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Summary: The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, Relearn Adoption by the Spirit, part 3 Romans 8:14-17

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The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, Relearn

Adoption by the Spirit, part 3

Romans 8:14-17

David Taylor

February 5, 2017

We are in our third week of our series, The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn. My desire is that we gain a biblical understanding of life in the Spirit and our radical need for the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Someone made a comment to me that I was not focusing enough on the Spirit in the first two messages. Here is the deal, the work of God in the lives of his people is the work of the triune God working together. They are one God in essence yet three persons. So to say something is the work of the Spirit is to say it is the work of God. This is how the bible describes the work of the trinity. God the Father ordains all that is to come to pass, those things coming to pass are based upon the work of the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit applies the work of the Son to individuals. So the work of the Spirit is to glorify the Son by applying the work of the Son to individuals that God has ordained to come to pass. So far we have seen that the Spirit is the source of all spiritual life in John 7; the Spirit gives us new birth in John 3; and this week we will look at another great work of the Spirit, adopting us into the family of God.

Adoption is the work of the Spirit, applying everything that the Son secured for us on the cross in which we become children of God. There are no natural born children in God’s family. All of us were orphans in terrible circumstances with an even more terrifying future. This passage points out three characteristics of spiritual adoption. The first is that we have a new status (15). “You did not receive a spirit of slavery to the power and guilt of sin so that you fall back into fear of God’s judgment and uncertainty. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out Abba father (15).” Adoption is the act of God’s grace in which he freely brings us into membership of his family, and makes us partakers of all the blessings he has provided, including the love he has for his own Son Jesus Christ (John 17:23) which is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). In God adopting us, the Spirit applies what the Son secured for us on the cross so that we become children of God and securing everything Jesus secured. Our adoption was ordained by God in eternity past, secured for us by the work of the Son on the cross, and applied to our behalf by the Spirit so that we have the same standing as Jesus (Eph 1:3-6).

This is not something we can earn or gain by our own morality, as if we are good enough to gain God’s favor; it is purely the work of God’s grace. We are adopted as the Spirit applies the work of Jesus on our behalf. Jesus was abandoned on the cross so you could be and would be adopted. The word received here is a passive verb, meaning that God is the agent in adoption or God has acted on our behalf in adopting us. As a past act we are now children of God with the same standing as Jesus Christ because of what he has done for us. We are no longer slaves to the fear of God’s judgment as orphans, children of wrath (Eph 2:3). We are accepted and loved in the same way and with the same love God has for his only unique Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:23). So God the Father thinks and feels the same way about you as he does his own unique Son Jesus. What he said of Jesus he says of you, “this is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased (Mat 3:17)” because of what Jesus secured for you. This also means that you are as safe and secure in your status before God as Jesus’s status before God. His love for you is not the result of you believing him; his love for you was before time began when he set his affections on you and chose to love you not because you were cute but because of the extravagant nature of his love. Not only that be he also destined us to be adopted, He predestined, giving us a destiny as his children (Eph 1:3-6). This is why every human being has a desire for greatness, for purpose, why we are looking for identity, and struggle with self esteem. But none of it will come by looking at yourself or within. Paul’s praised is based upon his understanding God’s sovereignty in adoption. This is the implication, to the extent that you understand God’s sovereignty in your adoption is to the extent that you will respond in worship and thanks to God.


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