Archive for February, 2016

Adoption into the family of God!

Adoption is a topic that is the least debated in Christian circles and a topic on which few books are written, while it remains to every Christian a Biblical fact. However, if one were to consider the finer details of adoption, good solid doctrine then emerges as a critical requisite in understanding Adoption in the Family of God.

John 1
12 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,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

One thing is for certain, adoption is not an initiative taken by the adoptee but the initiative is of the family which adopts that child. In this case, the family we are talking about is the Holy Trinity, where the will is of God the Father in Salvation, while God the Son accomplishes Salvation and God the Holy Spirit applies Salvation unto the Elect i.e. whom God has drawn to Himself through their names being recorded from the foundation of the world, for the Son’s knowledge (Jn6:39-44), in the Book of Life. This, so that the Son may prepare to bear unto life, the dead man or woman being drawn unto the Eternal Family of the Father for adoption and the place in the dimension of time, which the Father has determined to draw the individual unto life from death, in His Son Jesus Christ.

John 6 (Jesus’ word)
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

In understanding that God shares His glory with no other, we learn that creation glorifies God. God is familial/relational; He is One in the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. This same structure reflects in a family here, who though consisting of different people, go by the same family name, which is akin to the Three Persons of the Godhead going by the same name as One: YHWH. By this I do not mean that God is Father, Mother and Son because God doesn’t need a woman to have a son and this was emphasised in Jesus’ birth through the Virgin Mary.

16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Rom 8
15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

In knowing the spiritual death that precipitated from the fall, we understand that Adam was once an obedient “son of God”, not to the same extent as God the Son, because God the Son is God and not a created being like Adam. God the Son exists with God from eternity to eternity, even before creation came to being. If we consider the context of Gal 4:4 we learn that God the Son existed and His coming as Jesus Christ was merely adding to Himself the complete nature of man by being born of a woman (Lk1:35).

Gal 4
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Mat 3:17 & 17:5 are two places among others which site the good pleasure of God the Father in His Son Jesus Christ. This precisely is the duty of a son, a relationship which glorifies God even in creation. To be that chip of the old block, to make your father proud, is such a joy for any son but that is so only because it glorifies the relationship God the Father shares with God the Son from eternity past to eternity beyond. For so it was that before creation existed: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit existed is perfect fellowship with each other lacking nothing.

Rom 5
17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ

We all fell in Adam but Salvation is by grace through faith, where the moment Our Father and King Jesus Christ opens our eyes, confirming our birth from death into life, from lawlessness into the Law of God as our nature and character as being born from above (Jn3:3), and this in the midst of the rat race this world is caught up in. At this time, we realize we could do nothing to merit or facilitate the work of Salvation, which God the Son has given rise to in our lives. This precisely is the unmerited favour one experiences in adoption.

Heb 2 (Concerning Jesus)
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 saying, “I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”

Imagine how it feels to suddenly be blessed with a living spirit that desires to exercise the righteousness of God, please God and cry out Abba Father. Such is the privilege of God’s Elect because of what Jesus Christ has accomplished, who gave us His Own Spirit of obedience unto His Father, to the extent He is not ashamed to call us His brethren (Heb2:11).

Isaiah 53
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has Turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

The Salvation of God, thereby presents the Elect a double cure, where on one hand, Christ paid restitution in full for our obedience withheld with His perfect obedience, in which we receive a portion in Christ’s spirit replacing our dead spirit of rebellion, as our hearts are sanctified unto increasing obedience unto God (Ezek36:26-27) and then on the other hand, Christ has substituted the Elect in paying God the Father the full restitution concerning the wages of all sin (Is53:4-6).

10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Having said all of the above, I must add that not all people are the children of God because God’s children are so identified that they yearn to please God and are those who are given the moral disposition to exercise His righteousness, for such a nature is made available to them who are His Elect only in Christ. Besides it would be rather foolish to say “all people are God’s children” only to satisfy their flesh and dead spirit and keep them from experiencing the terror of being at war with the God of the universe as a consequence of their love for sin. These who have nothing to do with the Spirit of Christ but instead wallow in the spirit of antichrist, which hates and opposes the proclamation of the existence of the Father and the Son and the advent of the Son amongst us unto bearing the righteousness of God to pay restitution for our obedience withheld and our sins wilfully committed in its stead.

