Tag Archives: Adoption

Helps Towards Appreciating Your Adoption: part two

16 Apr

Being adopted by God is one of the biggest privileges we have as believers.  Yet, we don’t often appreciate it the way we should.  We are taking some time to think through what makes this spiritual blessing so important.  

In a previous post we enjoyed the fact that our adoption means we are a child of God.  Now, we want to delight in the fact that our adoption means we are loved by God.

This is one of the most important truths you can take away from this idea of adoption. Listen to what Paul says at the end of verse 4 and the beginning of verse 5 in Ephesians chapter 1.

He says, “In love God predestined us.”

Predestine means predetermined or planned beforehand.  He is saying, “How did God predetermine this? What was God’s attitude as He did this?”

This whole decision to adopt was motivated by and wrapped in love.

I have heard of people who adopted children because they felt guilty. Maybe it was an uncle whose sister died and so they had to take the kids into the home. And so every time they saw the children, they would think aahh, why did I have to take this child into my home.

This is not how God adopted us. This was a delight for God.

Actually if you look at the next phrase, he says, “In love….according to the purpose of His will.” According to means on the basis of. The purpose. Or a better translation might be, the good pleasure, the delight of His will.

As one author explains, “This word purpose signifies not just the purpose of God, but also the happiness he takes in his plan. It draws attention to God’s joy in doing this.”

If you were going to before the beginning of the world and watching God making a plan, and you were wondering why is God happy right now, why is God smiling, this was the delight of His will, this was love that motivated God to adopt us.

This is one of the special treasures of thinking about adoption.

What if you only knew that God chose you? He could have only chosen you to be His slave. But adoption tells you that He chose you to be part of His family. That’s love.  Or take forgiveness. If you only knew about forgiveness, that God pardons you of your guilt, that is amazing, but if you only thought about that, you might not get the extent of God’s love, because this is a legal thing, it is like you are standing before God as judge and the judge says you are righteous, and that is amazing, but there is a big difference between calling someone your honor and calling them daddy, and adoption tells you that the Judge who pardoned your sin and guilt, now calls you son. You are loved like a son.

And I want to add something here.

God not only loves you like a son. He wants you to believe that. That is one of the most important things for you as a believer to know and enjoy on a daily basis, that God loves you and delights in you like a Son.

1 John 3:1, “Behold (Look! See!) what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God, and so we are.”

It is almost like John is saying no way, check it out, you need to see this you need to be amazed by this that God loves enough to call His family.

John 17:26, We are loved by the Father with a similar kind of love that He loved His Son. Jesus is the Eternal Son. His Sonship is of a different order than ours, but now that we are in Christ, we are loved with a similar kind of love by the Father that he has for His eternal Son. You say that seems too much, but listen to John 17:26. “I made know to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” I want them to know and experience the same kind of love that you have loved me with.

Wow. What a privilege to be loved like that. How much does God love Jesus Christ the Son? How much does God love us?

J.I. Packer writes,

“God receives us as sons and loves us with the same affection with which He eternally loves His only begotten Son.” 

And at this moment I should be crying. If I was enjoying this the way I should, I should be on my knees crying. To be able to say that. To be able to say that. It’s like a fairy story, the reigning king adopts a beggar to make a prince of him, but praise God it is not a fairy story, it’s hard and solid fact. God the Father feels the same way about his adopted children as He does about their elder brother Jesus Christ, and God wants you to believe that, you do not honor God by not believing that, in fact the primary way you honor him in this world is by believing that.

You are a bigger sinner than you think you are but you are not only a sinner, you are a son. Don’t deny that you are a sinner. But don’t deny the fact that you are a Son. Remember every time you look at yourself, you are going to see stuff that is going to make you sad, but look at this, it is important you realize every time you look at your failures that God’s basic attitude as He looks at you is one of affection and delight, because you are not only a sinner, you are a son, and one of the greatest sorrows, one of the greatest ways you can grieve God the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do God as a Christian is not to believe that He loves you.

Adoption is War part four

15 Mar

One lie that we are tempted to believe is, “I don’t have what it takes to do what God’s calling me to do.”    

