The Apostle Paul speaks of our adoption, and he also speaks of the revealing of the sons of God. Which is it? Are we adopted or are we the true sons of God?
[Jim Tuck] In the Gospels, we are introduced to the inspiring story, of the birth of Jesus Christ. The process which is an extraordinary process of God, being born of a mortal woman. You know, how many think about that fact? That this process, this great process of God, being brought into the physical world through a flesh and blood human being, a flesh and blood woman.
Let's begin by going to Matthew 1, over here in verse 18, we'll go down to verse 21, he says, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: As His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And when Joseph her husband, being a just man," it says, "not wanting to make a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”’”
So again we here find a description of a God, being born to a fleshly woman. He was begotten of the Father and Mary wondered as anybody would, "How could this possibly be?" And we're going to go to it, but in Luke 1:35 Luke 1:35And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come on you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.
American King James Version×it says “The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy Thing shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God.’" And of course, we understand that Joseph was then Jesus Christ's stepfather. He was not His father. The Father in heaven was Jesus's Father and He was the Son of God
And we look in the Bible and nowhere does it ever say that an angel was born in the way in which Jesus Christ was born. In fact, the Bible, says that no one, no angel was ever offered what Jesus Christ was offered. That He would sit down at the right hand of the Father in heaven. And Jesus Christ, we know when we read the Scriptures, we go through the Scriptures, we find that Jesus was very close to His Father. And before His crucifixion, He prayed all night and “He said, ‘Father,’ He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible with You. Take away this cup from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.’" And Christ spoke only those things that were the Father's will. He spoke His words and so He was exceptionally close to the Father. He had that Abba Father relationship. The word Abba, by the way, is an Aramaic word and it's akin to the word daddy or dad, it's like you call your father dad. You know, many people call their fathers that even here of course in our day in our time, and it signifies a close personal relationship.
And Jesus Christ, now sits at the very right hand of the Father, in heaven. Let's go over now to Romans 8, Romans 8 we look forward do we not to the time when we will be, sons in the Kingdom of God. But here in Romans 8:15 Romans 8:15For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
American King James Version×let's notice this here Paul is talking here he's talking about how that we have to walk in a spiritual way in our lives to walk by the flesh is destruction, to walk by the Spirit, is life or eternal life in the fullest extension. But here in verse 15, let's notice in chapter 8, of Romans he says, "But you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear,” our calling the fact that God has brought us into the Church of God, is not for the ultimate destiny of being slaves, of being in bondage — far from it. But it says, "but you've received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’" Just in the same way that Jesus, had that close personal relationship that Daddy Father, or Dad in heaven relationship we have that relationship. But interestingly here it says, "We've received the Spirit of adoption." What does it mean the Spirit of adoption? Are we not the children of God? Are we not the sons of God? Isn't that what the Bible says that we’re the sons of God? This word adoption sometimes is difficult for people to understand. How does the Spirit of adoption relate to the sonship that God says that we have? Are we sons or are we adopted?
You know, not much is said about it in the Bible, in fact, this is one of the few places this is mentioned in the Bible. And this is the only use of the word in this sense of the Spirit of adoption that we find in the Bible. And I think all of us are familiar with the idea of adoption in today's world with so many orphans, and childless couples that extend in the world, and in the United States, and all around the world. And often, however, with an adopted child, an adopted child can feel different, different than their natural born child. And this can create problems inferiority problems, the child thinking that you know, that they're the lesser of the children no matter what a loving adoptive parent might do, they feel like that they're sort of a second-class kid of the family. Now spiritually, we could have the same feelings, we see that word connected with what we're going to be ultimately in the future regarding adoption. Are we going to be like the little-redheaded kid or the stepchild, that is picked on in the family kind of thing, our conception is though different than what Christ's role will be in the Kingdom. He is you might say a natural born and if we're adopted you know, that that makes us feel different than Jesus Christ is.
Now interestingly, of course, we look, you look up the word “adoption.” The Greek word for “adoption” doesn't mean the same thing that we think about in our culture, in our society. As oftentimes we you know, the word that we attempt, that we read in the Scriptures is not the same as how we might apply it in our modern day culture. Adoption in a legal sense now is used in relation to a legal transaction of receiving into the family as a son or daughter, a child who has been born of other parents. Now someone that was conceived in another family as it were, and brought into another family and legally is adopted. Many people, of course, are in that position through the years.
