by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 10 October 2, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
(346)Thesis:The Spirit of Adoption has been given so that we may legitimately expect "adoption" when this mortal puts on immortality.
Introduction:Last week we attempted to set the stage for our understanding of the provision of God for our growth in true "image-bearing". That provision is, according to Romans 8:15, the "Spirit of Adoption". But that text has an antithetical "spirit" which is referred to as the "spirit of slavery". I felt that it was necessary for us to consider this antithetical spirit before we looked into God's provision for us because we often understand more clearly when we have a contrast with which to work. The "spirit of bondage" boils down to one issue: the compulsion of fear. Since God has clearly declared that the criteria of Life is a genuineLove that is pursued by a legitimateFaith, there is no place atall for any behavior, good, bad, or indifferent, that is driven by anything else. Therefore, there has to be some kind of provision by God for the production of rewardable behavior; something that will produce both the proper Motivation and a legitimate Process. According to Paul that "something" is the "Spirit of Adoption". Therefore, this evening we are going to look into who this Spirit of Adoption is and what He does.
I. The Spirit of Adoption.
A. Clearly, the Spirit of Adoption is the third Person of the Trinity.
1. In Romans 8 alone, there are 14 references to the Holy Spirit (out of 28 total uses of the word "spirit" in Romans, some of which refer to the human spirit).
2. In Romans 8 alone, He is described variously...
a. The Spirit of Life.
b. The Spirit of God.
c. The Spirit of Christ.
d. The Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead.
e. The Spirit that dwells in you.
f. The Spirit of Adoption.
B. His connection to "Adoption" is crucial.
1. The biblical meaning of "adoption".
a. In our current culture, "adoption" is the act of making a non-descendent a legal child of a family.
b. In the ancient cultures, "adoption" often had this meaning and was particularly invested with the idea of creating an heir.
c. But the biblical concept of "adoption" does not have this notion attached to it.
1) Biblically, no one becomes an heir of God without being born by the Spirit into the family of God (there are no "adoptees" in our cultural sense of that term).
2) Also, the essential meaning of "adoption" in Paul's theology (no other writer in the New Testament uses the term) is explained in Galatians 4.
a) In this text, the issue of "adoption" has nothing to do with physical generation; its literal sense of "son-placement" takes over.
b) In this text, the issue of "adoption" has everything to do with the distinction that exists between "children" and "sons".
i. This distinction is this: children are too immature to be trusted with the serious business of handling the affairs of the Father's house, but sons have those affairs turned over to them.
ii. The solution to this distinction is "tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father" (in other words, child-trainers who work the childishness out and the maturity of sons in).
2. The Spirit's connection to "adoption" is one primary issue.
a. According to Galatians 4:1-3, "children" are "under bondage" (i.e., they are forced by fear to behave in certain ways).
b. But according to Galatians 4:4-6, the purpose of redemption was to remove the bondage by imparting the "Abba" Spirit.
c. This means that God has produced a Substitute for the "tutors and governors" so that their work can be done without the bondage.
1) There is yet the "problem" of serious immaturity even in the children of God.
2) There is a completely different method of dealing with it.
C. The timing of the "adoption" is also crucial.
1. According to 8:23, the "adoption" occurs at the time of the redemption of the body (as Galatians 4:2 said, "the time appointed of the father").
a. This is the "time" of resurrection.
b. This means that our actual "adoption" (placement as son-heirs with administrative responsibilities over the Father's house) will not occur until our resurrection.
2. The Spirit is, therefore, called the "Spirit of Adoption" because He is at work in us in this world to prepare us for the day when the Father is going to "place us as sons" in His Household.
II. The "Abba" Cry.
A. The entire issue of the cry "Abba" is the issue of "willing cooperation" by the child with the Father for the purpose of being prepared for "inheritance responsibilities".
1. "Abba" means that the child wants "Daddy" as a presence, provider, guide, and overseer.
2. The child in an "Abba" mode is without rebellion, and "Abba" is without coercion: there is no fear and love is dominant.
B. The Spirit produces this "Abba" issue and, by so doing, makes growth to maturity real.
III. The Point.
A. God has a massive Kingdom Plan.
B. The Plan involves people at every imaginable level of "kingdom responsibility".
C. There is a connection between the experience of Life and the execution of kingdom responsibility.
D. There is also a connection between the "execution" of the "deeds of the body" and the "execution" of kingdom responsibility.