If you are an honest and humble person you will find that adopting and working with children who are in crisis situations can often seem overwhelming.

Sometimes when we are feeling the weight of that pressure we feel like God hasn’t given us the resources we need to actually respond to the pressure in a way that honors him. And that is a terrible place for us to be, because if we doubt that God has given us the resources to fight a battle, we feel like we have an excuse to give up on the battle altogether. We can say, “Hey, God, what do you expect me to do? I am in this war and you didn’t even provide what I needed to fight it. So what can I do but sin?”

Except that Paul says in Ephesians chapter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”

Every is a very comprehensive word, right? Paul is saying there is not a single spiritual blessing out there that you as a church do not have. So you are not just sort of supplied for this battle by God. Every single blessing that God could provide for us to fight this battle he has given us.

Now sometimes it doesn’t look like that to the world. They look at the blessings and the resources we have and they sort of mock what we have as not much. When David went out to fight Goliath, Saul just didn’t believe that trusting in the promises of God and these little weapons that David had, that they would be able to defeat that great giant Goliath. And so what did Saul do? He said, “No, this isn’t quite enough, David. You need to wear my weapons, my armor and use my weapons.” And David put that stuff on he is like, no, Saul, I don’t think this is going to work at all. I would rather just use the resources God has provided.  And sometimes in our own lives we are Saul. We are actually looking at our own lives in the battle we are facing and we are saying, “God, I think I need armor and I think I need resources that you haven’t provided.”

And what we need to do put on the helmet of salvation is we need to go back and we need to say, “No, I have been saved.” Let’s look at the salvation that God has provided. He has provided every spiritual blessing for me in Christ. I can, I do have the resources I need to live for Christ. And what are some of those resources, guys? We have the Word of God. God has spoken. We have the Church of God. God has, too, he has united us to people who will help us. We don’t only have the Word of God and the Church of God, we have the Spirit of God. God is with us. God abides in us and the Spirit of God is actively engaged in our lives opening our eyes to the Word of God, helping us put off sin. And so what we need to do if we are going to put on the helmet of salvation is in faith trust God. That is, salvation is as good as he says it is, that we do have the resources we need to fight the battle that we have been called to fight.

It’s important you believe you are as rich spiritually as the BIble says you are.  Too many of us are acting like we are beggars.  What happens when a person thinks he is a beggar is he thinks that he doesn’t have a responsibility to give, to serve, to work, I am a beggar and because a lot of Christians sort of think of themselves as beggars, the calls to serve others in need, it feels like hey how can you ask me to do that, don’t you see how little I have here, but they need to start seeing themselves the way Paul does, as people with every spiritual blessing, we are people with incredible resources.

 

An Apologetic for Orphan Care part five

19 Feb

You sometimes get the feeling when you begin to talk about adoption with some individuals that they feel like you are talking about a lightweight doctrine.  Not so!  Adoption is one of the highest and most significant privileges the gospel reveals.  In fact, J.I. Packer once said if he were asked to summarize the New Testament message in three words his proposal would be “adoption through propitiation and I do not expect to ever meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”  If you are able, we would love to have you come and explore why he says that with us on March 1 and 2nd at Together for Adoption South Africa. For now, I thought I could share a couple more biblical proofs caring for orphans is such an important part of worshiping God. 

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Do you want revival?

For a Christian, that’s a strange question.  Of course we want revival.  Desperately.  

A better question might be, is there any way we can prepare ourselves for it?

Our minds immediately run to the importance of prayer.  They should.  But a few years ago I was reading a sermon by Jonathan Edwards in which he notes another way the Bible seems to indicate we can get ourselves ready for revival.  

He makes a surprising connection between deeds of charity and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit..

“If we really want an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we must not only spend a great deal of time in the duty of prayer crying earnestly to God, but we must also abound in deeds of charity and love.”

Now, please understand it’s not that we earn revival. The price is too high to be able to purchase it. Jonathan Edwards understood grace and the sovereignty of God.

But still he noted passages like Isaiah 58.   

Israel comes to God with a problem.  They feel like they are fasting and seeking Him and He’s not showing up and they want to know what’s happening.  

