ADOPTION

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By John W. White

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Romans 9:4  "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;" Deuteronomy 7:6,7  "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:" Deuteronomy 14:2  "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." Deuteronomy 28:9, 10 "The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself..." "And all people of the earth... shall be afraid of thee." Deuteronomy 28:13 "And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:" Matthew 21:42, 43 "Jesus saith unto them...The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner... Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."

NOT A PEOPLE, NOW THE PEOPLE

1 Peter 2:8-10 "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them [Israel] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye [Gentiles] are a chosen [e>klekto>v  = elect] generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but NOW have obtained mercy." Ephesians 3:5, 6 "Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"  Keep in mind that Gentiles have always been able to be saved. Rahab the harlot of Jericho was a Gentile and part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. Nineveh was a Gentile city and they were saved through the preaching of Jonah. Gentiles were not promised a heavenly inheritance but an earthly inheritance. Ezekiel 47:22 "And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers.... they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel." There is a list of a few in Hebrews chapter 11 that were living by faith and were anticipating a heavenly inheritance. Hebrews 11:16  "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."

CHILDREN OF GOD

When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved as in Acts 16:31  "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." The children of God are those who have been born, from above, into His family. In 1 Peter 2:2  "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" we should desire to grow spiritually beginning with the milk of the Word. In Isaiah 28 we find out that we should not continue on milk but we need to be weaned. Isaiah 28:9, 10  "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:"  Hebrews 5:13  "For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe." We are expected to mature spiritually and grow in the Word until we are eating the meat of the Word. Hebrews 5:14  "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." We are told that Emmanuel will eat butter and honey in  Isaiah 7:15  "Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good." We find out how to make butter in Proverbs 30:33  "Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter..." The churning of milk to make butter is hard work. The meat of the word is IN the milk of the word. It just takes hard work to get those nuggets of truth to come together. Our ability to discern between good and evil is what will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:10  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad [evil]." Responsibility and accountability comes with maturity in the word. Luke 12:48 ".....For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." The main thing that we need to do is to grow. 2 Peter 3:18  "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."

WHAT IS ADOPTION?

When we read or hear the word "Adoption", we immediately think of a child being born into a family and then that child, through a legal process, becomes a member of another family. There are those who teach that when we are saved we are adopted into the family of  God. This concept of adoption does not agree with  what we find in John 3:3  "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again [from above], he cannot see the kingdom of God." When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal saviour we are born from above into the family of God. Being born into the family God, means adoption is not necessary. In Ephesians 1:5 we find the word adoption in context with the word children. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," The phrase "Adoption of children" is the translation of one Greek word, uijoqesi>an. This word is the same word that is used in Romans 8:15, and  is a compound word containing the words uijoJ" and tiqhmi. The word uijoJ" means "son". The word tiqhmi means  "to put", "to lay", "to appoint" and "to ordain". There is not a single hint  to suggest that the word uioqesian means "adoption." The word "Adoption" means "To appoint as a son" or "To ordain to sonship".

WHEN DOES ADOPTION TAKE PLACE?

The appointment was made before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4) but when does the appointment take effect?  Romans 8:19, and 23 can help us with this question. Romans 8:19 "For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation [Greek ajpokaluyin = the revelation, or the unveiling] of the sons of God." In Romans 8:23 The manifestation of the sons of God will take place when our bodies are raised from the dead. "...We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit [that is to say], the redemption of our body." Jesus Christ was declared the Son of God with power at His resurrection: Romans 1:4  "And declared [oJri>zw  = appoint] to be [This verb is not in the Gr. text.] The Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" In Philippians 3:21 we are given some insight into what will happen at the resurrection of the body. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." 

AS CHILDREN, WE ARE SERVANTS

Galatians 4:1, 2  "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under  tutors and governors until the appointed time of the Father." A contemporary illustration of this is when a Jewish boy, at age 13, becomes a 'son of the commandment' and a full member of the synagogue at his bar mitzvah. The Hebrew word bar means "son", and the word mitzvah means "command" and the root word, tsavah means to "enjoin" and is translated "appoint", "charge", "put" or "command".  Just as a Jewish boy would be placed into the family as a son, so also in the family of God, many of the children of God will be declared sons of God and will no longer be servants under tutors and governors. Until the Lord takes us home to be with him we are either being profitable or unprofitable servants. Matthew 25:23  "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Luke 17:10  "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."

"THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD"

The first occurrence of the word "Adoption" is found in Romans 8:14,15 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." In verse 14 we have the statement "They are the sons of God". If those that "Are lead by the Spirit of God....are the sons of God", this seems to indicate that the sons of God have been manifested and the body has been redeemed. This has not happened. For us to understand what is being said in verse 14, we will have to study two verbs in that verse. The two verbs are "Are led" and "They are". Both are in the present tense, which means the actions of these verbs is continuous. You graph the action of the present tense with a straight line (). We need to translate the verb (Gr. a[gw) "Are led" to reflect the present tense and passive voice: "For as many as are being led by Spirit of God...". The passive voice means the subject, "As many as", receives the action of the verb, "Being  led." Because the present tense expresses continuous action, the action of  " being led by Spirit of God" can continue for a while then be terminated. The other verb (Gr. ei>mi) "They are" is also in the present tense, and it is the verb "to be" in English. This word can be translated "they are being." As long as the Spirit of God is leading us, we are being the sons of God. As soon as we stop being led by the Spirit of God, we are no longer being, behaving or conducting ourselves as sons of God. We have similar uses of the present tense in Romans 8:5 and 8. Romans 8:5  "For they that are [present active participle of ei>mi, they are being] after the flesh do mind [present active of du>namia, they are minding] the things of the flesh..." Those who are behaving themselves in the flesh are being mindful of fleshly things. Romans 8:7  "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." If we are not subject to the law of God neither are we subject to the Spirit of God. We have become lawless. Romans 8:8  "So then they that are [present active participle of ei>mi, they are being] in the flesh [This is not referring to being in the flesh literally, but minding the things of the flesh as in verse 5.] cannot [Two Greek words "Can" and "Not". The word "Can" is present passive of du>namia, "They are being able"; plus the Greek word: ouj, the emphatic "Not" ] please God." To be led by the Spirit of God is to "Be spiritually minded" (Romans 8:6), and to behave ourselves as sons of God, and to live in such a way as to please Him. Again, if Romans 8:14 is making the statement that we are now sons of God, then the sons of God have been revealed and we are in our glorified bodies. This just simply is not the case.

BECAUSE YE ARE SONS

Galatians 4:6, 7 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art [present active of ei>mi, ye are being] no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." The verb "Ye are" is present active of ei>mi, and should be translated "ye are being sons", just as it is in Romans 8:14. The verb "Thou art" in verse 7 is also present active of ei>mi, and should be translated  " ye are being no more servants." It is obvious that we cannot say that we are the sons of God literally, just as we cannot say literally that we are no longer servants of God. We are still in this body of death.

HOW DO WE LIVE LIKE A SON

Jesus Christ is our example. The following  is selected verses that will show His example. 1 Peter 2:21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:" Philippians 2:5, 6-8  "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"; "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Hebrews 5:8 "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;" John 4:34 "Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Mark 14:36 "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." Matthew 10:24 "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord." We can cry Abba, Father also. Romans 8:15 "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the sprit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6 "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Hebrews 12:2  "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith [ability to please Him]; who for the joy that was set before him  [a good and faithful servant] endured the cross [not just the crucifixion], despising the shame [that comes for disobedience], and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God [overcomer]."

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath..  given us the spirit... of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." POWER  -  "ALL things are possible unto Thee." LOVE  - "Not what I will but what thou wilt." SOUND MIND  - Isaiah 33:6  "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure."

WHO ARE THE SONS OF GOD TODAY?

Job 1:6  "Now there was a day when the sons of God [These are angels.] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." Dan 10:13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." Ephesians 6:12  "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  These passages show that the angels of God, whether they be fallen or not, are known as the sons of God and they are the principalities, rulers, and powers in the heavens today.

WHO WILL BE SON'S OF GOD
IN THE AGE TO COME?

Revelation 12:9  "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." About the middle of the tribulation the principalities and powers in heavenly places will be kicked out of heaven. Those who have been appointed to sonship will begin to rule from the heavens. Revelation 2:26, 27 "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron..." Who is with Him when He comes to make war? Revelation 17:14  "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." The words called, chosen, and faithful   are adjectives describing the kings and lords that are with him. The promise made to the apostles: Matthew 19:27,28 "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" "And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration WHEN the son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,  judging the twelve tribes of Israel." This is during the 1000-year reign of Christ over the earth.

THE CHALLENGE

Revelation 21:7  "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Hebrews 11:16  "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."    1 Corinthians 15:57, 58  "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

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