9 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
10 “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Rom 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you can see above Mat7:9-11, Ps37:4 and Rom6:23 beautifully complement each other as does all the scripture from the Bible because when you are an adopted son/daughter, alive by the Spirit of Christ (Jn20:22) or shall I say by the very knowledge of Christ (2Tim3:16), you are blessed even with the privilege to delight in His righteousness as your own. All this, as He freely blesses you in sanctification, restoring you to His very image, which is the Nature and Character of God, which is the very Law of God written by the Son of God upon the hearts of God’s Elect (Lk15:11-32).

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

If you have never known this privilege of delighting in God but you feel ever so moved to know God, then say a pray to the Lord Jesus Christ that He may forgive you your sins and bless you with the love of God, which is life in all its brilliance. Our Father and King Jesus Christ may have set that prayer in your heart as the 1st step unto a complete change within, erupting through your thoughts, words, actions and purposes in time, which God alone knows but you will know the change when it comes according to His will. As you will then notice that every immorality you ever found delightful in and sought after in death, comes across as distasteful and rotting in your life by the power of Christ working in you (1Jn4:4). If He does set you free from your slavery to sin, death and rebellion, you will know it, “for if the son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed” – John 8.

My life… the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde!

Mat 10
19 “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.

When I think of the people of this world, I am filled with some remorse in learning that these are denied the desire and capacity to pour out their hearts to God or even if it is to express themselves truly, and for most part their impotent/reprobate desire and incapacity only frustrates them into a position, which is so uncomfortable that would rather not talk about it. However, for the Godly, who are given to examine themselves truthfully and return to God, we are blessed as the Holy Spirit regenerates us with the capacity to express every feeling and insecurity in coming clean unto God thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lam 3
40 Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.

Hebrews 4
16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The reason I write today is because I am convicted by God the Holy Spirit concerning the way I go about life. Where though I have the desire to live according to the moral precepts of God and in most cases do but in my backsliding I am nothing short of a monster. In those short spurts/phases of my backsliding I switch from an obedient adopted son to a disobedient wretch like going from the morally sophisticated Dr. Jekyll to an immoral beast Mr. Hyde, and I wake up in the morning feeling nothing but the deepest sorrow for grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph4:30).

Rom 7
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.
15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.
16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.
17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.
20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.
22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,
23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

The above scripture sites my condition and the Doctor who remedies this for me in His time is the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat9:12). As Jesus once said of His sleeping disciples in Mark 14:38, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. For the living spirit which Christ has secured for me in His Salvation (Jn3:3, 16) desires to do the good pleasure of God but the sin inherent in me from Adam, desires and meets out only the most violent and sickening aspects of my lifestyle. Such is the battle the Holy Spirit wages in me against my uncleanliness.

Galatians 5 (flesh, Biblically refers to Sinful Desire… from the fall)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Yet in all these things I learn God is Sovereign (reigns over all) because these trials of mine only appear to be blessings in disguise (Rom8:28) and I emerge from these, learning only the profound and more intimate aspects of my Christian faith. I always happen to come out stronger concerning knowing the Lord my God more richly with deeper regards for my neighbour at par with myself (Mat22:37-40). Such is the love, God desires we willing choose and put into practice, which is neither blind nor incoherent like the emotional gibberish the world defines as love but this is love defined by God, who is true love Himself (1John4:16).

John 6
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

To conclude, unlike His Church, the world’s people are denied any clear/honest expression of themselves because they are filled with the guilt of their own sin before God and from their fallen pride are the most disoriented, not knowing our lowly estate as sinners before God in all truth. This knowledge is the believer’s true prostration before God which he/she exercises through a Godly (law-abiding) life. Thanks be to Jesus Christ that my life is one saved through His redemptive merit, in which I am blessed with a living spirit to examine myself truly before the righteous Majesty of the Triune God Almighty and plead for mercy in the name of my Saviour whose Name is above all names, that is my Lord, God the Son Jesus Christ. Praise and thanks be to God Almighty for none can thwart/withhold His mighty arm in Salvation (Ps89:13).

