Advent Day 2. The Gift of Being Adopted by God

December 2nd

Adopted as His children

 

Do a Google search on the word “adopted” and you’ll find heartfelt story after story of a child being adopted and given a new life when the birth parent(s) would only be able to provide much less.  There are countless examples of the famous and obscure enjoying a fresh life thanks to being adopted, to being chosen.

God is the ultimate adoptive parent.  He has given us the choice of whether or not we want to be adopted by Him, through His Son.  And, being the omnipotent God that He is, He knows what our choice will be while urging each of us to become His child. 

The next gift?  Adoption.  “In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:5 NIV)

Now, some people get hung up on “predestined.”   Some would suggest that if God has predestined whether or not I go to heaven, then I don’t need to get caught up in His decision.  I can act like I want… and since it is mentioned in several other places in the Bible that God wants everyone to be saved… I’ve been predestined to go to heaven… then it doesn’t matter how I act, right?

Predestination means God has the plan… and it’s a good and great plan…. But WE do the choosing whether or not we’re going to follow that plan.   When we choose God, we receive the inheritance, like sons and daughters.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) speaks of God’s plan for us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  So, why wouldn’t we want to accept the plan God has for us?  It’s a great plan.  It’s a wonderful gift!

John Calvin, one of the great leaders of the Christian faith in the 1500’s wrote and preached much on predestination.  He suggests that no one can live a Godly life without the Holy Spirit being in him… without God having called that person to be a Believer. 

Why would a person want to be God’s son or daughter?  God’s love for each person is so immense that nothing can contain God’s love for us (Romans 8:38-39).  Calvin suggests:   “When we have our adoption engraved in our hearts, then…we have a good and infallible pledge that God will guide us unto the end, and that since he has begun to lead us into the way of salvation, he will bring us to the perfection to which he calls us, because, in truth, without him we could not continue so much as a single day.” [1]

God has called us.  God has elected us.  John 1:12 (NASB) says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born… not of the will of man, but of God.”

God has predestined us to follow Him, to embrace the great things He has for us, to love Him.  And I am thankful for that gift… because with it, He is the One who guides us through this life on our path to spending all of eternity with Him.  He guides.  We choose.

So, gift #2 is the Gift of Adoption, of being called God’s son or God’s daughter, and all the love that goes with it.

 

Thank you God, for this Gift of Adoption, of being Your child.  We joyfully choose to be your child and receive all the love you give to us as our unfailing Heavenly Father.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



[1] John Calvin, The Third Sermon on the First Chapter of Ephesians.  Calvin’s Ephesians’ Sermons, preached on Sundays at Geneva in 1558-59, when he was 49 years of age, were first printed in French in 1562, then in English in 1577. www.the-highway.com.

(c) 2011 Rich Ronald

Advent… getting ready.

Advent: The Greatest Gifts of All

Welcome to Advent, the season that welcomes our Lord Jesus and leads up to the celebration of His birth.  This study will take, perhaps, a slightly different slant to the season as we open Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.  Why Ephesians?  Well, you are right to suggest that the book isn’t very “Christmasy.”  There are no stories about trips on donkeys, a baby born in a stable or angels singing outside the window. 

The book of Ephesians mirrors many writings throughout the Bible.  It includes these two main points:

  1. God loves you and has always had a plan for you
  2. And that plan has always included the hope and glory and power and wisdom and love of Jesus our Messiah.

Even if you have never bowed your knee to Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, know that God loves you and has a plan for you.

So, let’s take the month of December, between now and Christmas Day and give Ephesians a closer look. At its core, we’ll discover 25 wonderful gifts God desires to give each one of us.  They are The Greatest Gifts of All.   Are you ready to receive them?

From Ephesians Chapter 1:15-23 (NIV), a prayer for you from Paul.

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

The very words of God. 

Paul starts this prayer offering thanksgiving for the church.  He asks God to give them all wisdom and revelation so that the church may know God better.  And then Paul prays for their heart… so that they may know His hope, His inheritance and His power!  And then He affirms that that power is the same that raised a dead man to life and in its fullness, is available to us… filling everything in every way.

There will be a new devotional thought each day, beginning tomorrow, December 1st.  So bookmark this page, or subscribe to the receive your daily Advent devotional via the “follow blog via email” button at the right.

The 25 Days of God’s greatest gifts, from the book of Ephesians (chapter and verse in parenthesis):

  1. The gift of every spiritual blessing (1:3)
  2. The gift of being adopted as God’s son or daughter (1:5)
  3. The gift of being sealed with God by the Holy Spirit (1:13)
  4. The free gift of Salvation (2:8)
  5. The gift of work to do at God’s request (2:10)
  6. The gift of being a citizen of Heaven (2:19)
  7. The gift of grace for all ministers, that is everyone who ministers in Jesus’ name, for all believers (3:7)
  8. The gift of boldness and confident access (3:12)
  9. The gift of Jesus dwelling in our hearts (3:17)
  10. The gift of knowing how much Christ loves us (3:19)
  11. The gift of unity (4:4-6)
  12. The gift of grace (4:7)
  13. The gift of learning with a purpose (4:11)
  14. The gift a new self, in the likeness of God (4:24)
  15. The gift of Christ himself, an offering, a sacrifice (5:2)
  16. The gift of encouraging others (5:18-21)
  17. The gift of family (5:22-6:9)
  18. The gift of victory over the enemy (6:10-12)
  19. The gift of weaponry, the belt of truth (6:14)
  20. The gift of weaponry, the breastplate of righteousness (6:14)
  21. The gift of weaponry, the boots of readiness to share the Gospel (6:15)
  22. The gift of weaponry, the shield of faith (6:16)
  23. The gift of weaponry, the helmet of salvation (6:17)
  24. The gift of weaponry, the sword of the Spirit (6:17)
  25. The gift of prayer (6:18)


(c) 2011 Rich Ronald