God comes to the people with an answer.  He tells them the kind of fast He wants.  

“Is not this the fast that I choose to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked, to cover him and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

God connects deeds of charity with worship and what will be the result of this kind of worship according to God?

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up speedily. Your righteousness shall go before you. The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call and the Lord will answer. You shall cry and you will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noon day and the Lord will guide you continually.”

In other words, a kind of revival.  

This may be part of why we see such a passion for this in the early church. This is something the early church was passionate about. This concern for the poor, especially widows and orphans, is not only an Old Testament concept.

One of the very first things the early leaders of the church did in Acts six was what?

Establish a way to care for widows. When Paul writes a letter to Timothy explaining how to run a church, he gets very specific about this in First Timothy five, saying, “Honor widows, who are widows indeed.” He lays out a plan for exactly how the church is to go about doing that. A quick survey of the New Testament reveals that someone has written a startling level of commitment to ministries of compassion.

Tabatha was a woman whose chief occupation was helping the poor. Acts nine, Barnabas was a man of some means, who made a mark on the early Christian communities by supplying the needs of the poor out of his own bank account. Acts four, by spearheading efforts and taking up collections for famine stricken Judeans. Titus was a young disciple of Paul, who organized a collection for poor Christians in Jerusalem.

Later, he superintended relief efforts in Corinth. Paul was a man himself who is deeply committed to remembering the poor. I think a fascinating passage of Scripture is Galatians, Chapter two, where Paul describes his meeting with the leaders of the early church. You think, “What must they have talked about in this meeting? Doctrine, and they must have talked about big doctrine.”

We know, in fact, they did talk about big issues. But I picture it Paul is about to leave, he’s about to get up to go and he says, “The only thing they asked me at the end was to remember the poor.” He was about to go. “Paul, remember the poor.” What does Paul say? “That’s the very thing I was eager to do.”

The good Samaritan is the lead character in one of Christ’s best‑loved parables. When all others, who were supposedly righteous, skirted the responsibility of charity, the Samaritan took up its mantle. Christ concluded, “Go and do likewise.”

As someone has written, “These early Christian heroes fully comprehended that religion that our God and father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress. They knew that true repentance evidenced itself in sharing food and sustenance with the hungry.”  

When you trust God, when you trust God, when you are worshiping God, when you believe God is for you, you are not nearly as desperate to be for yourself.  

When you are worshiping an idol, that idol has nothing he can really give you. That idol doesn’t answer your prayers. He has nothing he can do for you, so you have to be about yourself. You can’t think about the vulnerable. You can’t think about the needy, because you have to get what you need to get and you need to fix your life just the way you like it. But when you are worshiping God and when you are coming from God and when you understand the gospel that God, the father, the creator of this universe, is entirely for you, that frees you up to be for people you never would be for normally. Because you know God was for you and you didn’t deserve that.

It’s never about being saved by showing mercy. It’s always about that the person, who has truly received God’s mercy, shows it. 

An Apologetic for Orphan Care part four

18 Feb

It is hard to believe Together for Adoption is less than two weeks away.  We are looking forward to a missions team from the United States coming at the end of this week, then a trip to Lesotho to help build a church facility and bang, the conference is here!  Please be praying that God will use this conference to encourage his people and to help fuel a movement. And oh yeah, if you haven’t registered yet, this is the week!  To motivate you, we have been working our way through James 1:27, trying to understand why James brings up the way we care for orphans a test of the reality of our religion.  Here’s yet another reason the church should be serious about orphan care.

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This is one of the chief ways we worship God, sacrificially giving to the vulnerable.

Visiting orphans in their distress is about worship. Please hear me. This is about worship. It’s about worship.

This is not simply about being Oprah, worshiping yourself. It’s instead about worshiping God.  If we don’t get that and we make this about worshiping self, we ruin it. 

There are different ways we worship God.  One way is internal…faith, love, that’s the most important. Then there’s another way we worship God, going to church and engaging in public acts of worship. Then there is still a third way we worship God, sacrificially giving to those who are in need, private acts of worship, obedient, serving others, because we love God.

