MEDITATIONS ON SPIRITUAL ADOPTION #4
THE LOVE OF GOD - cont'd
December 23, 2009
: 1 John 3:1-2 Reading
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" 1 John 3:1.
Many who love the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him to be their Savior turn to one particular passage of scripture when they require reassurance in the face of an enemy confrontation. For me that particular scripture is Ephesians 1. Once we begin reading this chapter it is difficult to know where to stop - so don't, keep reading and absorb the many blessings that are yours because God has made you one with His Son. At the top of the list Paul establishes our inclusion in the family of God: "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself" Eph 1:4-5.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," so declares the first verse of the bible, but before that event took place God did something else-He chose us to be His children. This is not something that John Calvin wrote, nor the reformers or puritans but the Holy Spirit, God Himself. He chose us to be "holy and without blame before Him in love" so He could adopt us into His family. Jesus calls those who deny Him sons "of your father, the devil." Paul writes that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom ) and the All-Righteous and Holy God cannot take into His family any who are even slightly tainted with sin. His first act is to make us "holy and without blame" so we can be acceptable to Him. Once He has done that (it is called justification) every obstacle has been removed and He can proceed with the adoption process.
J.I. Packer writes "Justification is the basic blessing on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing [of salvation] to which justification clears the way" Concise Theology. God must try us in criminal (judicial) court before taking us to Family Court where He will take out papers adopting us into His family. We must be declared innocent of all charges in order to qualify for adoption. Words such as pure, clean, white as snow, without blemish, without fault are all biblical terms describing those who have been justified in the court of God's justice. God accomplishes this by what is called "transference"; this is a twofold process 1) our sins are transferred to Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:6) and 2) His righteousness is transferred to us (Rom :5-6).
"And you, who once were alienated and
enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has
reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and
blameless, and above reproach in His sight"
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" Rom 5:8.
This is the only way by which a holy God can establish a relationship with unholy man-man must be like Him, in His image. God communed with Adam before Adam sinned but once he sinned he was dismissed from God's presence and this filial communication was blocked for ever (Gen 3:8, 23-24). But then,
"When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons" Gal 4:4-5.
Paul again addresses the activity of God-before time the adoption plan was framed and in the fullness of time it was fulfilled. The very reason for Christ becoming Man was to make it possible for God to adopt children into His family. The sin problem had to be dealt with before any child of wrath (Eph 2:3) could be made a child of God. Redemption is the means and adoption is the purpose, therefore all who are redeemed are automatically adopted into God's family.
"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 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 4:9-10.
The intense and overwhelming suffering and death Jesus endured was so
the purpose of the Father might be fulfilled and that purpose is the adoption
of sons (Eph 1:3-6). The experience of the three "Gs" was so we might call God
Almighty "Abba, Father." Gabbatha-the place of shameful trial (John );
"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" Heb 2:10. Jesus' work and ministry was made complete by His sufferings. "It is finished" he shouted with a final cry of victory; God can now fulfill His plan by adopting many sons and daughters into His family.
When John saw the New Jerusalem (not a thing but persons) descending from heaven the One who sat on the throne said,
"'Behold, I make all things new.' And He said to me, 'Write, for these words are true and faithful.' And He said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son'" Rev 21:5-7.
The crowning glory of a completed purpose and plan-"I will be his God and he shall be My son." Such glory! Such grace! Such love!
"There are three things that earthly riches can never do; they can never satisfy divine justice, they can never pacify divine wrath, nor can they ever quiet a guilty conscience. And till these things are done, man is undone" Thomas Brooks (1608 - 1680).
"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"