The English Bible translators when they gave the word “adoption” from the Greek word to express this act of God, even though in our culture it doesn't mean the same as it does in Greek. But it was translated that by the English translators, the word adoption. And you know, I think it's important to understand that. You look up the word, the Greek word for “adoption” is quite interesting, this is from Strong's I won't even attempt to try to pronounce the Greek word I mean because after all, it is Greek, it's Greek to me. But anyway the word “adoption” in the Greek, it means the placing of a son. The placing of a son. That is adoption figuratively, figuratively. Christian sonship in respect to God, adoption, of course, is the word as well, of children of sons.
But let's key in on the phrase the placing of a son. We can also say the placing of a daughter in this case obviously, all are not men that God is calling today. He's calling children into His family. But adoption in other words far from what it means in our culture in the United States, in the western world adoption means the placing of a son. Now, what does that mean? And I thought well it must be that that person is more decorated than that person, in other words, that this person has accomplished more in this business whatever it was, I can't remember again off the top of my head where it was I saw that. But when it says here brethren, that God has blessed us with every conceivable spiritual blessing, you know, think of it from that standpoint. He is going to give us, brethren, more than we can even imagine. It will be greatly decorated in the future if I can put it that way. That may not be a good word to use, but that's what we'll do.
But going on it says, "just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world,” and of course, we know that's in God's plan He chose us, "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,” it is what God wants to do. He wants to give us these tremendous blessings brethren. He's called us for that ultimate purpose “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." That God is going to accept us into something that is so tremendous and beyond our imagination for the future. We've been accepted into the familia or the family, as a result of what Christ did by the good graces of our Father in heaven.
He's given us this that we really don't deserve. And over in Ephesians 3, maybe quickly we can go over there in chapter 3 of Ephesians, and down to verse 14, let's see what it says, "And for this reason,” Paul says, "I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” the word “family” here the Greek word is patria. Because the Father, was again a key figure in the family, patria, the whole family of God, that we've been accepted into that brethren, that tremendous family of God. You know, in the Roman family the father was a key figure, very important in the Roman family.
The apostle Paul used the cultures of his day and drew upon certain parts of those things he understood to teach the truth of what God, was going to ultimately do for us in the calling that God had given to us. He used examples, we all know this we studied, ancient Olympiad games to teach Christians about striving for the mastery, because of our great goal our grandiose goal that God has given to us. He drew on family customs of the Roman world to teach our future, our roles as sons in the Kingdom in the future. And He calls it the Spirit of adoption, and keep it from this standpoint, understand from this standpoint brethren, it is like this Paul is saying. It is like this. He uses the culture to explain what our role is going to be in the future. It's like this Paul was saying. And again adoption for what it means in the Greek, the placing of sons. Adoption as a son was a legal status in the Roman world, which Paul observed. And someone who is legally considered to be the firstborn, legally considered to be the natural son whom the father passed over in favor of an adopted son.
The adopted son was given all rights and privileges at a particular age as the firstborn. Now we see this brethren, in how God does things in the Bible. Look at the example I'm not going to go back to this example because you should be very familiar with it. When Esau and Jacob were struggling in the womb of Isaac's wife, remember Esau was the firstborn and God passed over Esau because of the way that Esau was and He gave it to Jacob. Legally it should have been Esau. And the Bible says, you know, that, "Esau I've hated and Jacob, I've loved." And of course Esau was not probably an easy person to love, but we know that God used again Jacob, it was His right to make that choice and that's what He did. And brethren, think about this fact that we were not the first choice. God was working with Israel and God would have loved to work just with Israel, and bring them on into the Kingdom. He would have loved to work with the Jews, and bring them on into the Kingdom, as His sons. Remember Paul was up there in Rome, and he consulted in fact with those who were leading Jews there in Rome when he was in prison.
And he could not convince them, he realized that of his own people, he could not convince them. And so he went to the Gentiles. So what does God do? He passed over to those that could be used, those that could be called. So we see this as something that occurred in the Bible, and you could show it many many times throughout the Scriptures. And so God has passed over brethren, others that we might be His sons in the Kingdom, He wants us, He desires us, He's chosen us brethren. And we shall be sons, we are going to be sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God, fully acceptable with all rights and privileges as any son you know, even though we're not born the way Jesus Christ, will be, we'll be like Christ. We'll be in roles similar to Christ, of course never be over Christ, but because He's our elder brother.
