Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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True Sons of God
We shall be like Him.
1Jn:3:2. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
Whoever has this hope purifies himself.
1Jn:3:3: And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Knowing what we are to become, helps us to keep our focus. You see, we need to know that we are not just going to just get to go to Heaven someday, praise God we are if we are in Christ Jesus, however we are called to be joint heirs with Christ, and that is an eternal calling.
We have been called to be like Him from before the foundation of the world.
Mt:25:34: Then the King will say to those on His right hand, `Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Eph:1:4-5. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
1Pt:1:20: He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
John 1:12- 13. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
We should be called God’s children.
1 John 3:1. Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Rom:8:15: For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father.
A.) the meaning of adoption in the days of the ancient Roman Empire, meant more than to just be taken in. Referencing Barclays daily Bible study gives much depth of understanding to the ancient Roman adoption process.
" we must understand how serious and complicated a step Roman adoption was that we really under stand the depth of meaning in this passage. Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman patria potestas. This was the father's power over his family; it was the power of absolute disposal and control, and in the early days was actually the power of life and death. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, he was still under the patria potestas, in the absolute possession and under the absolute control, of his father. Obviously this made adoption into another family a very difficult and serious step. In adoption a person had to pass from one patria potestas to another.
There were two steps. The first was known as mancipatio, and was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; but the third time he did not buy him back and thus the patria potestas was held to be broken. There followed a ceremony called vindicatio. The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his patria potestas. When all this was completed, the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and an impressive step.
But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul's mind. There were four main ones. (i) The adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father. (ii) It followed that he became heir to his new father's estate. Even if other sons were afterwards born, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them. (iii) In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out; for instance, all debts were cancelled. He was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do. (iv) In the eyes of the law he was absolutely the son of his new father. Roman history provides an outstanding case of how completely this was held to be true. The Emperor Claudius adopted Nero in order that he might succeed him on the throne; they were not in any sense blood relations. Claudius already had a daughter, Octavia.
To cement the alliance Nero wished to marry her. Nero and Octavia were in no sense blood relations; yet, in the eyes of the law, they were brother and sister; and before they could marry, the Roman senate had to pass special legislation.
That is what Paul is thinking of. He uses still another picture from Roman adoption. He says that God's spirit witnesses with our spirit that we really are his children. The adoption ceremony was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses. Now, suppose the adopting father died and there was some dispute about the right of the adopted son to inherit, one or more of the seven witnesses stepped forward and swore that the adoption was genuine. Thus the right of the adopted person was guaranteed and he entered into his inheritance. So, Paul is saying, it is the Holy Spirit himself who is the witness to our adoption into the family of God. It was Paul's picture that when a man became a Christian he entered into the very family of God. He did nothing to deserve it; God, the great Father, in his amazing love and mercy, has taken the lost, helpless, poverty-stricken, debt-laden sinner and adopted him into his own family, so that the debts are cancelled and the glory inherited " Amen to that!!
Galatians 4:1-7. Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!'' Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Barclay’s further illuminates this. --- " In the ancient world the process of growing up was much more definite than it is with us.
(i) In the Jewish world, on the first Sabbath after a boy had passed his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became A Son of the Law. The father thereupon uttered a benediction, "Blessed be thou, O God, who has taken from me the responsibility for this boy." The boy prayed a prayer in which he said, "O my God and God of my fathers! On this solemn and sacred day, which marks my passage from boyhood to manhood, I humbly raise my eyes unto thee, and declare with sincerity and truth, that henceforth I will keep thy commandments, and undertake and bear the responsibility of mine actions towards thee." There was a clear dividing line in the boy's life; almost overnight he became a man.
(ii) In Greece a boy was under his father's care from seven until he was eighteen. He then became what was called an ephebos, which may be translated "cadet," and for two years he was under the direction of the state. The Athenians were divided into ten phratriai, or clans. Before a lad became an ephebos, at a festival called the Apatouria, he was received into the clan; and at a ceremonial act his long hair was cut off and offered to the gods. Once again, growing up was quite a definite process.
