Sunday, October 25, 2015

Assurance in adoption

I am spending a few weeks preaching on the Bible, asking questions about it so we might better understand how God speaks through it and that we would grow in our love of Him.  

The first week we asked questions of "What?"  Since then we have dealt with "Who?" "Where?" and "When?"  This morning we asked "How?"  Specifically, the questions I tried to answer were:

How was the Bible put together?
How do we know the Bible is true?
How do we know if we are using the Bible correctly?
How does the Bible assure us of our place with God?
How does God call us to live in the world?

How does the Bible assure us of our place with God? 

The Bible answers that question in a number of places, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly.  The place I decided to go to find that answer was Galatians 4:1-7, which is an answer of the more indirect sort. 

Paul teaches a number of things in those verses and what I brought out of them was this: Prior of coming to faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord we were sinners, "enslaved to the elementary principles of this world," but that now, by faith, Christians have been adopted as children of God.  Paul says that we are saved "so that we might receive adoption as sons [and daughters]."  

A dictionary definition of adoption says: "To choose or take as one's own; to make one's own by selection or assent."  This is what has happened when we come to faith in Jesus.  By faith we are made children of God.  Adopted children of a perfect Father.

It can be easy to read references to fathers in the Bible and get caught up with memories of our own fathers.  Some of those memories may be very good, but I stand in the pulpit fully aware that for some of the people I preach to, their father is the last person they want to think of.  They have had fathers who, at best, failed them in every way possible, and who, at worst, were abusive and/or absent.

So we need to remember what kind of father God is.  He is a father who always acts according to His character, meaning that He is always loving, always protective, always seeking the best for His children, even when our reaching for the best means learning some lessons the hard way. 

He is a father whose children, every single one of the save one, is adopted.  Except for Jesus, every single one God's children was once on the outside.  Lost in their sin and unable to do a single thing about it. 

And now, by faith in Jesus, they have been adopted into the family of God.  Their sin has been washed away and they stand before the Father with the same sense of assurance as every other child of God.  Their place in the family, as children in the very best of families, is certain. 

At times when life is hard, when things are going wrong and you can’t understand why,  or even at times when life is a mess of your own making, know this beyond any doubts.  If you have faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord  your place in the family God is certain.  You have been adopted into the very best of families, the family that knows God as Father.  And He is a Father that will never, ever, fail to hold onto every one of His children.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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