09 Adoption

Adoption
(Refutation of Five Point Calvinism)

From the Book, Subjects of Sovereignty by Andrew Telford
Pastor, Berachah Church, 1608 W. Allegheny Ave., Philadelphia, PA.
(posted with permission)

Preface

It is dangerous for God to give high truth to highly educated people. There is a danger that in the furtherance of that truth it becomes mixed with an alloy of human wisdom. It pleased God on that first Christmas morning to give high truth to humble men, even shepherds in the fields.

These truths of Sovereignty are usually dealt with in the classroom of colleges and seminaries only. In these places they are subjects of theology. They are not dealt with in such a way that the average man or woman in the “work-a-day world” can understand them with any measure of intelligence, or even personal blessing for their own soul.

I am not presenting these subjects for students in the theological workshop, but for the average Christian who sits in the church pew to hear the word of God presented with a spiritual application for the heart and soul. I trust that the reading and the study of these subjects as set forth in this volume will somehow help the person who has an open mind to understand more clearly the Bible. I have endeavored to present in the most simple way these blessed truths, so that the common people will hear and understand.

The average Christian has been led to believe that these subjects are beyond his mental comprehension and spiritual understanding. Surely, if they are Bible subjects, the Spirit of God will help the humblest believer to understand something of their spiritual meaning and also to derive something of practical help for daily living from them.

After having spoken on these subjects to my own congregation in Berachah Church, Philadelphia, Penna., and having referred to them at different times in Bible Conference addresses, I have been asked by a number of Christians to present these four subjects in book form for the benefit of the Christian public.

In the presentation of them, I make no attempt to pose as either a scholar or an author, but am trying as a servant of Christ to present some subjects that have been much misunderstood by so many. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Clifton L. Fowler, who was the founder of the Denver Bible Institute, Denver, Colorado, for help in these studies. I trust as this book goes forward it will bring joy and peace to the hearts of God’s people, and the renewed assurance that “He doeth ALL things well.”

Adoption

When we study the subject of Adoption please keep in mind that we are studying a subject that has a prominent place in the Word of God. May we open our Bibles together to Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Chapter 8, and let us read a number of verses that have to do with subjects pertaining to the Sovereignty of God, and especially the subject of Adoption.

15. “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.”

23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the Adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Here are two verses of Scripture that speak clearly of the matter of Adoption. In my early Christian life, I always had difficulty with these four subjects that have to do with the Sovereignty of God. I heard people mention these subjects and often heard preachers refer to them. I noticed some turned to them from time to time and would make certain statements regarding them, but none seemed to give a soul and heart exposition of them that would bring certainty and satisfaction to the mind. I decided that there was a fuller and a clearer setting forth of these truths in the Word of God than I had ever heard. I had listened to a man say that such subjects as Predestination, Election, and Foreknowledge, although Bible subjects, were too deep and complicated for the average Christian to study and gain any measure of understanding or satisfaction. I am sorry to say that this seems to be the attitude of the Lord’s people in general toward these subjects. If these are Bible subjects, and no one has any doubt, but that they are, surely the Spirit of God has presented them in the Scriptures in such a way that the average Christian shall be able to get some help from them. Let me say that in the presentation of any subject, the preacher and teacher should be able to so present it that even his hearers know nothing of the subject at the beginning of his message, they will clearly understand it at the close, or when he has finished dealing with the subject. In other words, the subject matter must not only be clear in the teacher’s mind, but he must make sure that he has the ability by the Grace of God to make it clear in the minds of those to whom he ministers. Now let us consider the subject of Adoption.

I have a Christian friend who lived in the neighborhood where the parents of a little boy had died. Some kind neighbor who knew the family, and had learned to love the little boy felt keenly the little fellow’s situation and his tremendous loss of the passing-away of his parents. They decided to befriend him and took him into their home to raise. After some time had elapsed, and their love for him had increased, they decided to adopt the boy into their family. In due course of time the adoption papers were made out, and he became, by adoption, their son. They were delighted with him. They loved him. When he was hungry between meals, they were delighted to satisfy his cravings with bread and butter, even put brown sugar on it. It was good. When the parents hugged and kissed him before putting him to bed at night, it was the best kind of hug and kiss that they could give him. A couple of years went by and God gave them a baby of their own.

