Saturday, August 28, 2010
A banquet of grace, part 1
Rom 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,"Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
Gal 4:4-7 But 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. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Eph 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
When I begin a study, I always like to reflect upon what God has revealed about Himself as it relates to the topic being studied. So I opted to look up the Scriptures that talk about Him adopting us first. There are a
LOT of things we can note in these verses, and others that are like them, but let me just point out a few that really stuck out to me:
1) God makes us joint heirs with Christ, not second class sons.
2) There is a price to pay to adopt, and God willingly paid it.
3) He chose us before the foundation of the world...adoption was not plan B for God, and it was a redemptive plan, a plan that pleased Him, and a plan that would make His grace known.
Now here are some thought/implications that come to my mind...ideas for us to think through more as we continue this study.
1) All my children are adopted (I also like to use the term grafted) into my family, but for those who have a blend of homegrown and grafted children you are raising, it is interesting to note that God assures us that we are joint heirs. Jesus knows it and we know it...our Father talks with us about it. If you have adopted, you have most likely encountered questions from people asking if you know who the child’s “real” parents are, or the like (often asked in the presence of your children). These questions send messages to all your children that can plant seeds of superiority in your homegrown kids and inferiority in your grafted ones. Honestly, they don't even need the comments and questions...they are prone to think of it on their own. Let us all be encouraged to communicate clearly on our part to every member that each wears our family name and they are joint heirs, each a gift from God and part of our family by His design, each loved and valued.
2) God paid the ultimate price for adopting us. This relates to our question of starting point, and some might suggest this indicates that the family adopting should fully fund the adoption. Maybe. We’ll keep studying and considering. Here’s another way of looking at it for our consideration though too. Our God is triune in nature, and in our adoption the Father so loved the world that He gave His son, His Son came and lived a perfectly righteous life and died in our place, bearing the full wrath of the Father that was due to us, and the Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption...the community of God, if you will, worked together in bringing about our adoption as children of God. As His representatives on the earth, there very well may be a legitimate body-of-Christ-working-together aspect that is appropriate in the funding of adoptions.
3) Let point 3 simply encourage any who wrestle with the plan B idea of adoption to chew on this as well as point one...you see, we have to get over our own ideas that children we birth are “real” or “children of our own” in contrast to adopted children somehow not being real or our own once they are grafted into our family. I flopped in this arena for our first adoption. We were an infertile couple and very much desired to have children, and frankly, we adopted the first time because we were not able to conceive. I loved God and wanted to raise children for His glory, but that first adoption journey was mostly about me and my dreams, and it was (as far as I was concerned) plan B for achieving them. That was just where I was at. But God used the process to open my eyes to the Plan A of it all in His mind, and He began to open my heart up to love the fatherless and to see His heart of compassion and His aim of redemption for the praise and glory of His grace. Knowing that God is holy and infinitely wise and good and loving, I’m sure in my sinful finiteness I have a LOT more growing to do...I do know this though: I have tasted and seen His goodness and long to become more and more like Him. Adoption is one of the clearest pictures of gospel grace I know of. Before I adopted I didn’t pay any attention to it. Now that God has led me down this road, His grace shines all the brighter to me as I consider His adoptive love, the price He was willing to pay, His compassion towards a sinner like me. He has made me a co-heir with Christ. If you're a Christian, you too are a co-heir. Amazing grace. Plan A.
I’m looking forward to studying this out more because I believe God has provided a feast for us here to enjoy, a banquet of His grace. PLEASE continue to give feedback and interact throughout this study ...I have very much appreciated the different vantage points people have shared so far, and my hope is that the interaction will help every reader's taste buds be enlivened to taste the goodness of God better. Let’s just remember that we are all in the process of being sanctified, at various places in our walks with the Lord and ALL of us have room to grow...let’s continue to be gracious and patient with each other in our comments as we search out and pray for God’s heart relative to the fatherless and adoption.
to be continued...