21 March 2016

The Adopting Grace Of God (Part 1)

Gal 3:26-29; 4:6

Over the past few months the Canadian government completed their commitment by bringing into our country 25,000 Syrian refugees in search of a new life.
  • Some come looking for employment.
  • Some come for better education.
  • Some are seeking a better economy.
  • Some want (and need) better healthcare.
  • Some are fleeing an oppressive government.
There are many reasons that people seek to come to our country. And if you ask the overwhelming majority of immigrants they will say that they came here in order to find “a better life.” In fact, most people, whether immigrant or natural born will tell you that they want a better life. But there is a problem that many people use to measure “a better life.” People think that things would be so much better if they could just attain certain positions and possessions. You have heard the old saying that “the person with the most toys at the end winsNothing could be further from the truth. There are countless examples of people who have everything that money can buy and they are some of the most miserable people on earth. I have no doubt that many people here today would say “I WANT A BETTER LIFE”. I have good news! You can have a better life; in fact you have an opportunity to possess ETERNAL LIFE! When this life is over, it is not going to matter how many “toys” you have… how new your car is or how big your house is. It will not matter what your bank account, RSP’s or stock portfolios look like, your social standing and how many friends you have on Facebook, will not matter… Even your career achievements will not matter. But what will matter is whether or not you are “in Christ”. When I say “in Christ” I am referring to those who are genuinely born into the family of God by faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And according to Paul’s letter to the churches he was reminding them the position or the value we have in our relationship with Christ through the gospel. (v26-v29).

We are God’s children, period! And the amazing thing is that it’s not dependent on what we do. It is dependent on who we are in Christ. There are those that say that we are all God’s children. And to that I say, yes, God is our Father in that He created us, and yes, all human beings are brothers and sisters in that we share the image of God in man. But spiritually speaking, we can only become sons and daughters by grace and through faith. When Paul says “sons of God” he is referring to those of saving faith in Christ. As a whole… God is the father of all people in a general sense, because He created them. In Acts 17:24-28 we read “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” ‘In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'

What Paul is saying that this position is more than a general or physical? It’s a spiritual declaration to a person’s position in Christ as spiritual sons and daughters. It separates us from the unbelievers who are children of Satan. Jesus said this “The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,” Matt 13:38. In John 8:38-44 we read “I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father." They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, "We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In Rom 8:5-9 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

God by His amazing grace chose to do something unbelievable…….He adopted you as sons and daughters. “Adoption” refers to a man’s giving the status of sonship to someone who is not his natural child. Because man is not naturally the children of God, they can become His sons only by divine adoption. God the Father takes us into fellowship with His unconditional love. In the Roman world “adoption” was an honored custom that gave special dignity and family membership to those who were NOT born into the family. It is told! Wealthy, childless man would adopt a young slave, who would trade his slavery for sonship, with all its connected privileges. This is the adopting grace of God to be loved and carded for all eternity though His Son. Do you realize as it stands there are currently 150 million ‘orphans’ in the world?

Not including…..
  • 150 million street children
  • 1.2 million Trafficked children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multi-billion dollar commercial sex industry.
  • 10’s of thousand child soldiers
I came across of a story of a woman, now 40 telling about her experience as an orphan to a group of people. "When I was a tiny little girl, my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. I was not pretty at all and no one seemed to want me. But I longed to be adopted and loved by a family as far back as I can remember. I thought about it day and night, but everything I did seemed to go wrong. I must have tried too hard to please the people who came to look me over and what I did was to drive them away. "But then one day the head of the orphanage told me that a family was coming to take me home with them. I was so excited that I jumped up and down and cried like a little baby. The matron reminded me that I was on trial and this might not be a permanent arrangement, but I just knew that somehow it would work out. "So I went with this family and started to school. I was the happiest little girl you can imagine, and life began to open up for me just a little. But then one day a few months later, I skipped home from school and ran into the front door of the big old house we lived in. No one was at home, but in the middle of the front hall was my battered suitcase with my little coat thrown across it. As I stood there it suddenly dawned on me what it meant---I didn’t belong there anymore." When she stopped speaking there was hardly a dry eye in the group. But then she cleared her throat and said "This happened to me seven times before I was 13 years old. But wait, don’t feel too badly. It was experiences like these that ultimately brought me to God---and there I found what I had always longed for---a place, a sense of belonging, a forever family."

This is a sad story with a happy ending and it’s the same for us under different circumstances. Think about for a moment with me! An offended God adopted us into His family. why was He offended?

When I……
  • Cursed Him with my lips
  • Hated Him and loved rebellion
  • Despised Him and sought this world for joy
  • Blasphemed His name to others
  • Shook my fist at Him
  • Denied Him before man
  • Loved my sin
  • Was self-seeking to making me happy
  • Trying to find a better life for me without Him
  • Ran away from His compassion, mercy and grace.
  • When I was a slave to sin and death
  • When I was rightfully condemned by Law to be a curse deserving of death.
Despite all this and much, much more! He adopted me/you into His family. God chose to save me and redeem me through His Son by becoming a curse for me…so that I could cry out to Him “Abba Father” He chose to pour out His affection and generosity towards me and you. The adopting grace of God not only justifies and sanctifies, He also adopts us into His family by His agape love. In order for this adoption to happen He crushed His Son (Jesus) so that we could be redeemable. What’s more amazing is that you weren’t looking for Him and you added nothing to being adopted. God was looking and planning to adopt you before the foundations of the world were put into place. WOW! Again as Paul said “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.” Eph 1:3-6. I did some research on adoption this week and it was amazing all the work and stuff you have to do in order to adopt a child.

For example:
  • be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
  • complete an application and multiple paper work.
  • share information regarding their background and lifestyle,
  • provide relative and non-relative references,
  • show proof of marriage and/or divorce (if applicable),
  • agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members,
  • allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household, and
  • attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children.
  • Medical examination and drug test.
  • Stacks upon stacks of paper work
  • Money (generally between 10 to 25 thousand dollars
What I find amazing during all this……. A child/orphan is completely oblivious to all the red tap the parents are doing behind the scene to adopt this child. The only thing that matters is the day the mom and dad walk into the Orphanage look at the child and says “You’re coming home with us” Isn’t that picture of you and me before Christ came to save us and bring us home? Can you imagine the look on the child’s face when this happens? It must be priceless! The same could be said for you and me! All this hard work being done by a holy God behind the scenes to make this happen for you and me. Before the foundations of the world…planning and preparing our reconciliation and adoption to bring us back home to a place where we taste eternal love and grace by a holy God. It came at a great price and all the hard work behind the scene came to fruition when I was unlovable, rejected and lost by this world......And was purchased back and adopted by amazing grace….to be called a child of God. See we are His children based on His saving grace through Christ and the gospel. How is that possible? How is that we are His children? If it’s all about grace….what is the purpose of the Law then? To show us our desperate need for a Savior. (v24) this is all done by His adopting grace, which is founded and secured in the gospel of Christ. As John Piper said “The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of his ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel.”

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