"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory...” (Rom. 9:4). "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children...” (Eph. 1:5). Both these statements were written by the Apostle Paul who is the only New Testament writer to use the word here translated adoption. It appears the apostle contradicts himself because after specifically stating in his letter to the Romans that the adoption and the glory pertain to Israel, he writes in his Ephesian letter that God has "predestinated us unto the adoption of children."
In the life of the Hebrew boy there came a time, appointed by the father, when "adoption" proceedings took place and the boy was declared to be the son and heir of the father. Before that time he had been a son, indeed, but "under tutors and governors." He had been told what he must and must not do, as well as what he may and may not do. In this he differed nothing from a servant. But finally the "time appointed" arrives. He is a grown son now. It is assumed that he will no longer need overseers to keep him in check. There will be natural understanding and cooperation between father and son. And so the "adoption" proceedings take place--- a declaration that the son now enters into all the rights and privileges of full sonship.
Israel and the Adoption…In Exodus 4:22 we find the statement: "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, ISRAEL IS MY SON; EVEN MY FIRSTBORN.” But this does not signify that Israel was a full grown son. Hosea 11:1 says, "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” They had not come to the place where God could make a declaration of full sonship. Instead He had to give them the Ten Commandments and a ceremonial law. They had to be told ”Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not." Though "heir of the world," God's son, Israel, was placed "under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father." Note carefully the phrase, "the time appointed of the Father". Israel, left to herself, would never have reached the place of "adoption." She would never have attained to the place of full sonship, the place where she could be trusted to work in harmony with the Father. Often as we read about her in the Old Testament we find her described by such words as “rebellious," "perverse" and “stiff-necked." By the time John the Baptist had appeared, Israel had gotten farther from the place of adoption instead of nearer. He said, "Now also the axe is laid unto tile root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. 3:10). Yet all of John's warnings and pleadings had brought Israel morally no nearer to the place of "adoption”. The Lord Jesus had to take up where John had left off, crying for Israel to repent. Thank God, however, that "adoption" depends primarily upon the father's will. It takes place at the time appointed of the father" and it is encouraging here, to see the Father take the first steps. Israel would never have grown up or come to the place of adoption.
Vs. 4,5... In the early chapters of Acts we find Peter offering to Israel the adoption and the glory. All the blessings of Israel's exaltation in the Millennium are bound up in the phrase "the times of refreshing." "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when THE TIMES OF REFRESHING shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (Acts 3:19,20). He had come to redeem them that were under the law that they might receive the adoption of sons, but they did not feel that they needed to be redeemed. He had come to "save His people from their sins," but they wanted to be saved from their troubles instead of from their sins. "Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness,” they refused to "submit themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). "What then? ISRAEL HATH NOT OBTAINED THAT WHICH HE SEEKETH FOR” (Rom. 11:7). Israel had become a rebellious son and even to this day remains out of God's favor.
As we see the nation groping about in darkness we recall the Word of God by Hosea the prophet: "Then said God, Call his name Loammi; for YE ARE NOT MY PEOPLE, AND I WILL NOT BE YOUR GOD” (Hos. 1:9). This is what Paul calls the "fall," the "casting away," the "diminishing" of them. This condition is only temporary! Israel will yet learn the lesson, for Hosea goes on to say: "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall it be said unto them, YE ARE THE SONS OF THE LIVING GOD” (Hos. 1:10).
The Lord Jesus and the Adoption…When John the Baptist went to preach in the wilderness, we read: "Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, AND WERE BAPTIZED OF HIM IN JORDAN, CONFESSING THEIR SINS" (Matt. 3:5,6). John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. But what is this? "THEN COMETH JESUS FROM GALILEE TO JORDAN UNTO JOHN, TO BE
BAPTIZED OF HIM" (Matt. 3:13). Little wonder that John "forbade Him." He had no sins to confess. Why should He be "numbered with the transgressors?" And little wonder that God broke through the heavens, after that baptism, to say "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED" (Matt. 3:17). Our Lord need not wait for any adoption proceedings to be recognized as the Son of God! But our Lord had come to redeem others from bondage so that they, by His merits, might be given the place of sonship. This is why Galatians 4:4 says, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, MADE UNDER THE LAW TO REDEEM THEM THAT WERE UNDER THE LAW, THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE ADOPTION OF SONS.” Yes, He too - for the sake of others - was placed under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father. He had to be placed in the position of a child, of a servant-in the position of obedience-"MADE UNDER THE LAW” "THOUGH HE WERE A SON, YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED” (Heb. 5:8).Not that He had been disobedient before. It simply had not been a question of obedience, for He was the eternal Son, equal with the Father, and in perfect agreement with Him. But now, for the sake of others, He assumed the place of subjection to learn obedience. While on earth He was God's beloved Son, but the declaration of full Sonship could not yet be made. The "adoption" proceedings could not yet take place. It is in the second Psalm, however, that we read these significant words: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.(Psa. 2:7). When was our Lord declared to be the Son of God? You will find the answer in Acts 13:33: "God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that HE RAISED UP JESUS AGAIN, as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou are my Son, THIS DAY have I begotten thee.” So it was at the resurrection that the "decree" was made and Christ was "declared" to be the Son of God --- "begotten".
