NO LONGER SLAVES BUT SONS AND DAUGHTERS
“Many years ago, a father and his daughter were walking through the grass on the Canadian prairie. In the distance, they saw a prairie fire, and they realized that it would soon engulf them. The father knew there was only one way of escape. So they quickly initiated a fire right where they were to burn a large patch of grass. When the huge fire drew near, they then would stand on the section that had already burned. When the flames did approach them, the girl was terrified but her father assured her, ‘The flames can’t get to us. We are standing where the fire has already been.’”
That’s what our justification looks like in the Gospel. This is why there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is why what Paul says next is liberating for the child of God. (v12-v17) Read passage It is one thing for God to pardon and spare us of eternal judgment, but it's altogether another to pardon vile criminals and desire their company." To be carnal minded brings death, but to be liberated from that flesh is to be Spirit-minded and it produces life and peace. The flesh and its carnality are bitter foes of the Spirit-led life. This is what Christ crushed in His body on Calvary to please the Father. For the unregenerate… sin is their way of life, their curse, their homelessness, their slavery, and bondage to judgment and death. Death is the last enemy to be encountered, as well as the last enemy to be abolished. “For as in Adam all die (v22) …and in (v26) Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor 15:22-26
But! For the Christian its restoration, forgiveness and released from sins curse. When the believer has died with Christ, he/she receives a new nature which becomes the life-giving principle of our lives.
“The flames can’t get to us. We are standing where
the fire has already been.”
Sin is an irregularity in the life of a believer as you once lived according to the flesh, but still very present though we hate our sin.Though the power of sin is still present, the Holy Spirit frees the believer from being controlled by what this appetite desires. Paul reminds us as we counter the flesh with this biblical reality as we battle the war that rages against our minds.
“But you have received the Spirit of
adoption as sons.” (v15)
What does that mean? We are God’s children and this reality isn’t dependent upon what we did, or what we do about it. We are the ones who are without a loving Father, and the orphan who has no family, or home. “Adoption” is filled with the ideas of love, grace, compassion and intimate relationship. It is the action when a husband and wife decide to take a child that is not their physical offspring and bring them into their family as a member. A prime example of this is when Moses was a young boy, and he was brought to the palace and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. (Exodus 2:1-10). Esther’s parents died and she was adopted by her older cousin Mordecai, who loved her as a father. (Esther 2:5-11). One of the most touching adoptions is when David brought Mephibosheth, the crippled son of Jonathan into his home and a seat at his table. (2 Sam 9:1-13)
Like Moses, Esther & Mephibosheth, our adoption wasn’t dependent on our choosing.
Our adoption into His grace is completely dependent on who we are in Christ. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” 1 John 1:4. Now! There are those who will blindly say “We are all God’s children aren’t we?” To that question I would say, “Yes”, but it has limitations of eternal value. God did create all human beings as image-bearers of God, in that we all share the image of God in man. But spiritually/redeeming purposes, we can only become sons and daughters of God the Father, by His grace, through faith in His Son. When Paul says “adopted sons” he is referring to those of saving faith in Christ. As a whole/mankind, God sovereignly created and rules over of all people in a general sense, because He created them. “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 here is that this position is more than
a general or physical?
It’s a spiritual declaration to a person’s position in Christ, as His spiritual…. sons and daughters.
This is what 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. Paul affirms this truth in what we looked at last week in Rom 8:5-9. What is before us this morning is a beautiful picture of adoption… God graciously and lovingly seeks out worthless men and women on His own initiative and makes them sons and daughters. And Paul expresses that language here when he says, “we received the Spirit of the adoption as sons.”
As you study this word “Adoption” you fall more in love with this
Christ of the gospel.
Why? “Adoption” refers to a man’s giving the status of sonship to someone who is not his natural child. Because of man’s sinful disposition we are not naturally children of God, but we become His sons only by divine adoption. Historically 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. Do you realize as it stands there are currently 150 million ‘ orphans’ in the world?
Not including….. 150 million children living on the street. 1.2 million Trafficked children, the majority of them girls, are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry. 10’s of thousand child soldiers who are forced and brainwashed to fight a monster’s war for power.
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 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 what Paul is saying here to you and me this morning, knowing the damage we caused and did in the flesh out of rebellion against a holy God.
A rebel/insurrectionist was adopted by a
holy God into His family.
Cursed Him with my lips.
Hated Him and loved rebellion.
Despised Him and sought this world for my joy.
Blasphemed His name to others as if it meant nothing to me.
Shook my fist at Him in anger and disgust for the things in my life.
Denied Him before man, as I would anyone I disliked or hated.
Loved my sin because it feels good.
Was self-seeking to making me happier
Trying to find a better life for me without Him
Continually ran away from His compassion, mercy and grace.