Out of those three, obviously the first, faith, is most important. Of the other two, we tend to place a greater priority on public acts of worship, don’t we? But we must not forget that God also places a great emphasis on loving God through sacrificial obedient worship.  God places such a great emphasis on this that when he compares the two (public worship versus sacrificial love) in importance, he often stresses worship through sacrificial love.  I could give you proof after proof of that, but here’s just one Micah 6:6‑8. Mark it down. “With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come for him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with 10,000s of rivers of oil? He has told you, oh man, what is good, and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”

This has to do with worship. People who have been shown undeserved grace are compelled to respond, they want to make God look great and so they look for opportunities to show others undeserved grace as well.  It makes sense for James to bring up the way we relate to orphans and widows and vulnerable people, as a test of the reality of our religion, because it’s connected to our attitude towards God. It has to do with worship. The God of love loves to be worshiped by people of love. 

An Apologetic for Orphan Care part two

13 Feb

It is one day closer to our first ever Together for Adoption conference here in Pretoria, South Africa.  We are hoping God will use this conference to increase our joy in our adoption and spark a theologically driven adoption movement here in South Africa.  I began yesterday working through several reasons we are convinced that it is vitally important we as believers reach out to orphans with the love of God.  The first reason had to do with the character of God.  Here are reasons two and three:

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Second, a lack of concern for the orphan and widow is given in the scripture as a mark of wickedness.

In Isaiah one, Isaiah cries out against the wickedness of the people. Israel. God actually tells them he hates their religious activity. He says in verse 16, “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean, remove the evil of your deeds from my sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice.”

God comes to his people in Isaiah one and he says stop praying until you get something right. Would you be done? I can’t stand all this worship! This religious activity, you need to go back and you need to repent. I’ll tell you what that repentance is going to look like, Isaiah says. Here it is. “Reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” That’s how I’ll know your repentance is genuine.

An old Puritan, Nathaniel Samuelson, who was used by God to establish a network of clinics, hospitals and missions that in fact became the model for William Booth to establish the Salvation Army once said, “Sodom was crushed in divine judgment. Why, asked me? Was it due to an abomination upon abominations such as those perpetuated against the guests of Lot? That’s not the reason the scripture gives. Was it due to wickedness in commerce, craft, in governance and sloth and manufacture? That’s not the reason the scripture gives. In Ezekiel 16:49 scripture says, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom, she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”

It’s one of the main sins we find the prophets coming after the Israelites over and over again for. They are constantly rebuking them for idolatry and injustice. Injustice really reveals a kind of idolatry. As one author has written, the God of Israel “identified himself with the widow, the orphan and the stranger.  Thus, when the people of Israel turned their back on Yahweh, they also turned their backs on the poor.  Idolatry and social injustice are two sides of the same coin.”  You know the people had given themselves over to idolatry. Not that they stopped coming to the temple to sacrifice, they were busy about that, you know they had given themselves over to idolatry by their lack of concern for the needy.

On the other hand, third, concern for the needy is a mark of holiness.

Remember how Job’s friends attacked his character? One of the ways he proved his godliness was by his concern for the orphan. He says in Job 29:4, “I delivered the poor who cried for help and the orphan who had no helper.”

He goes on to say in chapter 31, “If I have kept the poor from their desire, or if I have caused the widow to fail, or if have eaten my morsel alone and have not shared it, if I have lifted my hand up against the orphan because I saw I had support in the gate, let my shoulder fall from the socket and my arm be broken off at the elbow.” In other words he says, “I deserve God’s judgment if you can look at my life and see that I didn’t care for the orphan, for the widow, for the vulnerable.”

It’s not just there. Psalm 37:21, “The righteous person is generous and gives.” Psalm 112:5 and nine, “The righteous has distributed freely. He has given to the poor. His righteousness endures forever.” Righteousness in the scripture is not just a negative thing, turning from sin. Righteousness in the scripture is also a positive thing, turning your life to the things that God is intent about. 

Even here in James 1:27, it is like we are seeing two sides to what it means to be righteous. There’s visiting the vulnerable and there’s keeping oneself unstained by the world. It’s not either visit the vulnerable or keep oneself unstained by the world.  It’s both.