Repentance and the Gospel!

I see the world as having essentially two types of people, those who attribute their success and their lives to God and those who love to wallow in their own glory, even if it is by the means of crediting their success or their lives to something else besides God, which appeals as eye-candy to the people around.

Mat 5:45b
… for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Imagine people who perform but in their ignorance of God, fail to see their every effort/talent as being cushioned by the hand of God. So when these are asked as to what is the secret of their success they just arrogantly blurt their ignorant feelings available to them in that moment, not realizing to whom that credit is due. Still, God is not insecure like fallen men who desire payback for every emotion they invest in their neighbour.

Psalm 115:1
Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.

What is Repentance, it is turning away from that fallen desire of taking all the credit and giving glory to God, who matters more than all creation put together. If you find this hard to accept, it reflects only your miniscule perspective on God. Ironically, you will notice that though you haven’t figured the extent to which creation exists, you have no trouble in meditating on your own fallen desires with little care for those around you, leave aside all creation. That glory rightfully belongs to God (who is good and without sin) in all creation (Ps148), not to you or me or any other person for that matter.

Psalm 113:7
He raises the poor from the dust
And lifts the needy from the ash heap,

Mat 5
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

The wearing of sackcloth in the Old Testament was synonymous with coarseness of mourning, where looking to God was the only comfort which would satisfy the soul. This repentance too is from God given to His elect (Act11:18) that they may know the truth about God and themselves and be brought to that spiritual prostration, which is every believer’s privilege in knowing God Almighty.

Mark 2:17 (In the context of John 1:10-13 & Rom 3:23-26)
17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It has always been so, that those who feel they don’t need Jesus are only those who are completely at home with their sin. For every other religion, the code of religiosity is an outward code but in Christianity the code is purely moral and so a person’s faith is not measured by the colour of his beard or by the length of their trousers or by the food he eats. By this I do not mean a person should dress immodestly but just that Christian principles are based on moral values and not an outward showcasing of religiosity from the individual. So it is that, what Biblical Law focuses on concerning the individual is: morality (Is1:11-17). For people from their fallen nature are prone to remaining in their immoral and godless state even while performing the Ceremonial aspects of the Law, only because such is the love for sin in every man from the fall of Adam.

Isaiah 1
11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

In repentance, God grants the individual the overwhelming capacity to put to death their nature to sin, a death to the individual’s sinful-self, unto a new life in God (Jn12:24-26), symbolized by sitting in ashes and dust (Job42:6) and being washed in the waters of baptism (Rom6:4). This realization of a person’s spiritual plight before God, is the beginning of the work of God the Holy Spirit in putting sin/immorality to death in the individual (Phil1:6).

Col 3
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

Such is the importance of repentance, which is the highlight of Baptism. Without repentance it is impossible to believe in the Gospel because one needs to begin emptying themselves of their love for sin/immorality to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit. This capacity is granted the individual in Christ, who presents the believer a living spirit, which right from its infancy (Jn3:3,16), desires and exercises the righteousness of God (2Cor5:17).

Isaiah 58:5
Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?

Mk 1:14-15
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

So to conclude, just as Christmas marks the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and Resurrection Sunday marks the redemptive accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ for all God’s people. Baptism marks the individual made ready through repentance to believe in the saving Gospel. The Bible puts this across through some beautiful euphemism, where the Church, which is the body of believers, is being prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive her groom: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev 22
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

For as creation is given to glorify God, we see that just as a man is given to pour out his strength and labour for the woman he loves, who in turn is given to draw forth righteousness from him by her beauty, so too the Salvation of God’s Church is by the absolute merit of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev5:9), who paid Salvation’s ransom for His Church in His blood (1Tim2:6) and sent the Holy Spirit (John15:26) to sanctify and beautify His Church as a bride into the image of God, which was lost in Adam’s fall (Rom5:17). That just as Salvation is by grace through faith, so too is the beauty of Jesus’ Church that her faith is a gift from God to draw forth the righteousness of her beloved groom to save her from her sins (Lk5:20).

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