (Ro 1:7; 1 Co 1:3; 2 Co 1:2; Ga 1:3; Ep 1:2; Ph 1:2; Phmn 3; Ga 1:4 Ph 4:20; Co 1:2; 1 Th 1:3; 3:11, 13; 2 Th 1:1-2; 2 Th 2:16).
A. What great joy it brings us to know that the Sovereign Lord of the universe has saved us and adopted us into His family!
B. Our hearts overflow with gratitude as we see the special blessings of adoption.
C. We are able to relate to God properly, as His children.
D. It is the foundation of our hope, for we know that God is a good Father and will by no means let any harm befall His children.
E. It gives us greater confidence as we approach Him in prayer.
F. We have a more accurate perception of the church and our relation to other believers. This tears down pride, for we ought to rejoice when our brothers and sisters are furthering our Father's glory.
G. It tears down any possibility of racism or sexism in the church. For we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
H. It brings great glory to God because it highlights His great love and mercy that He shows His people.
I. It satisfies our hearts. Nothing is more satisfying to the soul than knowing God intimately as our loving Father.
1. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), p. 736
2. J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993), p. 207.
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