My Christian friend said, “There was something I always noticed about the different ways in which these two children were raised. One child was their own, while the other was their adopted child. The parents were lovely people hut I always noticed as a neighbor boy, when they gave the bread and butter to the children, their own son always seemed to receive the largest slice. I noticed that when the father and mother hugged the children that they hugged their own boy a little tighter and held him a little longer than they did the adopted boy. They were good parents but, I noticed those things I then and there made up my mind that if my parents died, I did not want to be anybody’s adopted boy. I saw there was a difference between the real son and the adopted son. In due course of time I was saved; and being a Christian I began to earnestly read and search the Scriptures. When I came to the subject of Adoption in the Bible, I wondered if I really belonged to the Lord or was I only God’s adopted son ? I wanted to be one of God’s very own sons. I did not want to simply be adopted. The reason I have told you this story and account of my Christian friend, is that we might give the subject of Adoption our serious consideration.

Definition of Adoption

Adoption is a definite act of God whereby God sets a goal for the believer. I want you to think very carefully of this definition. This is not the definition commonly used or thought of regarding this subject. Now let us see if this is a true definition. Adoption is a subject that has to do with the sovereignty of God. It is a definite act of the sovereign God, whereby He sets a goal for the believer. There are certain subjects that have to do with man’s power of choice, but the subjects we are studying, namely Adoption, Predestination, Election, and Foreknowledge are subjects that have to do with acts of God. Man has nothing to do with these divine acts. Now we are going to look at several portions of Scripture that deal with the subject of Adoption.

I. The meaning of Adoption

What does Adoption really mean? It does not mean what we usually take it to mean. Neither does it mean the “adopting of a child.” Adoption in the Bible does not mean the same as the word Adoption when used in relation to the legal transaction of receiving into the family as a son or daughter, a child who has been born of other parents. Evidently the translators failed to find a word in the English language that would express to us clearly, the full meaning of the transaction of God Almighty, when God by a divine act, placed a certain destination and position for the believer. The translators have used the word Adoption as the only word at their disposal, to express this act of God.

Adoption means to be “Son Placed”, not “son made”. You are made a Son the moment you are saved by God’s grace. Now, as a son there are certain privileges and benefits God by His sovereign acts has provided for those who are saved. No one has been son placed as yet. One time you will be. You belong to the Lord Jesus Christ now, just as much as you ever will. You have not arrived at the goal which God has predestinated you to-which goal is Adoption. Ephesians 1:

6. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

In the early days of the Roman Empire when a boy was born into the family, he was cared for by his parents till be was twenty-one years of age. At the age of twenty-one, they took the child and there placed him in the market place before the public. He was son-placed. From that time on he could sign his own name to legal documents, and went forward with the full authority of a man. This act at the market place did not make him a son; he was a son when he was born into his parents’ family. At the age of twenty-one he was son-placed.

Adoption in the Bible means “son placed.” I want you to notice Ephesians 2:7

7. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in HIS kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

That unfolding of the riches of His grace will be experienced by redeemed men when we are son-placed. May we again quote the definition? Adoption is a definite act of God whereby God sets a goal for the believer.

II. The Time of Adoption

Did you ever notice the word Adoption as set forth in Romans 8:23? Here in this verse we read:

23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Paul is speaking to the saints in Rome and he designates them as those who now live in the enjoyment of the firstfruits of the Spirit. What does he mean by the firstfruits of the Spirit? The firstfruits in the life of any believer is pardon, forgiveness, acceptance, security, sanctification. Do you notice that Adoption is not mentioned here among the firstfruits of the Spirit? Adoption belongs among the last fruits of the Spirit. He tells us that we should have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groaning within ourselves and waiting for something to take place. What is that something that Paul and the saints in Rome were waiting for? It is called by the Spirit of God in this verse the Adoption. He then tells us when it will take place –at the redemption of our bodies. This verse gives us two reasons which tell us that the time of Adoption is future. The first proof or reason that Adoption is still future is that we are waiting for the Adoption to wit. It could not have taken place if they were waiting for Adoption to happen at some future time. In the closing part of the verse, it tells us that it will take place at the redemption of our bodies. We now have redeemed souls in unredeemed bodies.

We see here that the matter of Adoption or being son-placed is in the future. Many teach that the new birth and Adoption mean the same thing. This is not the teaching of the Word of God. As a Christian, the new birth took place when I received Christ and became a child of God. Adoption will take place when I receive my glorified body.