If you knew someone who was caring for orphans and working with the poor during the day but spending his evenings getting drunk and going to clubs; I am guessing (hoping) you would quickly recognize there is a serious problem.

But I wonder if you knew someone who would never enter a club or get drunk or anything like that, but spent his life basically ignoring the needs of the vulnerable around him, who was not willing to sacrifice for the good of the needy if you would see the disconnect quite as quickly.

James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our Father is this:

To visit widows and orphans in their distress

and

to keep oneself unstained from the world.

It’s and, not or.  Our attitude towards the vulnerable reflects our attitude towards God. This is a good test of the reality of our religion because of what we know to be true about the character of God, because of the fact that a lack of concern for the needy is a mark of wickedness and because a concern for the needy is a characteristic of the righteous. 

An Apologetic for Orphan Care part one

12 Feb

We are excited to be able to host a Together for Adoption Conference here in South Africa on March 1 and 2nd.  It is a great deal of work putting on a conference and is requiring a great deal of faith as well, trusting that God will make His name look great through our feeble efforts.  Over the next several posts, I thought I might share some reasons why we believe the way we respond to the orphan crisis in our midst is such an important topic for us to consider. 

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If you wanted to test the reality of a person’s religious activity, I wonder what kind of question you would ask?

This is important for us to consider.  It is important for us to think about whether or not our religious activity is real is because we know both biblically and historically that there is a lot of supposed worship that is not. There is a great deal of religious activity that is both foolish and pointless.

Fortunately, we don’t have to come up with tests on our own.  The writers of Scripture were concerned about this very issue and in fact give us a number of different ways to evaluate whether or not religious activity is sincere. 

I don’t know which particular passage of Scripture your mind runs to when you think of ways the authors of scripture give us to evaluate the reality of a person’s religion. But I want to highlight one of the tests that has struck me as very significant. It’s a test that I think that has often been overlooked.

It’s found in James chapter one, verse twenty seven.

He writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”

James is writing to a group of people who are, as you know, fairly active spiritually. They for one thing are reading this letter. He describes them as hearers of the word. They enjoy listening to God’s word. He tells us that they thought of themselves as fairly religious. Some in fact, had a desire to be teachers. They even seemed to think of themselves as fairly wise and understanding. But in spite of all of that it seems pretty clear as you read throughout James that he has some concern that their religious activity, their religion, at least for some of them, it’s not the real thing.

He says in verse 16 of chapter 1, “Do not be deceived my brothers.” He says in verse 22, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves.” He speaks of someone deceiving his own heart in verse 26. In chapter two verses 14‑16 he speaks of a dead faith, a faith that does not in fact save. In chapter three, in verses 13 and 14 he speaks of a wisdom that comes from the Devil, demonic wisdom. He speaks of boasting and being false to the truth, thinking that you’re wise when in fact you’re not, which is why one of the main things James does in this letter is give us tests.

“You say you have faith?”

It is as if James comes to us and says, “Let’s look at that faith more closely to see if your faith is in fact genuine.”

And here in verses 26 and 27 of chapter one, he’s giving a series of these tests to help us evaluate the reality of our religious activity.

Is it the real thing?

He speaks about the way we rule over our tongue. That’s one of the tests.

He speaks about our relationship to the world. That’s another test.

And he speaks about our response to the hurting around us. Our response to the hurting around us is one of the ways James test the reality of our religion. And this test is important to James.

We know it is important because of the way James frames this statement. 

Religion that is pure and undefiled before or, you might say, in the sight of God, is this. Pure meaning clean in the Old Testament sense of the word. Undefiled meaning something similar to holy.  It is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction. Visit meaning something much more than simply showing up and saying hello. The word, one Greek dictionary defines it like this, “It is to take care of, to seek out someone, to tend. This term is frequently used for nursing the sick.” That’s why the New International Version translates it to look after.  One author writes, “It never implies merely to visit in the usual sense, but instead it is always to be concerned about with a sense of responsibility for others.” Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the father is this, to visit orphans and widows. We know what they are, orphans and widows. But the fact is, they may represent a class, and they often do throughout scripture, a class of the most vulnerable in society, those who are in a position where they have a very difficult time taking care of themselves.

