Sermon
19

Aug 2013

Adoption

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Act 5 | Spreading the News of the King

This sermon on “Adoption” from The Drama of Redemption was preached by Demetrius White at Redemption Hill Church on Sunday, August 18, 2013.

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The sermon notes are compiled and edited by a member of Redemption Hill from the pastor’s notes. It is designed as a resource for those engaging the sermon for the first time or those returning to it for further reflection. We pray this resource serves you well.

Sermon Text:

Galatians 4:1-7

Adoption

Galatians 4:1-7

The doctrine of Adoption reveals to us how the gospel has fundamentally changed our relationship with God from one of hostility and alienation into a relationship of love and peace. In order to help us understand this glorious truth from a biblical perspective we must first establish a foundational definition of Adoption.

 

Adoption Defined

“Adoption is an action of God whereby he makes us members of his family.” – Wayne Grudem

Adoption implies that we are transferred from one family into another.

What Adoption is Not

Adoption is not Regeneration. Although adoption and regeneration are closely linked they deal with two distinct problems. Adoption deals with our relationship with God while regeneration deals with our nature.  In regeneration the Holy Spirit builds a house for himself while in adoption He dwells in the house.  Regeneration engraves upon us the likeness of the father; adoption relates us to God as our father.  Regeneration makes us partakers of the divine nature; adoption makes us partakers of Gods fatherly affections.

Adoption is not Justification. Justification is the fundamental blessing of the Gospel and it meets our most basic spiritual need which is forgiveness and reconciliation with God. Without justification we could not be adopted by God. However adoption is a richer blessing because it brings us from heavens courtroom to into the family room of God.  Justification displays God as Judge; adoption allows the Judge to be become a father.

Adoption is not Sanctification. Thomas brooks says “sanctification is simply a living out of one’s adoption and sonship.”  Sanctification deals with our ongoing conformity to Christ while adoption deals with our immutable position in Christ. Adoption makes Christ our brother and firmly establishes God as our father.

Thus Adoption is an act of Gods free grace whereby we are received into his family and have a right to all the privileges of a son.

 

The Mystery of Adoption

This revelation concerning adoption is not new it was highlighted in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul.  Paul begins to help us grasp the importance of Adoption in his letter to the Galatians and he does this in the fourth chapter Galatians.

Galatians 4:1-7 “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

In order to understand Paul’s logic and teaching here we must come to an understanding of the Galatian dilemma. Paul Planted churches in the southern regions of Galatia, nurtured them for a time and left. After his departure the Galatian churches were assaulted by another gospel. This gospel did not deny Jesus Christ but asserted that a believer had to have Christ plus the Law in order to be right with God. As a result of this false gospel Paul begins to defend the true Gospel.  He does so by highlighting his apostleship, the origin and nature of his Gospel and he gives a stern warning to anyone who would taint the Gospel of Jesus Christ by preaching a different Gospel, including himself, that they may be accursed. Paul comes to the heart of the matter in Galatians chapter 4 by showing them the beauty of the Gospel by highlighting the doctrine of adoption in three points.

  1. The Need for Adoption : Galatians 4:1-3 “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.”
  2. The Means of Adoption : Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
  3. The fruit of Adoption : Galatians 4:6-7 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

The Need for Adoption

Paul expresses to the churches of Galatia why they needed adoption. The reason as to why they needed to be adopted because outside of Christ they were slaves to the Law. They were a part of another family the consisted of bondage.  Paul helps the Galatians understand man’s slavery to the Law by providing them with an illustration. He highlights a child’s status before maturity. Paul is saying that a child, while he is young, is under the rule of another.  This illustration would have been very helpful to the Galatians because they were very familiar with the process of maturity in relation to their culture.  The Galatians would have understood that a Roman child was under the control of guardians until the age of 14 and still to some degree under the watchful eye of trustees and managers until the age of 25. During this time the guardian had complete control of the child and often times these guardians were strict disciplinarians causing those under their care to yearn for the day when they would be freed from the guardian’s custody.  Paul says to the Galatians that they were like this when they were children.

In the same way they were under a guardian and this guardian exercised complete dominion over them.  This guardian was the Law.  Galatians 3:24 “So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”  Paul is simply continuing along with his argument from chapter 3. In chapter three he says that their pre-conversion days were days in which they were controlled by the Law.  After conversion they were freed from the law as a means of justification.  Galatians 3:22-25 “But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian”.  Thus, Paul tells the Galatian church and the church today that the reason a new relationship with God is needed is because man is a slave to the law.

