This Day in Presbyterian History:
Adopted into God’s Forever Family
The Christian woman was relating the sad story of her abandonment by both parents at an early time in her life. Thank God, she had said, for a godly grandmother, who reared her through the years until adulthood. Then she was reminded to thank God for a heavenly Father who had adopted her into the forever family of God when she confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. And all of us who have been recipients of God’s free grace can rejoice in this wondrous truth.
With Presbyterian themes scarce on this 9th day of June, we turn our attention to the magnificent words of Shorter Catechism No. 34, “Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.”
Adoption, like that of justification, is a gracious act of God. On his side, it is completed at once, indeed, before the foundation of the world. On our part, we are called into the ordained number of sons and daughters of the Almighty when we repent and believe the gospel. Then we have a right to all the privileges of being children of God.
Those privileges are from two directions. God discharges for us, first, the duties of a Father in that God pronounces us to be His children. John the apostle wrote of this wonder when in 1 John 3:1, he said, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God, and such we are.” (NASB) We have been called children of God, sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, as 2 Corinthians 6:18 declares. Second, He pities us. The psalmist said in Psalm 103:13, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on his children.” (NASB) Where would we be without a compassionate heavenly Father. Next, our God protects us. How often have we prayed when we are going on a trip, or passing through a dangerous time in our lives, or been ill to the point of death. Yet, we feel His presence, recognizing that His angels are sent to those who have inherited eternal life (See Hebrews 1:14) Fourth, He provides for us, body and soul. Whether it is the fulfillment of the daily bread or the precious promises relating to our spirit, God is the Author of them all. And last, when we need it, He paternally chastens us, for our good. It is too long to quote here, but Hebrews 12:5 – 11 points this out clearly.
The other direction of these adoptive privileges is that we are enabled by God to fulfill the duties of children. We have the spirit of adoption placed within us by the Holy Spirit, just as the Christian woman did in the above illustration. As such, at any time, in any place, we have the confidence to draw near to the Heavenly Father, as Hebrews 4:16 states.
We are God’s children, adopted into His heavenly family.
Words to Live By: As sons and daughters of God, let us conduct ourselves in accordance with that high position, “above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom (we) appear as light in the world.” (NASB – Philippians 2:16)
Through the Scriptures: Proverbs 29 – 31
Through the Standards: Duty to God is obedience to His revealed will
WLC 91 and WSC 39, which is the same.
“What is the duty which God requires of man?
A. The duty which God requires of man, is obedience to his revealed will.”