In Wikipedia, it says this concerning an adoption in ancient Rome. "In ancient Rome, adoption of boys was a fairly common procedure, particularly in an upper senatorial class. The need for a male heir and the expense of raising children… were strong incentives to have at least one son, but not too many children. Adoption, the obvious solution, also served to cement ties between families, thus fostering and reinforcing alliances.” Of course, they used it you know, for political reasons. “In the imperial period, the system also acted as a mechanism for ensuring a smooth succession, the emperor taking his chosen successor as his adopted son. As Rome was ruled by a selected numbers of powerful families, every senator's duty was to produce sons to inherit the estate, family name, and political tradition… In Roman law, the power to give children in adoption was one of the recognized powers of the paterfamilias.” Or the father of the family. “The adopted boy would usually be the oldest, the one who with proven health and abilities. Adoption was an expensive agreement for the childless family and quality had to be ensured." That's from Wikipedia.
In other customs of Rome, it says, "In ancient Roman, when a boy was born into the family he was cared for by his parents till he was 21 years of age. And at that age, they took him and placed him in the marketplace before the public." The Roman Square was, of course, the very important part of how things were conducted in the Roman world. "And he was placed as a son and from that time on he had the full authority, of a man. This act at the marketplace did not make him a son. He was a son when he was born into the parent's family, but at the age of 21 he was placed as a son, he was given full authority, he was given that responsibility." And this of course very much ties into what is going to happen with us, those of us called now. We know there are three kinds of sons that the Bible mentions about. Of course the angelic world, they have a sonship. Over in Job 1, it says that the angels or “the sons of God presented themselves before the Eternal,” and then, of course, we are sons as well by the fact that we were created. But all of us brethren, when we were created, we were created in bondage, we were born in bondage. And of course because of the sin and the way of the world and the society. And there's a third, and that is someone who is a son by the Holy Spirit.
And we've been freed from bondage, the bondage of sin, and we belong to God's family. Our citizenship, our family, you know, emanates from heaven. All of us are part of that family. Let's go to 1 John 3, over here. In 1 John 3, the Bible explicitly says brethren that you and I are already sons of God. Because we are by the fact that we're human but more than that. But in chapter 3 verse 1-2, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now" John says, "we are the children of God; and if it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed,” when Christ is revealed “we shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He is."
So we're already the children of God, but what we're going to be isn't entirely clear, but we do know this that we're going to be like Christ. He's our elder brother we're going to be like Him. We are sons but we have not been placed as yet in heavenly appointed positions. We've not been placed as sons, we've been called now but we have not been placed in full sonship, we have not been giving you might say, as you know, was in Roman culture when they were 21 years of age they weren't given full authority until they were 21.
There's a concept of maturity, and that's another topic by the way that fits very nicely into this. The discussion of maturity, that we mature to the level of Christ, that's our goal. That we should become like Christ. You know, but let's go on up here, go now to Ephesians 2. In Ephesians 2, over here Paul, you know, of course, sprinkles a lot of this through all of the letters he wrote but in the second chapter of Ephesians down to verse 5, chapter 2 verse 5 of Ephesians it says, "even when we were dead in trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” so even when we were dead, were part of this world, God called us out. We had to be drawn by the Father. It was the Father's action that drew us out. God is of course, in spite of our problems made us alive with Christ, has “raised us up, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Remember what Christ said? He said in the letter… the message to the Laodiceans, that if they repented that He will allow them to sit with Him in His throne. "As I sit with my Father, in His throne." You know, heavenly places he's talking about here, that God is going to give us roles and responsibility you might say under the aegis, under the authority of the throne of Jesus Christ, we'll be under Christ.
You know, Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. Let's go to one more verse in Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×over here that adds a little bit to that, but in Romans 8:23 Romans 8:23And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
American King James Version×, let's notice here. He says, "But not only that," here he's talking about again the revealing of the sons of God. "Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption,” It says, "the redemption of our body." Now, what does this verse say here? Well, we're the first to receive the Holy Spirit. To begin in the Holy Spirit, but notice that we groan within ourselves, but we wait for the adoption. We wait so there's a period of time. There are two reasons which tell us the adoption is for the future. The adoption is for a time ahead because we're waiting for that plus the redemption of our bodies. We've got to have our bodies changed. I think all of us are about ready for that aren't we? You know, for a new body. But that's going to be at a time we understand it will not happen until the time of the first resurrection which is also called the better resurrection.