Enslaved to the Law

Man is enslaved to the laws demands.  For the law demands perfect obedience (Galatians 3:10, James 2:10) and this is something to which no man can or has accomplished. Romans 3:23 “For ALL have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God” and to sin is to transgress Gods Law (1 John 3:4). The Law does not allow one to perform it partially and it does not allow shortcuts it demands mankind to complete its every command which is something that is humanly impossible.

Man is enslaved to its scrutiny and its ability to expose sin.  For through the law comes knowledge of sin and not redemption from sin (Romans 3:20).

Man is enslaved to its verdict.  For the law is so perfect in its accusing powers that it renders men guilty outside of Christ (Romans 3:19).

Man is enslaved to its curse.  This culminates in His eternal wrath which Christ took upon himself on the cross; apart from Christ, man must take it upon himself.

The Law shows man that he is enslaved to Sin.  The power of sin is the Law (1 Corinthians 15:56).  It is not the law that is evil, for it is holy, just, and good. Rather, it is sin that sees the good and holy standards of the Law and thus comes spiritual death (Romans 7:10).

Man is by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-2) and Children of Satan (John 8:44, 1 John 3:8, 10).  But God comes to save radically depraved sinners who break His law.   Considered in the light of natural adoption, many have adopted children or will in the future.  In the process, the adopter may be told of preexisting conditions, habits, and struggles and given a thorough outline of the child’s family history.  However none of these children will have acted as enemies of the adopters.  They will not likely have spit in the adopters face or pulled out a gun to attempt murder on the adopter.  However, in a sense, God adopted people like this.  He adopted people who hated and despised Him; He adopted his enemies.

Application

We look at the Galatian problem and think we have nothing in common. However we often base our right standing with God on our works. We base our standing with God on bible reading, home schooling, fasting which are all good things but not justifying things. We must base our faith and hope in the person and work of Christ not our works.

 

The Means of Adoption

Paul informs the Galatians that it is not by the Law that they are made right with God, instead, it is through the person and work of Jesus Christ that they have come into the family of God.  He accomplished the means of adoption by sending forth His son.  This implies the eternality of both the Father and the Son.  God sent His Son from his eternal abode.  The father communed with the Son and the Spirit, the Son with his father and Spirit, and the Holy Spirit with the Son and the father. In their presence is fullness of Joy and Pleasures in abundance (Psalm 16:11).  John 1:18 indicates the Son was in the bosom of the Father which denotes the most loving of relationships.

“it is as if God has reached into his very being and plucked out his own heart in sending his own son.” – John Milne

It was this son that God sent to the earth to redeem man from sin and the condemnation man deserved for breaking His law.  This son took on flesh, He was born of a woman that He may come under the law and fulfill its demands; demands that man could not fill (Matthew 5:17).  He did this to redeem man from the slave market of sin, and the law, as a means of justification.

In the ancient world before a slave could become a son he had to be redeemed.  Here the son of God became a son of man that the sons of men might be made the sons of God.  Here the deity and humanity of Christ are put on display.  Christ, as a man, fulfilled the demands of the Law on the cross by dying as a man.  His deity gave the infinite merit to his sacrifice which exhausted or propitiated the wrath of God.  On the Cross the infinite nature of our sin was placed upon Christ.

Application

When you sin or when you doubt that you are a child of God, preach to yourself that the infinite wrath of God settled upon Christ.  And that infinite wrath was met by the infinite worth of Christ and it cancelled your debt to God.

 

The Fruit of Adoption

Application

The Nature

Galatians 4:5-6 “to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” These verses deal with man’s status and position as adopted sons.  Moreover, the word son in these verses is the Greek work Huios which means those who in character and life resemble God. In Galatians 5 Paul gives us the characteristics of Gods children.  The graces that should be seen in the lives of Gods people now in this life will not manifest perfectly but it’s not about the perfection of our lives but the direction of our lives.

The Spirit

God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.  It is this spirit who guides, teaches truth, purifies from indwelling sin and seals unto the day of redemption.

Our Relationship

He changes man’s disposition towards the Father wherein he is able to cry abba Father.  A good Father protects, provide and instructs.

Example: You know just the other day we were at the beach and my son thought he was going to tackle the wave however he realized that it was too much for him and gave this blood curling cry DADDY!! Now there where hundreds of people at the beach that day and I knew that was my son.

This is the type of relationship we enter into with the heavenly Father.  He has accepted you and you can cry out to him in prayer.

Our Inheritance

He provides us an inheritance and thus we are heirs.  We will in the future experience Gods unhindered presence. Today it is as if we seek through a glass darkly however in the new heavens and earth we shall fellowship with God without obstacles. We shall be released from the trials and toils of this life. We shall inherit glorified bodies and fellowship with all the saints from ages past. Eye hath not seen what God has prepared for His beloved.