III. The Certainty of Adoption

Let us now turn to Ephesians 1:4,6

4. “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:”

6. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

Let us remind ourselves again that Adoption is a definite act of God whereby God sets a goal for the believer. Adoption means “Son Placed.” The time of it is in the future at the redemption of our bodies. Now the text in Ephesians deals with the certainty of our Adoption.

How can I be sure it will take place? Is there any shadow of doubt regarding my Adoption? Can I be certain that I will be adopted? I wonder if there can possibly be anything or anyone that can interfere and hinder my Adoption? Can there be a slip made between here and there that will make impossible my arrival at the goal ?

For our blessing, and for our comfort, and that we might have full assurance, God has made a tremendous statement in this Scripture regarding the certainty of our Adoption. Notice this verse: “Having predestinated us unto the Adoption.” Our Adoption is in the predestination purpose of God for the Church which is His Body. Remember that the word “Predestinate” always carries with it certainty and surety. Our Adoption is certain since it was predestinated that every believer shall arrive at that goal. Let us look up and thank God, that one day we shall be Son-Placed. Bless God for the assurance of it, and let us daily live in anticipation of this coming experience. God has given us this truth to strengthen our faith and deepen our hope. God says we will be Son-Placed, and please remember that God cannot lie.

IV. The Desirability of It

May we turn again to the Word of God to find what the Spirit of God makes known to us in relation to this matter in Romans 8: 23

23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Thousands of God’s dear saints would rather be in Heaven than on earth today. Hundreds of them suffer as they live in bodies that produce pain and groanings. They need to be released from the world of sin and wickedness, and know something of the relief from pain and affliction that will come when they see Him at the redemption of their bodies. No saint shall be relieved from the temptations and afflictions that come to the people of God, until the experience of Son-placing or Adoption takes place. Remember that this world is not the sweet Beulah Land that we sing about in the hymns. This is a world of sin and chaos. Paul tells us in Philippians 1: 23

23. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”…

than to continue living in a world that is doomed for judgment. Paul desires to be with Christ. In Romans 8:18 to 32, Paul speaks about the glory that is to come. He tells us there is something better on ahead for the child of God, something better than even the best that we have ever enjoyed or expressed down here while in our bodies of humiliation. He tells us in Roman 8: 22 that all creation is groaning for something better to come. In verses 22 to 25 he tells us that the Christian is groaning also. He says in verse 23, that not only they, but even we, ourselves, groan within ourselves; waiting for, wishing for, longing for, and wanting that better portion that God has provided for his children. In Philippians 1:23 Paul says,

23. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:”

Here Paul is thinking of the redemption of his body. He is looking and longing for that day to come when he shall leave his body of humiliation behind him and rise to be with Christ. Adoption will never take place until that day when the trump of God will sound. Somehow, there is a tug in every believer’s heart that pulls that way. Paul here uses that verse, we ourselves groan within ourselves to show the desire of saints for that better portion. The saints of God desire, they wait, and hunger for the Adoption to take place. Oh, to be like Him, to be like the Lord! If singing His praises is sweet to us here, what will it be when we shall see Him and be Son-Placed. The desirability of adoption is revealed in the thought of groaning, waiting for Heaven and Home. Many of God’s saints are tired of staying in this world, yet, many of God’s people are earth bound and earth tied.

They don’t want to leave this world readily. They are fastened to things down here. It will be hard for them to leave this old world behind. We need to have some new visions as set forth in the Word of God of the future realities of heaven, and some experiences of the Grace of God in our souls to free us and liberate us from the love of this world. We are citizens of another world. We are citizens of Heaven. We ought to look toward Heaven and for the joy of seeing the King in His beauty, and being made like Him. This is what we should long for. Yea, groan within ourselves, waiting for the Adoption to take place.

V. The Present Manifestation of Adoption

We read in Romans 8: 15

15. “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.”

We thank God that we have received the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. Notice in this verse that these believers in Rome had also received the Spirit of Adoption. and the Spirit of Adoption is the Holy Spirit. In this verse he is designated as the Spirit of Adoption. He is in your heart and life now. Do you see this as your present experience of Adoption ? As a believer, you have not yet been adopted but you do have the Spirit of Adoption. This verse does not teach that Adoption took place when you were saved, for this verse does not inform us concerning your present experience of Adoption but the present manifestation of Adoption. All believers are indwelt by the Spirit of God and they have the Spirit of Adoption here and now.

