Ephesians 1:1 …To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Brothers and sisters, we have been adopted as sons into the family of Christ. This is a legal, heavenly, and positional transaction that takes place whereby we are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light: translated from the old man and into the New Man. When we believe into Him, we are born by a new birth as children into His family whereupon he adopts us into sonship. Earthly families are but pictures and shadows of the one true family: who is Christ:
Matthew 12:49 And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 50 “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
While I’ve never had biological children; I’ve legally adopted four children. And also, as an out-working expression of Christ in and through my life, I continue to selectively and informally ‘adopt’ those younger that I’ve “chosen” to formally mentor and look out for. Through these relationships, these adopted ‘inherit,’ through tutelage, life lessons that I’ve learned.
In executing His eternal purpose, Christ selected us from before the foundation of the world. He “chose” us, we didn’t choose Him:
John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
In adoption, the past life of the adopted child is legally erased. It’s as if they have had no life prior to the adoption. Hmmm. They receive a new name: the name of the father. This is but a picture of us when we come into Christ. The name we receive has been written in the lamb’s book of life. We were born into a heavenly family through a heavenly ‘womb’ into a heavenly life through a one blood and water transaction. If you are in Christ, you have come through that ‘womb’ of his side that was split open on the cross and poured forth blood and water: the lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. The old man has been annihilated/erased through Christ’s work on the cross. We are now part of a new history, a new family. We have become part of His-Story through adoption into a corporate New Man, a family in which we were “chosen” and appointed to the discipline of bearing fruit. We have become born into the New Man to participate in and share in His divine nature; we been adopted into a New creation designed to express His Life and character for eternity.
Frank Viola writes in his book, Jesus Now: “Adoption in the New Testament is different from adoption today. The New Testament authors spoke of adoption as “sonship.” A child in the first century was no different from a servant. During the long period of child training and preparation for full sonship, a tutor would bring the child into the methods, intentions, and spirit of the child’s father. Thus adoption was the placing of one who was already a child into full sonship rights. Consequently, adoption is not a word of relationship but of position. You as a Christian are a child of God by new birth. But adoption is God’s act in which you are placed in the position of an adult son (Gal. 4:1–5). Greek, Roman, and Jewish families adopted their own children. Birth made them children, but discipline and training brought them into adoption and the full stature of sonship. Simply put, a child has God’s nature, but a son has God’s character. Children are born of God; sons are taught of God. Note that in the New Testament, “sons” and “brethren” also include women. God desires to bring “many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10). And He wants those sons (which includes His daughters) to be “built together” as a living temple (Eph. 2:20–22). Thus relatedness to other members of the body is essential for growth into Christ.”
Post-script… Last Saturday morning, our brother Mark Evans came over and shared with me a new song that he had just written. Enjoy…
You pour your Life in us and invite us in the dance
Of the community of love, the eternal pure romance
You made us your children, you call us Your friends
You give us your kingdom, which will never end
Your mercy unfailing, Your glory displayed
Your eternal purpose, forever portrayed
We pour our life in You, it’s all we have to give
A simple gift of love, to You our Lord and King