adoption: planned, accomplished, and applied, part two

I’m already dreadfully off track. I had intended to be patternistic in posting on this subject, but the last post went too long, so I didn’t really complete it’s subject matter. To fully appreciate the bountiful gift of Salvation, and to fully gaze upon all of its wonderful facets such as adoption, we cannot neglect this question of Why? Why does God reach out to fallen man as He does? if we were to answer this wrongly, we come out with distorted views of God and distorted views of ourselves, and this distorts church, evangelism, family, and all else in life. If we think that we are given the gift of Sonship because of our worth, than God is a god that needs us, and we may as well scrap all notions of Justification, atonement and other orthodox doctrines concerning redemption. Life never works, unless we begin by looking at God’s character.

As I said, there are at least two clear answers in Scripture that show us why God in particular has chosen to adopt us. The second helpful one is drawn from Ephesians 1, where it reads:

“having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (vs 5 & 6, ASV)

These words come to us in the midst of one of those passages which first come to mind when we think about Adoption: but the words about adoption which are found herein are in the midst of a passage in which Paul begins exulting in the praise and glory of God displayed through the Gospel. It’s as if before ever diving into anything else, he wishes to slingshot our minds all the way up to heaven. And in the midst of this, he touches especially on Adoption, Predestination, but most important of all, our union with Christ as believers. But just like everything else in Salvation, none of these are stand alone concepts, but they all reach out into each other to form the facets of this one great Jewel which we call the Gospel. Our union with Christ and adoption is such a matter as deserves separate treatment, so it’s on my list: but the reason for all these things -or for this one thing, our Election to Adoption by virtue of Union after “being accepted” (i.e. Justified)- is spelled out so clearly in verse 6: “To the praise of the glory of His grace.”

To say “having foreordained us to adoption through Christ” implies that there is something to follow. Our Adoption finds its root in God displaying the glory of His free, unasked, unsought, so often rejected Grace whereby He takes children of darkness and transforms them to the Kingdom of His dear Son so that through adoption that Firstborn might not be ashamed to call us brethren. Just as God promised that He would defer His anger and show mercy for His name sake (Isaiah 48:9-11), so this entire matter of our Adoption is all for the praise of their glory of God’s grace.

To look at horizontal adoption in a proper manner, we must look at vertical adoption in a proper manner: and to dig into the doctrine of our vertical Adoption into the family of God almighty, we must not divorce our thinking from this overarching reality that God’s glory in predominant in our Salvation: Christ not losing one that the Father had given Him is for God’s glory; God granting to Christ all the full rewards of His sufferings is for God’s glory. And as our adoption so plainly shows us, God’s undeserved love being lavished upon sinners is for His glory. If we -if I- am not impressed by God’s glory in adopting sinners, then my view of salvation must be deficient. Is this our view of adoption? if not, why bother searching it out? no other reasons are sufficient. God grant that we should see…

That adoption is the manifestation of God’s matchless love, in that He has taken us, who were sinners, to be His sons. This is the highest privilege that any man could imagine, in that we are become Sons of the Father, Brethren of Christ, and wards of the Holy Spirit. Show me, I demand, a higher privilege that has been given any man, be he poor or rich, be he a pizza delivery boy being elevated to the Presidency, show me. Silence. For there is not one.  Who for all the globe would spurn such a prize? yet you and I do so daily, by estimating something as worth more attention than the God who has made us heirs.

That adoption is by no means the result of our actions. It is wholly an initiative of God which we did not deserve. If it were deserved, would it not be something conferred to Angels before men? Yet the fallen angels have had no mercy held out to them, and even those which still sit in the courts of heaven long to look into these things. Moreso, the very fabric of the Gospel is beautified throughout the Holy Scriptures in that its benefits are conferred to sinful men.

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