That We Might Receive the Adoption as Sons
God has an incomparable appointment calendar that spans the course of human history. Before the earth was brought into existence, He scheduled an event and notified man (Gen. 3:15).
For millennia, God consistently reiterated the redemptive purpose of His long held appointment. He even sent prophets to establish the predetermined time and place. Then at the appointed time, God sent His Son to earth as humanity’s promised Redeemer.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Gal. 4:4-7, NIV cf. NKJV).
As documented by Paul, God purposefully scheduled this set time to accomplish two primary objectives—first, to redeem those under the law, and second that we might receive adoption to sonship (v. 4- 5).
The expression, “under the law,” in verse four conveys the idea of being imprisoned, bound or enslaved—in this case, bound and/or enslaved to the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).
As the promised Redeemer, Jesus didn’t free man from moral accountability to God, but rather from the curse imposed on man’s inability to keep the law. What a profound concept to contemplate!
Sending His Son as a human baby into the space-time continuum of our existence was inseparably linked to God’s plan for our redemption through the substitutionary death of His Son as the perfect sacrifice for sin (Rm. 8:3). God alone had that right. As difficult as it is to comprehend, the Man, Jesus Christ, is God Incarnate—God’s only begotten Son. (Jn. 3:16).
Fully human, He was born under the law. He was born of a Jewish mother; circumcised according to Mosaic Law; at the age of 13, became a bar mitzvah (son of the commandment); made pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the required feasts; ate a kosher diet and attended synagogue. He lived a perfect life as a man within the stringent context of Judaism.
That His humanity is coupled with absolute deity, however, defines the uniqueness of the Incarnation. Only as a Man could He die as a substitute for man’s sin. His death could have efficacy to redeem lost humanity based on the hypostatic union of His humanity coupled with His absolute deity.
Redeeming man from the bondage of the curse of the law is in itself astounding. But, there was more. God’s purpose was not only redemption, but also adoption. God had planned to make children out of those who are outside of the covenant and slaves to sin.
The apostle Paul illustrated the concept with a prevalent Greek and Roman practice allowing the head of a household to adopt a slave as a legal heir. Again, it’s mind-boggling to think that the God of creation would not only choreograph the redemption of humanity, but also provide personal “adoption to sonship” that makes possible for individuals to become His children.
Paul told the church at Galatia and by extension all who have trusted God’s sacrifice for sin through the centuries, “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Gal. 4:6).
We have not been redeemed in a cold sterile formality. In choosing to accept redemption, we—as people of biblical faith— have been made His children:
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Gal. 4: 7).
God desires an intimate relationship with us and extends the invitation to call Him, “Daddy!” The indwelling of the Holy Spirit not only makes that relationship possible, but also defines our position in Christ in the tenderest relationship of Father and much-loved child. (1)
The Incarnation and birth of Jesus was appointed by God to fulfill the promise made in the Garden of Eden. God is not just our Father in heaven, but Abba Father. Abba is the word for “Daddy.” Reflecting a reliant, yet affectionate relationship with one’s father, Abba is a term of endearment used by children in Israel.
While the Western world seems to have forgotten the significance, our celebration of Jesus’ birth is an acknowledgement of the historically documented truth that God appointed set times to accomplish His purposes.
Today, take time to not only thank God for what He accomplished at the Nativity, but also for His amazing and infinitely brilliant plan that provided our redemption. Then, be encouraged that the sovereign God of creation is so awesome and mighty He will accomplish every detail of His plan at the predetermined set time.
(1) The relationship of adoption Paul describes is more than a self-professed identity. The Holy Spirit indwells those who accept God’s gift of salvation to confirm and provide evidence of adoption. It’s like an adoption certificate, though far better. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we receive, “His divine power [that] has given us everything we need for a godly life” (2 Pet. 1:3).
1) Abba Father. (All images used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credits: Pixabay/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) That We Might Receive the Adoption as Sons. (Images used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credits: Pixabay/Details and digital compositions, MKM Portfolios)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.