MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #3
THE LOVE OF GOD
Reading: 1 John 3:1-2
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1.
What an introductory word when considering the love of God especially within the context of the adoption of believers into the family of God. The Greek word 'eido' implies not only to look but 'know, be aware, consider, perceive' what you are looking at. Stop what you are doing and stand back, gaze in awe and amazement at the love of God! Absorb into your very psyche, your heart of hearts what it is you see. This is a different word than when John the Baptist said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29. Here it carries more of the element of surprise-"Look, see, This is the Lamb of God … "I am reminded of the event when God told Ezekiel "'Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.' So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness" Ezekiel 3:3. He was not to simply nibble on the scroll but to consume it entirely so his body would digest it therefore becoming a part of him. Is it not the case here, fellow believer? "Behold!" take it and digest the love of God that has made you one of His adopted children. Do not read these words with a glancing eye but stop right here and make this truth a reality in your heart. Digest it and make it a necessary part of your understanding of who God is and what He has done for you and what you mean to Him. This, I believe, is one of those marvelous credentials the depths of which we will not fully understand until we are in His presence "for (then) we shall see Him as He is;"
"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then
face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am
known" 1 Cor
Our adoption into the family of God is not a benefit for which we applied for it is has been "lavished" (NIV) on us by our Heavenly Father. It is a gift from Him who loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" 1 John 4:10.
In Roman culture adoption was
more the practice of the rich and influential who had failed to produced a son.
In order that such a family has an heir a young man would be adopted solely for
that purpose. Such a candidate would be one who himself was born and raised
into a family of wealth and influence (usually a second son, seldom the
eldest), one who had proven himself to be intellectual and qualified in the
eyes of the adoptive parents to be the heir of their estate. That which makes
our adoption by Almighty God, truly rich and influential, so amazing is that He
chooses those who are dead in their "trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1,5) and who
rightfully must say with David, "I am a worm, and no man" Psalm 22:6. Listen to
the words of God to
"Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of
Is this not amazing love? We are not fit for a place in God's family. We have nothing that qualifies us to become a member of His family-we fail in every aspect, yet, writes the Apostle John "Beloved, now we are children of God."
"Behold, what exotic [foreign to the human heart] love the Father has permanently bestowed upon us, to the end that we may be named [born ones, bairns] of God. And we are" 1 John 3:1-2, Kenneth S. Wuest, An Expanded Translation.
That is the amazing thing, is it not? "And we are!" There might be times when we feel differently but then we must always remember that our adoption depends upon His faithfulness and He never fails, always remaining true to His promise and purpose.
"Stop! Stand in awe at the magnitude of exotic love our Father has permanently lavished on us that we are called sons of God. And we are" A paraphrase from several translations.
"Knowing who we are in Christ and understanding what we possess in Christ is foundational to living a life that is well pleasing to Christ" Albert N. Martin.
It is one thing to believe we have been adopted into the family of God and that He is our Father, but do we understand what it means. What benefits and privileges do we have as God's children? What responsibilities and obligations do we have? These are some of the matters we will discuss as our thoughts regarding our spiritual adoption continue over the next few weeks.
Amazing Father, let me never forget for one moment that I am your adopted child, an heir of your promises and blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Help me to fully absorb this wonderful reality into the depths of my soul. Whenever I have a spare moment turn my thoughts to your glorious love when you made me your son, your heir and brother to Jesus. When I wake in the morning and lay my head on the pillow at night remind me that I am your son. Fill my heart with thanks and praise and may the tears of joy frequent my cheeks as the reality of my sonship to you is digested by my soul. Abba, Father, I stand in awe as I gaze upon your magnificent, unfathomable and unchanging love that raised me out of my trespasses and sins and placed my feet firmly on Jesus, the Rock of my salvation.
From your ever grateful prodigal son.
"O how shall I the goodness tell, Father, which Thou to me
That I, a child of wrath and hell, I should be called a child of God"
Charles Wesley 1707 - 1788.
"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing"