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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Ephesians 1:4-6 According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

Adoption is the process by which a person is taken into a family and granted the legal status equal to that of one's natural-born children, including the same legally required provisions, guardianship, and inheritance benefits. In the Old Testament, several instances are mentions indicating physical adoption took place. Exodus 2:10 suggests that Moses was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter; Esther, an orphan, seems to have been adopted by Mordecai, her cousin, according to Esther 2:7 and 15; and in 1 Kings 11:20, Tahpenes, the Queen of Egypt, appears to have adopted Genubath, the son of her sister and brother-in-law, Hadad. Adoption is mentioned in the New Testament, only in a spiritual sense, and is found only in the writings of the apostle Paul. He uses adoption to demonstrate the Christian's relationship with God as His children. It is found in the subject text as well as Galatians 4:5 and in Romans 8:15, 23, and 9:4.

We know, from the lesson text, that Paul considers himself and those to whom he was writing, the Christian saints which are at Ephesus (Eph. 1:1), to be God's adopted children by referring to them as "us". The latter part of this verse says that God's adopted children also include the faithful in Christ Jesus. Since it is probable that this epistle was circulated among other churches in Asia Minor, Paul wanted them to know that they too, were included in this adoptive relationship with God. And, by inference, all Christians thereafter, as well as those today, are privileged to be God's adopted children. Notice what Paul told the Christians at Rome, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together (Rom. 8:15-17).

Here Paul contrasts the relationship of a bondservant to that of an adopted child. Although some servants and masters developed a strong, trusting, even tender relationships, most did not. More common were servants found to be in a constant state of anxiety and fear. An adopted child comes into a family and is given the same affection and love normally given to their own children, and generally responds with the filial devotion a son or daughter normally gives in return to a loving parent. It is this same adoptive relationship that exists between Christians and God. Prior to adoption, all are children of the world having no right to God's guidance, protection, or blessings - having no right to address God as Abba, Father.

What a wonderful spiritual relationship is described in these verses. Christ is the Son of God. He is the heir of God's kingdom, both in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). By adoption, Christians become God's children. As such, they become brothers and sisters of Jesus, and, therefore considered to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Consider what Paul wrote to the Christians in the churches of Galatia; ...for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal. 3:28b-29). And what was God's promise to Abraham? And in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen. 22:18). Reading Matthew 1:1-16, we find the Seed of Abraham that became the blessing to all nations. There is recorded the complete listing of the generations of Abraham that culminate with the birth of Jesus, who is called Christ (Vs. 16).

Although there are many blessings that are available to adopted children of God, the greatest is eternal salvation in heaven. James 2:5 tells us, ...Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him? Before the foundation of the world, God chose His adopted children to inherit the kingdom of heaven. He provided His Son, Jesus Christ, as the only way one can be adopted, which can only be accomplished by being baptized into His body, the church. This is the only process by which we can become an heir of salvation and a joint heir with Christ. Become a Christian today - Jesus will be your brother and God will be your Father!