This agrees with what we find in the first chapter of Romans, where Paul speaks of the good news of God, "Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and DECLARED TO BE THE SON OF GOD WITH POWER, according to the spirit of holiness, BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD” (Rom. 1:4). The adoption proceedings over, He ascended "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion" to sit at the right hand of God - the place of favor and privilege and honor.
Our Adoption in Christ…"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:3-6).
According to this passage we have not merely been saved, but we have also been accepted as grown sons in Christ, and given a place at the Father's right hand with free access to all the Father's riches in the heavenlies! As far as our position is concerned, there is no period of preparation or discipline. God does not first place us "under tutors and governors," until we have shown that we are worthy of a position of full sonship. Under the dispensation of law God demonstrated the insufficiency of man; Israel demonstrated how futile it is for the sons of Adam to try. Today, under the dispensation of grace He is demonstrating the all-sufficiency of Christ; now God is demonstrating His perfect satisfaction with those who take their place "in Christ."
Our "adoption," like Christ's, is bound up with His resurrection. To see exactly what has taken place we need to turn to Eph. 2: 3-4: "BUT GOD, WHO IS RICH IN MERCY, FOR HIS GREAT LOVE WHEREWITH HE LOVED US, "EVEN WHEN WE WERE DEAD IN SINS, HATH QUICKENED US TOGETHER WITH CHRIST (BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED). "AND HATH RAISED US UP TOGETHER, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS”
"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” (Rom. 8:15).
This is the position God has given us in Christ. But like salvation itself, the realization of it is progressive and also associated with resurrection.
How do we enjoy sonship now? By resurrection! "BUT IF THE SPIRIT OF HIM THAT RAISED UP JESUS FROM THE DEAD DWELL IN YOU, HE THAT RAISED UP CHRIST FROM THE DEAD SHALL ALSO QUICKEN YOUR MORTAL BODIES BY HIS SPIRIT THAT DWELLETH IN YOU” (Rom. 8:11). This passage is often applied to the future resurrection of the body, but I
believe it refers to experiencing the resurrection life now, for the next verse goes on to say,
"THEREFORE, BRETHREN, WE ARE DEBTORS, NOT TO THE FLESH, TO LIVE AFTER THE FLESH.” In other words, the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ from the dead will quicken
our mortal bodies to help us to live the resurrection life - to walk in newness of life. This is what Paul meant when he exclaimed, "THAT I MIGHT KNOW HIM, AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION.” (Phil. 3) And some day we shall come into the full enjoyment of our position! Who knows how soon! But until then we, "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” (Rom. 8:23). But the blessed day will come! And again it will be a time of resurrection! "THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED. FOR THIS CORRUPTIBLE MUST PUT ON INCORRUPTION, AND THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY” (I Cor. 15:52,53).
Finally Israel too, will come into the place of adoption. And once more it will be a resurrection.
"FOR IF THE CASTING AWAY OF THEM BE THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD, WHAT SHALL THE RECEIVING OF THEM BE, BUT LIFE FROM THE DEAD!” (Rom. 11:15).
Then the world will know that Israel, so long hated and despised, is God's son. "Thus saith the Lard of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23). Then Israel will know that the position of sonship, with all its privilege and glory can only be obtained through the very One who was "wounded in the house of His friends"-the house of lsrael. And before the Millenium is over millions more will have learned that lesson, for God will yet keep His covenant with Abraham. "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; "AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:17,18). Even creation will feel the results: "BECAUSE THE CREATION ITSELF ALSO SHALL BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD” (Rom. 8:2l).
The Mystery of His Will…Thank God that He has already "made known unto us the mystery of His will -that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him” (Eph. 1:9,10). As His heavenly people, along with Israel and the Gentile nations on earth will come into the full enjoyment of "adoption." Our place, however, will be higher and closer than theirs, for we are the "members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones" (Eph. 5:30).
Making All Men See
- Rick Brooker
- Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince people that they have been fooled." I agree with him. Religiously speaking, I was one of those "fooled" people for four decades of my life. Satan's "ministers of righteousness" (II Cor. 11:13-15) working inside the church were effective in blinding me to "God's Grace Program" while feeding me a steady diet of law based performance. I began my "recovery" from Satan's trap (II Tim. 2:26) thirteen years ago when I unexpectedly came face to face with the "key to understanding the Bible" (Luke 11:52). My education and edification in God's program of grace has progressively stabilized my life just like God promised it would in Romans 16:25. May this blog be used of God to liberate the world's largest religious denomination---"ignorant brethren". (Rom. 1:13)
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