We might summarize what James is saying like this, “Religious activity that God himself looks at as pleasing is taking care of hurting orphans and widows and the vulnerable when they are in trouble, showing radical sacrificial mercy to those who need it most.”

This is a big thing to say, isn’t it? I mean step back. This is God speaking on religion.

This is God the Father, the one we come to worship, and He is giving a test, a way to evaluate the reality of our religion, and He looks at the way we respond to the hurting around us!

And it got me searching around in my Bible, to figure out why James put so much weight on this. Why James can say it like this. Why does James put so much weight on the way we reach out to widows, to orphans, and other vulnerable people in our world? Why does he put such an emphasis on mercy? Why is this a test of the reality of our religion?

What I want to do is give you a number of reasons, James’ definition, of pure and undefiled religion begins with the way we relate to orphans and widows and the needy.

This is not the only test in James, but I want you to think about why it’s an important test because we tend to minimize it. I want to help you think about the Biblical evidence that this is a serious issue to God. Mercy is a serious issue, mercy to the vulnerable. I want you to go away examining your life as to whether or not you truly are a person whose life is characterized by mercy to the hurting, because of what the Bible says.  

I’ll start with the simple and obvious, why this is such an important test of the reality of our religious activity. The first reason has to do with the character of God. The first reason we know this is a good test, we find in James, and an important one of the reality of our religion. It’s because of what we know to be true about God. That’s where we start.

If we’re religious, we’re saying that we are concerned about God. That we’re concerned about what He’s concerned about. When we look to the Scripture, we see that we serve a God who is concerned about mercy, and specifically about orphans and widows, you know this. In Psalm 10:14, God actually describes himself as a helper of the orphan.

This is one of the titles He gives to himself. In Psalm 68:5, He describes himself as a father to the fatherless. Again in Psalm 146:9, he says, “The Lord watches over the refugee. He upholds the widow and the fatherless.” In Isaiah 25:4 Isaiah says, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress.”

I begin with the character of God, stressing that the reason this is important has to do with the character of God because I’ve found as we talk about these kinds of things, sometimes people think of care for orphans, and then more broadly compassion, as just like a personality trait. You’re just, like, into this. Some people are, some people aren’t. While it’s true that someone may be more gifted, obviously, when it comes to showing mercy, and personality may affect that we show mercy, this is not so much about personality.

Please hear that. It is about having a God‑centered way of looking at the world. We need to be interested in what God is interested in. God is definitely interested in mercy. When I look to the scriptures I find that God is very interested in the good of orphans, the good of widows, the good of vulnerable people.

Whether or not I’m interested in it, that’s not the end of the story, is it? What matters to me is that at the end of my life, I’m interested in what God is interested in. If I’m not interested in what God’s interested in, the problem’s not with God, the problem’s with me, and I need to repent.

This is a good test of the reality of our religion because those of us who say that God is the center of our world need to prove that to be true, not just with words but by actually caring about what God cares about and one of the things the Scripture’s clear about is that God cares about orphans, widows, and the vulnerable.

Adopted into God’s Family

21 Apr

I have been working through Trevor Burke’s, Adopted into God’s Family.  In a previous post I summarized chapter one.  I thought here I could just share some of my favorite quotes from chapter two. 

“…on statistical grounds, not to mention the sheer range of vocabulary the apostle employs, the family is not only one of the most important metaphors but is also the most pervasive he uses to describe his communities.”  p.36

Quoting Robert Banks, he writes “More than any other image utilized by Paul, it  [family] reveals the essence of his thinking about community.” p.36

Quoting John Murray, “Adoption, as the term clearly implies, is an act of transfer from an alien family into the family of God.” p.42

“The point Paul does not want his readers to miss is that when one is adopted into the family of God, it is uniquely and exclusively through Jesus Christ and at infinite cost to him.”  p.42

“Paul wishes to stress that our adoption as sons is not an end in itself; rather, God the Father has a goal in view for his adopted sons and there is also an obligation upon the latter to honor the former by seeking to live in such a way as to attain that goal.” p.43