Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adoption: The Plan From Before "The Beginning"

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9,10 NIV)

From before the beginning of time, God had a plan of redemption in His mind. Part of that plan was to adopt a people that would see Him in all of His fullness and praise Him for the glory of His grace forever and ever. The plan of the Cross came before the world was ever created so that the power of the glory of His grace shown most fully in the Cross would be enjoyed by believers through the act of spiritual adoption would be the focal point from all of human history. There is a road that sutbly but surely leads to this true.

Revelation 13:8 lays out this plan quite sutbly but is monumental in understand the purposes o God.

"All who dwell on the earth will worship Him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." (NASB)

God had a plan that even "from the foundation of the world" there was a book "of the Lamb who has been slain".

2 Timothy 1:8-10 refines this even more.

"So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

God called us "not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace" and it even says that "this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time."

Even in heaven, the Cross will be the center of our worship.

6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song:
"You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.

10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth." (Rev. 5 NIV)

The book of Ephesians lays out the spiritual identity of believers and the first thing it mentions after the introduction is adoption. This passage is the meat of this plan God has always had in His mind.

"3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." (Eph. 1 NIV)

The fact that God had planned to adopt us totally apart from any scheme of man raises all kinds of questions in the mind of anyone who has ever wrestled with this. Questions such as: Wasn't it Adam's fault that sin came into the world and because of that we needed Christ? If God planned to come and die for our sins doesn't that make Him partly responsible for sin? Did God bring evil into the world?

The list of questions about how this works and the implications surrounding it are endless and there is even a section in Romans where Paul addresses a statement/problem people would probably come forth with regarding issues surrounding this. While some of the questions surrounding the purpose of God planning to adopt a people do lead us into a deeper understanding of who God is, nearly all the questions surrounding it lead us deeper into mystery.

We cannot fully understand the ways of God for if we could, then we would be God.

"My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore." (Psalm 130)

While we do not fully grasp how God has moved to bring about adoption, the Bible teaches that He has. Not only has He planned that the Cross and adoption take place, He has in some way done all of this without sinning or being the Author of evil. It is my prayer and prayer of Paul that you may cherish and value who Christ is and praise Him for His glorious grace that you have found in Christ through the act of adoption. May you know God more with each moment that passes and in knowing Him, may we realize how much we don't know and begin to be filled with awe for how marvelous and mysterious the God we know is. We will be marveling at Him with all of creation forever for the most horrific event in history, the Cross.

15"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Eph. 1 NIV)

No comments:

Post a Comment