And despite all that! Paul reminds me and you that God adopted
us into His family nonetheless. God the Father chose to pour out His affection and generosity towards me and you. This adopting grace of God not only justifies, and sanctifies, it glorifies the image-bearer of God in glory. In order for this adoption to take place, the Father crushed His Son so that we could be redeemable.
What’s more amazing is that you and I
weren’t looking for Him
It was God who was looking and planning to adopt you before the foundations of the world was put into place. “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
To make this word “adoption” hit home even more as it pertains to the gospel. I did some research on adoption this week, and it was amazing all the work, preparation, that is required in order to adopt a child.
You have to be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults,
Complete an application and multiple paper works.
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.
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.)
Why I share this information with you is because what I find amazing during my time in research is that….. 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 the gospel in your life? Christ coming in the
flesh to save us from the curse of the Law?
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.”
God chose to save me, and redeem me, through His Son by becoming a curse for me…so that I could cry out these words of adoration, “Abba Father.” In this adoption we respond with the deepest of affections by saying “Abba Father”. Jesus expressed this term of endearment when He prayed in the garden before His arrest. “And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." Mark 14:36. The believer has been brought into a unique relationship with the Living God.
There is no closer relationship than being a part of the
inner circle of God.
“Abba” would be the modern equivalent to saying, “Daddy” which is the highest of expressions of the relationship the father has with his child. In the relationship as it pertains to God our Father….. He is not only our God; we have a personal relationship with Him where we call Him “Father”. This word “Abba Father” communicates warmth and intimacy. As our Father, God watches over us, He cares for us, He guides us, He provides for us, and showers upon us His bountiful blessing. It is wonderful to know that in the midst of turbulent life or existence; the believer has an Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, loving Father who watches over His own. As Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt 10:29-31
The emphasis of this statement that Paul makes is not just on the warmth of our relationship, but the uniqueness of our relationship.
This would have made even more sense to the Roman believers, because “Father” in Rome’s history meant the father had the right of life and death over all members of the family. We need to be careful….. When we see this expression of our relationship with God that we don’t treat this intimate expression at the expense of the respect and honor that is due Him, as our Heavenly Father. Though He is our Father who is personal, He is still the sovereign One who holds all things by the power of might. Col 1:16 says, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” The Psalmist wrote, “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” Psalm 115:3. The sovereign God who forgave you with His abundance and overflowing mercy found in His Son. The uniqueness and personal relationship we have in Christ reminds me of my attitude and behavior; when my flesh seems to have little victories over my mind at times.
God bestows unmerited favor toward His sanctified children….Meaning! When I complain, gripe more than usual, when my attitude isn’t demonstrating what it should be in Christ, despite the circumstances I live. A couple married for 15 years began having more than usual disagreements. They wanted to make their marriage work and agreed on an idea the wife had. For one month they planned to drop a slip in a "Fault" box. The boxes would provide a place to let the other know about daily irritations. The wife was diligent in her efforts and approach: "leaving the jelly top off the jar," "wet towels on the shower floor," "dirty socks not in hamper," on and on until the end of the month. After dinner, at the end of the month, they exchanged boxes. The husband reflected on what he had done wrong. Then the wife opened her box and began reading. They were all the same, the message on each slip was, "I love you!"
This is exactly what Christ did for you and me at the cross of Calvary. This is exactly the love that God had towards His disobedient children when He adopted you and me. God says, “I love you despite all that you have done, and I forgive you”
And it’s knowing this truth in the gospel we cry out
“Abba Father” who loves us, despite us.
Gil Rugh said, “The Spirit does not cause us to cry, “I am God’s son!” but rather, “God is my Father.”
This means? The Father is at the center, the believer looks at God instead of contemplating himself as he or she once did. This was exemplified to the highest level in Jesus during His earthly ministry, which expressed this special intimacy that He had with the Father. Jesus said, “…Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” John 5:19. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37. Jesus said, “…When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” John 8:28. When Jesus made these claims that God was His Father, it would enrage the Pharisees and it also enrages our society today. Why? This relationship and term of endearment is only possible through the Gospel that reconciles sinners back to the Father. The heart of the child is linked with the heart of the Father in permeant intimacy because of the Spirit.
We have access to this blessing to the superlative degree. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “Our Father” in the disciples prayer provides the foundational truth, the starting point; to our praying and relationship that we have with God the Father.
Hollowed be Your Name….”Holy is Your Name”
in all the earth.
It’s this revealed truth of who God is, which leads us to the foot of the Cross in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This leads us to keep His name “Abba Father” as “hallowed” daily. Minute by minute, as we approach His heavenly throne, as we walk in adopted relationship. We have been adopted into His family. It is an unbelievable privilege that we should never take for granted.
For we are sons and daughters
of the King