Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome one and all to Home Bible study. Thanks for taking the time to visit with us.
My prayer is that you always leave this site encouraged and enlightened.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a new Believer or “old in the tooth,” if I may use that colloquialitistic expression, you’re bound to find something here that will lift your spirit.
If you are willing to share, it could be a blessing to others. With these thoughts in mind, please turn to the book of Romans, chapter 8, at verse 16 and we’ll get started.
Our Apostle Paul has proven that all those who are in Christ Jesus are not only free from condemnation but are the children of God – adopted by His grace into His family, led by His Spirit; and they now address Him intimately as Abba Father.
16: The Spirit Himself testifies to our spirit that we are (truly) children of God,
17: and if children of God, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
Right off the bat, what I want you to understand is when Paul speaks about adoption in Romans 8:15 it is not equivalent to the adoption procedure we know in this era.
We understand adoption to be - the selection of a male or female child who is not a natural child into a family; and the execution of legal paperwork that ensures the legality of this process, including the right to heirship, etc.
The word adoption in verse 15 is inconsistent with today’s definition. It’s unfortunate the Bible translators settled on this word but without an extensive selection of expressions to choose from we can certainly understand why they chose the word.
In Paul’s day, there wasn’t a Greek expression or rather the idea he wished to convey to those he was preaching. So, Paul coined the word “huio-thesia” from (huios – son come of age) and (thesia – a placing, or setting a person or thing in its place). So, the word “adoption” was chosen.
This word huio-thesia appears 5 times - in Paul’s letters only. The term refers to an adult son - of God (one who has come of age). It is only used in reference to a Believer in this age of Grace.
So, in Romans 8:14-15 our Apostle Paul is not just saying we’re adopted into God’s family and then eternally members of God’s family even though this is how it is perceived for the most part. Paul is referring to the Hebrew culture primarily. You see, in Paul’s day the Jews adopted their own children.
Their natural child worked in the family business as an apprentice baker, tailor, or candle stick maker, for example, under the guidance of a sponsor or tutor who worked very closely with that child; they were under their constant supervision, in other words.
At some point the father expected his son to be educated and to mature.
Then at a time set by the father the son would be adopted, which meant the father would observe all the ceremonial rites associated with it. Afterwards, his son is then declared to be no longer in a state of childhood. He is declared to be a “son – come of age.” Now his parents will treat him as an adult.
This is the kind of adoption (Huio-thesia) Paul speaks of.
There’s a parallel teaching on this subject in the book of Galatians at chapter 4.
1: Now I say, as long as the heir is a (what) child, he does not differ at all from a (what) slave although he is owner of everything (the child is still the owner’s son).
2: but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
Paul is showing us that the father’s own offspring is his heir. But for as long as the son is in a state of “childhood” his father doesn’t treat any differently than if her were a slave (servant) in their household. He may still be the young lord in the house, since he’s still his father’s heir, but he is not granted any special treatment by his father.
The father interacts with his son through tutors or governors, which means their relationship is limited. This will change one day. At an appointed time in the future, a date set by the father, he will adopt his own son. He then declares him to be an adult, “a son – come of age,” and his heir.
Once again, this is the kind of adoption our Apostle Paul is talking to us about.
In this dispensation of grace, once you confess your faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10) you’re saved, and you are adopted into the family of God – at that instant you receive the spirit of adoption but it’s not consummated.
Please turn to Ephesians 1.
13: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were (what’s the next word) sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of (the what) promise.
Each Believer is “sealed” with the Holy Spirit who is given as a down payment (an earnest) of our inheritance. Most of us understand a down payment on a home purchase to mean we put a cash advance down and then some day later close the deal.
It’s the same idea here. Let’s take a look at verse 14.
14: who is given as a (good faith) pledge of our inheritance, with a view of the redemption of God’s own possession (we are God’s own possession – each one of us) to the praise of His glory.
We have received the spirit of adoption but the process of adoption has not been completed yet. This will take place on the Day of Redemption – verse 14.
Please turn to 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, where this same message is repeated almost word for word.
2 Corinthians 5
5: Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
So then, yes we’re saved, yes we’re members of God’s family; but we are in a state of transition or as I like to call it, not yet. I’ll show you where Scripture points this out. Please turn back to Romans, chapter 8.
23: And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the (what) first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, (doing what exactly) waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of the body.
There are 3 points of interest in the passage. The Spirit of God is the first fruits or God sealing us for the Day of Redemption. We also read that we are eagerly waiting for our adoption as son. This isn’t a contradiction to verse 15 where it clearly states that we received a spirit of adoption. The actual adoption process has not yet been consummated by God the Father.
As children, our education is incomplete and we all have some “maturing” to do. (Ephesians 5:1)
For those who may not know the Day of Redemption is also known as the Rapture or the coming of Christ to collect His one and only church. On this day the adoption process (ceremony, if you will) will be consummated and we will be children no longer but adults – come of age. This date has been set by the Father but only He knows the day and the hour.
Adoption in this day and age has received a bad rap and that’s unfortunate. There’s a certain stigma surrounding the whole process of adoption in our society that prevents people from even exploring the possibility of stabilizing a child’s life and future.
Let’s look at this from God’s perspective for just a moment. He adopted His enemies!
21: And although you were formerly alienated and hostile (enemies) in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
22: yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death (on the cross), in order to present you before Him holy and blameless (without sin) and beyond reproach (without an accuser).
What motivated God the Father to send His Son to die for the sins of the world?
Love - (John 3:16) A love we will never be able to express or define on this side of glory.
Man was created in love and redeemed in love and God initiated both events.
One of the things I like about the Old Testament is that it often gives us a picture (or shadow) of some future event. This is the case in the account of King David’s adoption of Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel, chapter 9.
King David wanted to show “the kindness of God” to anyone who remained in the house of Saul (his old enemy) in memory of Jonathan, (who was his best friend). There remained a son of Jonathan, a cripple in both feet, so the King sent for him (v. 5-6). Mephibosheth not only came to live with King David, as a son (v. 11), he ate at the King’s table and all that belonged to Saul and to his house was given to him.
This story is an Old Testament example of how God treats us sinners today.
God initiates the action out of love. We have nothing to do with the process.
We are poor and destitute without a future. God changes all that.
We are crippled by sin and unable to help ourselves. God steps in and saves us.
We are elevated from begging for scraps of food to eating at the King’s table as a son.
When David first saw Mephibosheth he did not see a cripple, he saw the likeness of Jonathan. When God looks at us, He sees the image of His own Son.
26: For you are all (what) sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
In this “position,” our relationship with God the Father is now personal and intimate.
“…but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Daddy)
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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