So brethren, we wait till the time when our change is going to occur. You know, when we are baptized and we receive the Spirit of God, we are given the promise of eternal life. At that time the adoption has not really taken place, but we are given when we we're baptized, and we have the laying on of hands and we receive the Holy Spirit, we've been given an earnest payment for that. That God, says, okay, you know, if you apply yourself in your life to do what you need to do, I'm going to give you a guarantee of the adoption, I'm going to give you for the future. A future role that you're going to play.
Let's go over here to Ephesians 1:4 Ephesians 1:4According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
American King James Version×, just a few verses here we'll touch upon, but in Ephesians 1:4 Ephesians 1:4According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
American King James Version×but it says "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,” And down to verse 6, "to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved." And I mentioned about being in the family of God. But notice in verse 13, "In Him you also trusted,” in Christ, that is “after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” see we have a promise of adoption for the future. In verse 14, "who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." So God has given us brethren, the down-payment which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that is given to us before we're going to be placed as sons in the future. It's a guarantee we'll be there.
And as it were it's like a ticket that will get us into that time when that's going to occur. And I have no idea of what's that's going to be, but I imagine it's going to be a pretty big party in the future. Wouldn't you imagine that? You think that Christ is going to be inaugurated into His office without a lot of fanfare. Don't you think angels in heaven are going to be singing and you're going to have… I don't know what they do in heaven. When these things begin to happen maybe it'll be a lot of like confetti that will be coming down, I don't know balloons or whatever will happen. If they have… I don't know if they have spiritual balloons up there that they blow up. They may even have talking animals for all I know, we don't know what in fact goes on in heaven, we're not told that are we? But you and I have been given brethren, this precious pass as it were, this precious earnest payment by the indwelling of the Spirit to be placed. And brethren, in the future, God is going to proudly bring us before everyone, He's going to bring us out before all the host of heaven, He's going to bring us out brethren, before the whole world. He's going to announce who we are, that we are going to rule with Christ, for 1,000 years. And again that's going to be a big party when it happens.
However, brethren, in order for us to be placed we need to be mature, you know, like Christ. That's where we are told in Ephesians 4, over there that God has given the ministry so that we as a church can become mature, more mature. And we grow to the measure and the stature of Christ, and you've heard many sermons about what the word “perfect” means. God, doesn't expect you to be you know, somebody that is like an automaton, you're a human being. The word perfect means to be complete, it means to mature and Christ, is, of course, the goal that we shoot for, we want to be like Christ, our elder brother. And because when we are changed, when our bodies are redeemed we're going to be like Christ, because it says we're going to “see Him as He is.” And so the ministry of Jesus Christ brethren has the awesome role in the Church to help us to do that, the Church has that role.
Now brethren, why do we groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption if it's already here? But it's not here. We're groaning, you know, waiting for that time to come because we see this world is getting worse and worse. The troubles are increasing and people lives, the suffering that is going on it's almost like the world is teetering on collapse. And it has been that way for quite some time now, seems like we get to the very edge where it could happen and then it pulls back. And things will straighten up for a little bit, maybe it's because God is not ready yet. When He's ready He will allow it to fall, and it will fall of its own accord. God doesn't push it over. It will collapse of its own accord. We're living in this life brethren, it's not easy. You know, so we're groaning within ourselves waiting for the adoption like I mentioned in the letter I sent to you about how Satan is trying to wear us down, he's trying to wear the brethren down. If it is not one thing, it is another thing that you face in your life. You know one of them, is major goals that he has is to discourage you so that you don't want to take one more step forward. The reality is if you take that one more step forward your life will improve, you'll feel better. Like I told you I've been down discouragement street before myself, I've been… what do they say, what do they call it? Blue? I had those blue feelings, you begin to well, listen to jazz or something like that.