VI. The Participants In Adoption

Notice carefully the closing verse found in Paul’s statement in Galatians 4:5

5. “To redeem them that were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

Let us notice the phrase “that we might receive the adoption of sons.” By the use of the word “we”, Paul identifies himself with the believers in Galatia, and here we notice that believers are the ones who will be adopted. Adoption belongs only to sons. Let me refer again to the custom in ancient Rome. The father took his boy, that one who was his son to the market place, and that son was son-placed or Adopted. Only those who are sons will ever be adopted. Have it clear in mind that when you are saved you are made a son. Now because you are a son, you shall be son-placed. This is another of the benefits of being a son of God. What benefits are you now receiving as a Christian? True it is, we have experienced the pardon of our sins. We have the knowledge of our salvation in Christ.

We have daily communion with Him. We have the privilege of service, and all of this with persecution. The things that I am receiving and enjoying here and now while I am in this body are manifold, but as a son of God there are better things to come. The Bible says in I John 3: 2

2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Notice again what it says in Galatians 4:4

4. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”

That was the time when the divine clock in the future purpose of God struck. Let me ask you something. Why did Jesus Christ come ? Why was he born? Why did he come into this world at that definite time ? In Galatians 4:5, we find the answer.

5. “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

To redeem them that were under the law Who were they? Everybody. Everyone was under the demand of the law as well as the penalty of the law. Everyone was under the mastery of the law. The law had locked us up in prison, and we were to receive the penalty of the violation of a broken law. Only the coming of the Lord Jesus could open the door and free us. The text says that Jesus Christ came to redeem them that were under the law, that we: (this little word with two letters designates those who are sons of God)-the saved folks who were already sons of God, had been made sons by faith in Jesus Christ. The text says that Jesus Christ came that we might receive the adoption of sons. When Christ came, He came into this world, not only to be the Saviour for sinners but He provided the blessings for sons. Adoption is for those who are the sons of God. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you should live in the joyous anticipation of that coming event. The day when you shall see the King in His beauty, will be the day when you, as a child of God will be son-placed.

VII. The One That Procured Our Adoption

In these closing remarks I just want to emphasize some of the things in Galatians 4:4, 6 that are clearly set forth concerning the purpose of Christ’s coming. We notice in these two verses that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who procured our adoption for us. He made Adoption possible. Surely our hearts should go out in praise to Him who came to make possible all future blessings. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son.” “That we might receive the Adoption of sons.” The Lord Jesus left the glory that was His with the Father. He was born as a babe in yonder manger, that we might receive the Adoption of sons. Jesus Christ did not merely come into this world to save you from the drink habit; to save you from blowing cigarette smoke through your nose and mouth, to save you from swearing, or stop you from stealing, or pardon your sins, . . . that was not the main purpose. There is a higher and greater purpose in His coming than that. Christ came not only to save you from the penalty and power of your sins, but He came that you might be son-placed. On the cross He died to take care of my sins, and when I see Him another great miracle shall take place. I shall be “son-placed.”

We as believers will be an amazement to the angels as they stand back with a gaze that shall be unbelievable and indescribable. They will behold the wonderful grace of the Lord Jesus. son-placing saved sinners. Ephesians 2: 7

7. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

We may not be like Jesus now. Oh, we are so much unlike him. Thank God, some day every saint will be like him. That is the real purpose of the Saviour. God had in mind to have sons who would be like his Son. To be son-placed is to be like the Lord Jesus. Friend, that is just what the Gospel does. The man who turns to the Lord Jesus Christ, who puts his faith and trust in the Lord Jesus, can have this abiding hope. Heaven and the likeness of Christ lies before him. This is inexpressible. This is the clear teaching of the Word of God regarding the matter of Adoption. Adoption is a definite act of God whereby God sets a goal for the believer It will take place when we are son-placed. Romans 8:

23. “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

When I am son-placed, I will have a new body. It is future, it is certain, it brings perennial joy to think about it. Then we will be there.

If a man is not saved, he will never be there when the son-placing takes place, but if a man receives Jesus Christ as his Saviour he will not miss being son-placed.

This subject has to do with the sovereignty of God. Adoption is one of the future blessings for the man who believes in Christ as planned by the wisdom of the Triune God. No child of God need ever be afraid of losing his Adoption papers. The word of God is eternally settled in Heaven. You will never be allowed to go out into the blackness of darkness forever. What a joy, what a hope, what a satisfaction to know that “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

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