(iii) Under Roman law the year at which a boy grew up was not definitely fixed, but it was always between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. At a sacred festival in the family called the Liberalia he took off the toga praetexta, which was a toga with a narrow purple band at the foot of it and put on the toga virilis, which was a plain toga which adults wore. He was then conducted by his friends and relations down to the forum and formally introduced to public life. It was essentially a religious ceremony. And once again there was a quite definite day on which the lad attained manhood. There was a Roman custom that on the day a boy or girl grew up, the boy offered his ball, and the girl her doll, to Apollo to show that they had put away childish things. When a boy was an infant in the eyes of the law, he might be the owner of a vast property but he could take no legal decision; he was not in control of his own life; everything was done and directed for him; and, therefore, for all practical purposes he had no more freedom than if he were a slave; but when he became a man he entered into his full inheritance."
I believe we have been given the first fruits of the adoption process, God has called us to grow up to full adult hood and partake of everything His Word has given us.
Rom:8:23: And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Rom:9:4: who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;
We are born into God's family but we must walk in obedience to walk in our full inheritance as sons. God's Word tells us that if we suffer with Him, we will be glorified together with Him. We know that Jesus is not presently suffering, but is seated at the right hand of God. This is talking about our walk of faith on the Earth at this present time.
James 1:2-4. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Yes, it takes a little bit of patience, but the rewards are great so don’t back down, make your stand on God’s Word, and as James said, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
2Tm: 3:11: Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
Rom:8:17-25: and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. I consider the sufferings of the present time not worth comparing with the future glory which will be revealed to us. Creation waits eagerly for the time when the sons of God will be revealed. Creation was tied to worthlessness. That was not what it wanted, but God wanted it that way. So, He bound it. However, there is hope! Creation itself will be set free from the slavery of decay into the glorious freedom of God's children. We know, even now, that all creation is groaning with pain. It feels pain, like a woman who will soon give birth. Not only that, but we, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan with pain also. We are waiting to become true sons -- when our bodies will be set free! We were saved with this hope. A hope which is seen is not hope. Who hopes for something he can see? But, since we are hoping for something we cannot yet see, we patiently wait for it.
1 Corinthians 12:25-27. that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.
Given power to become sons.
Jn:1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
You notice it did not say - as many as received him, to them He made the sons of God, but that He gave the power to become sons. I want to emphasize this does not mean we are not His children, He gave us the right to walk in His power, to the fulfillment of His inheritance, to fulfill the calling that was there before the worlds were formed, as true sons who have come of age.
An inheritance incorruptible.
1Pt:1:4-5: to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Eph:1:11: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
The sons of God are led by His Spirit.
Rom:8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Heb:11:8: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Hope makes not ashamed.
Rom:5:5: Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Loving one another is the sign of God’s life in us.
1Jn. 3:11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
14. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.
1 John 5:4. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world our faith.
I've believe that the adoption process starts here and now. Full son-ship,
(our full inheritance, and all that that implies) will come later. I believe we have a purpose here on the Earth, not just to exist, but to fulfill the calling God has placed on our lives.
I believe this is our proving ground for the things to come. I believe God’s Word is proving us for a reason. Many Christians say, just let me get by and I’ll be happy to get a little cabin over in the corner of glory Land. I’ve heard people say things like this, thinking that they were being humble. No, I believe this is selfish, religious hogwash, (whatever that means) and truly false humility. We have been called to more than that. We have been called to be sons of God. Glory!!! The Bible tells us we are sojourners here. In other words, we are just passing through. I believe that our faith is being perfected here, there is a reason for the things we go through. The Word of God tells us –
1 Peter 1:7. so that the worth of your faith, more valuable than gold, which is perishable even if it has been tested by fire, may be proved, to your praise and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Peter is saying by the Holy Spirit that the trials or testing of our faith is precious to God and the end results will last, may result in your, (or we could say our) praise and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.
God always has a purpose for things, not that He is the author of these things, but that He allows them so that we will have an end result that will be to our benefit when Jesus comes again. He always looks out for us and wants us to find His perfect will for our lives so we can be blessed. Our faith is being perfected for a purpose. We are being proven for a purpose. We have been predestined to be sons of God.
Eph:1:4-5. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that (or so) we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
Ephesians 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
1 John 3:2. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
I hope these Scriptures take on some new meaning now. Glory to God. Amen
If you want to know for sure that you are a child of God, then earnestly pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord! I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God! Glory to God!!!! Amen.