"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption
by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” Romans 8:15
This study of spiritual adoption will hold many surprises for us. Not only is God the Father treated slightly in most works on theology, but the concept of sonship by spiritual adoption is scarcely understood.
Because of the biblical meaning of the term “adoption,” our study is forced to take a practical approach to the relationship of the believer to the heavenly Father. This approach is demanded by each of the passages in which the phrase “Abba, Father” is found.
It is my fervent prayer that this effort will be a labor of love both by teacher and student, and will be blessed by the Spirit of God with the life-changing impact demanded by the subject. Those who receive these truths, presented with humility and reverence, cannot fail to increase their store of spiritual treasure allotted to each and every child of God (EPH 1:3
The approach of this conference will differ a bit from previous ones. In each study, we begin with a premise, a statement of biblical fact. This is matched with a Scripture passage that affirms the truth. A brief analysis of that text will follow, and be reinforced by other passages that build the case for that concept. Each section will conclude with principles of application.
This approach is intended to remove the study of the heavenly Father from the realm of theory or speculation, and to provide steps to be taken by each student/disciple to come to know the Father in a personal and practical daily relationship. As with any other relationship, our spiritual fellowship is built on understanding, rapport, interaction, and sympathetic goals and objectives. As we learned in the study “Knowing God” (2014 NoVA Bible Conference based on the Book of 2 Corinthians), our intimacy with the Almighty is gained through joint participation. Look at this study as a spiritual “workout” plan, or like a disciples’ “to do” list, and draw near to the Father day-by-day.
God our Father (Matthew 5-7)
Most of us, as Christians, do not realize just how explosive and radical were the concepts introduced by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. In particular, His constant reference to God as “Father”
would have been considered revolutionary in that time and place. Furthermore, when Jesus speaks about God to the disciples, He refers to Him as “your Father”
fifteen times. Once, in His instruction on prayer, He uses the term “our Father,”
and He concludes the discourse by referring to “My Father in heaven”
This discourse alone would have been sufficient to turn the religious authorities against Him, for they never would have presented God as “Father” to the common rabble. Then, to teach them to open their prayers with “our Father in heaven”
would have been a far too familiar way to address “the Most High God”
). Finally, Jesus, who claimed to be the “Son of God”
; JOH 9:35
), places these disciples into the intimate family relationship which He shares with the Father (MAT 11:25-27
). This would have enraged the Pharisees beyond measure.
In this message, Jesus makes three main points about the Father:
- God's children are to live in such a way as to glorify the Father (MAT 5:16).
- The Father will reward those who so live (MAT 5:46, MAT 6:1, MAT 6:4, MAT 6:6, MAT 6:18).
- The Father is faithful to supply our needs, if not our wants (Mat 6;25-34, MAT 7:7-12).
Yet the idea of God as Father to the believer, as seen throughout the ministry of Jesus, did not yet include the concept of adoption as later presented by the Apostle Paul. Not only is the Doctrine of Adoption part of the revelation of the “mystery”
of Church-Age truth (EPH 1:5-9
), but it places the believer of this Age (between Pentecost and the Rapture) in a position of great privilege—also of great responsibility. Therefore, let us “gird up”
our minds (1PE 1:13
) for the purpose of both learning about our adoption and living in the power of it.