The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
By W. Resume
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorised) Version, unless stated otherwise.
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.
Romans 8: 14, 15
NOT ONE of the human family is by nature a child of God. Each one of us is alienated at birth from His fellowship by virtue of our being ‘born in sin, and shapen in iniquity’ (Psalm 51: 5). Adam, the first human son, forfeited the privilege of friendship with God by his disobedience, and the race has lived with the dire consequences ever since. The ancient traits of rebellion, internecine strife and selfishness combine to make our species an irascible family.
Adoption is a well-established practice. Rulers and governors of old, eager to perpetuate their legacy, but lacking sons of their own, often took into the household a worthy young man from another family and trained him to take over the reins of authority. In our own times, adoption is seen by many couples as a blessed opportunity to start a new family or augment an existing one.
It is an error to regard an adopted child as an inferior child. A certain mother had two boys she called sons, one born to her, one not. When asked by a casual acquaintance, ‘which one is adopted?’ she replied, ‘I don’t remember’. This well describes the affection in which the Heavenly Father regards those He is pleased to call His children. As Jesus told His disciples in a personal aside, ‘the Father himself loveth you’ (John 16: 27).
Jesus is the unique and only-begotten Son of God. There is no other like Him. So, in order for a member of the human family to become a son in God’s family, it is necessary that he be adopted. There is no other way. Notice that the adopted one is a ‘he’. Although among the fellowship of Christians – as seen by God – there is no meritorious distinction between male and female – just as there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile, etc. – in this figure under consideration the relationship is principally that of father to son.
Why? Because those called by faith to join the family of God are accorded the same type of love which the Heavenly Father has for His Son, Jesus, and are they are to be patterned on Him. This is a marvellous honour, and something of a godly mystery.
[Jesus] is not ashamed to call them brethren [adelphos, ‘brother’ (of the womb)] – Hebrews 2: 11, 12; compare Psalm 22: 22
With ‘unwanted’ pregnancies on the rise in Britain and other western countries, adoption has become a widespread alternative to abortion. From certain standpoints, one might lament the decline of morals which has forced the choice. On the other hand, each child born into this world is a putative candidate for sonship by faith, an inheritor of the promise of everlasting life. Among the thousands of millions resurrected in the Kingdom of God will be a wide mix of characters and personalities whom we might have been inclined to write off as hopeless cases, but who, under the righteous influence of the Heavenly Father and His Son, may be reclaimed for eternity.
The long-term object of this permission of evil, under which the world has suffered for centuries, is to teach mankind about the horrors of sin versus the blessed nature of righteousness. We can rest secure in the hope that the Heavenly Father is not a failing parent. And that Jesus, the Son of God, is a tender and affectionate ‘brother’, who gave His life that He may lead ‘many sons unto glory’ (Hebrews 2: 10). Chief among these are the members of the Gospel-Age Church. But the family of God is deep and broad, and no true son will be left out. The path to sonship is the same now as it has been since Jesus opened up a ‘new and living way’ (Hebrews 10: 20). That is, repent of one’s sins, accept Christ Jesus as Saviour and King, and consecrate oneself unreservedly to do the will of God.
Copyright May 2012 ukbiblestudents.co.uk
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