When you get into those blue feelings, I've never been a great big jazz fan. But there have been times of my life where it would probably fit more or some country western songs, where you lose your horse, you lose your dog, you lose everybody. And if you play a country western song back you know, if you play it back reverse you get your wife back, you get your dog back, you get everything back. That would be an interesting song, wouldn't it, if you heard it on the radio? Right now, you might say we have the Spirit of adoption brethren, but the adoption is coming. The real adoption is coming where we're going to be placed in positions of glory in the Kingdom. When the Kingdom is established brethren, we're going to be placed and we will be as spirit born children in the family of God. And what a time that's going to be and the Bible tells us brethren in Romans 8, I'm not going to go over there, but it says that "We're co-heirs with Christ." You know, I never really fully comprehended that, what it means to be a co-heir. I haven't really ever in my life inherited anything from anyone. My brothers, and I, and sisters, we have a property in Oklahoma, about 20 acres or so, but there are about 500 of us on that will. We're not quite that many but you know, there's a lot of us on the will so I don't know, the inheritance might be worth about 15 cents you know. Really it's not really worth that much to me, but we were appreciative and we've kept the property it's still in the family. But it says, "We're co-heirs with Christ." If you noticed that Christ is a pretty big name in here, it is.
And the God, who owns everything in the universe and Jesus Christ is His Son that we're are going to be the sons as well. And we're going to receive brethren the rights of firstborn children would if they were adopted in the Roman times. They will be given full authority at that time. And it says there in Romans 8, "If we are willing to suffer with Christ," you can read it for yourself, it says, "we're going to be glorified together with Christ." That should be awesome to us to realize what kind of fanfare will go into when Christ is announced as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Well, brethren we're the kings, we're the priests or the Lords that will be there as well in the future.
You know, all mankind right now is under the penalty of the laws of God, because only those called now truly are the ones who are obeying God. There's a lot of people that think that they're obeying God, but there are only a few on earth that truly are obeying God. And the Bible says that "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." And “the wages of sin” we know we're told “is death.” And God though has called us and through His race, He has justified us. He has prepared us in fact to receive the big inheritance the Bible talks about. Let's go to Galatians 4. Notice here it says in Galatians 4:4 Galatians 4:4But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
American King James Version×, but it says, "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." That we might receive it.
So Jesus Christ did what the sacrifice of the bulls and goats could not do, and He forgave our sins. And within God's plan, Jesus Christ was sent that we might receive adoption brethren. In another place, it says, "Before we were not a people." I mean look at us brethren we're a hodgepodge of different peoples. We're from every background and every walk of life as it were. The Bible says, "Before we were not a people but now we are the children of God." Let me refer again brethren to the custom in ancient Rome. The father took his boy, the one who was his son in the marketplace, and that son was placed or he was adopted. And only those who were true children and sons were ever adopted. What does the Spirit of adoption do in us? We've received the spirit… we have not received the spirit of bondage, but we've received the Spirit of adoption. And we have the full knowledge of how we shall be placed in the Kingdom of God. You know God is real to us. The future is real to us. And because of that brethren, we have this tremendous hope in us brethren, for the future, we prepare ourselves for that time.
You know, God has redeemed us from this world for that very purpose brethren, that awesome purpose. Let's go to Revelation 9… or chapter 5 verse 9 over here. In Revelation 5:9 Revelation 5:9And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
American King James Version×here John was inspired to write these words for us and we are the ones that right now have been redeemed from this world, but in verse 9, it mentions, "And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, to open its seals;’” speaking of course of Jesus Christ, "for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth." We have been redeemed brethren and we're going to be placed as sons in positions of tremendous authority in the future, according to the will of the Father in heaven.
The Spirit of adoption brethren leads us to a special relationship with our Father, an Abba Father relationship. And we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," in every prayer that we pray. We are seeking brethren to prepare also in our lives for that time. Adoption as it means in the Greek, does not make us second-class children brethren, but rather it elevates us, it elevates us very high to the very family of God. You know, God has given us tremendous opportunity, tremendous blessings brethren, to have the opportunity to be placed in heavenly positions. Positions, in other words, that are appointed by God, our Father, from heaven when the Kingdom of God is set up upon the earth. So brethren we groan, we yearn, for the adoption that is coming to the time when the children of God will be brought before the world and placed in the heavenly positions in the future. So let us brethren use the calling that we have to prepare for the time of the placing of ourselves in those future roles in the Kingdom.