Plainer Words Since 1968
January 23, 2013
PLAINER WORDS ONLINE … THE ADOPTION
Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians and to the saints in Christ Jesus, everywhere, makes known the superlative Truths concerning the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head. We learn that this “high” and “holy” Calling has been blessed with “all spiritual blessings” among heaven’s authorities “in Christ.”
We learn that the One Body was chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” These features are unique to the Calling made known in Ephesians, as well as, Colossians. No other calling can hope for such glory. Many Christians confuse this Truth with the Pentecostal Dispensation; thereby, dimming the “hope of glory.”
However, the Church of this Calling, which is to say, the Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:22-23) does share with other Companies of redeemed, the blessedness of “adoption.”
“Having predestinated us unto THE ADOPTION of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:5).
The calling of Israel received an adoption. In Romans 9:3-4, we read, “…for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption…” This adoption took place in Egypt and was made known in Exodus 4:22.
The calling of the Church of God (Acts 2 to 28) also experienced an adoption. Galatians 4 says that Christ came “to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (V. 5). The adoption found in Galatians 4 is to be compared with the one in Romans 8:15, for the two refer to the same transaction.
Now, we learn that members of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head were not only “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world” but were, also, “predestinated unto the adoption.” The three redeemed groups who were objects of His Adoption were:
Israel—the Wilderness Church
The Church of God
The Church, which is His Body
The primary definition of the English word, “adopt,” is: “To take a stranger into one’s family, as a son and heir; to take one who is not a child, and treat him as one, giving him a title to the privileges and rights of a child.” The idea being that we who were, by natural birth, children of Adam have now received “the adoption” and have been taken into the Family of God and are treated by Him as His natural children.
“The adoption of children” is a perfectly good translation. Some believe Ephesians 1:5 should be, “the adoptions of sons.” It should be noticed that the word, “children,” does not mean “not of age,” nor does it mean “youngsters” or “toddlers.” Many are quick to point out “mistakes of the Bible by revealing that the Greek word denotes “sons” and not “children.” I can say the following in defense of the translators who rendered “huiothesia” as “children” when the meaning is, “the placing as a son” according to Vines, Thayer, and Strong.
The word, “children,” is the plural of “child” and, primarily, means: “a son or daughter; a male or female descendant in the first degree; the immediate progeny of parents … In strictness, a child is the shoot, issue, or produce of the parents, and a person of any age, in respect to parents, …”
In the Bible, it can denote an infant; “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called JESUS …” (Luke 2:21).
It, also, signifies a person of more advanced years. Jephthah’s daughter was “his only child” (Judges 11:34).
Since members of the Ekkelsia, which is his Body are said to have received the adoption, God reckons them as His shoot, issue, or produce in the first degree. We, the particular members, are counted as “the immediate progeny of the Father with the rights and privileges as a son and heir.
Our concern, as students of the Word, is not why the translators chose the word, “children,” instead of “sons” in Ephesians 1:5. But rather, what is the meaning we should glean from the fact that we have received “the adoption of children?” By comparing Scripture with Scripture, we learn that with the adoption comes the privilege of sonship. In Exodus 4:22, we note that Israel’s adoption is mentioned when the LORD told Moses to say to Pharaoh, “Israel is my son.” Compare Romans 9:4, and we learn from the AKJV that adoption pertains to “sonship.” Adoption carries with it the further idea of not just being a son, but being “the firstborn.”
“And thou [Moses] shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even My firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let My son go, that he may serve Me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn” (Exodus 4:22-23).
The privilege and birthright of the firstborn son in pages of Holy Writ are well known to the student. This should teach us that the word, “children,” in Ephesians 1:5 carries with it the fact that having received the adoption, we enter into the Family of God with the privileges and birthright of firstborn sons. This is the entitlement of “the adopted ones” to an inheritance when the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God becomes manifest.
“In Whom [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:” (Ephesians 1:11).
The reality of “Adoption” will become realized with our resurrection or change. In Romans 8, with reference to the Acts Period Government of God:
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:22-23).
In Ephesians 1:13-14, we read, “…ye are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance UNTIL THE REDEMPTION OF THE PURCHASED POSSESSION …” This redemption refers to members of the “Ekklesia,” of the One Body; whereas, Romans 8:23 refers to the Church of God (Acts 2 to Acts 28).
We repeat our self in order to emphasize the foundational principles of our Calling—we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, and predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself. Our adoption relates to becoming an heir of God with the rights and privileges of firstborn sons. The sonship is to be realized when Christ Jesus “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned unto His Body of Glory” (Phil.3:21). This will be the culmination of our Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13). We will assume our specific stations of duty and embark upon the serious business as Officials who are to TCHB—Take Care of His Business.
Redeemed Israel will enjoy the firstborn rights in resurrection in Palestine, and the Church of God will be ushered in as rulers in the Pre-Millennial Government of Israel. So shall the Church, over which Christ is the Head, administer the affairs of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Universal Government.
Thus, Adoption entails the following features:
Making a stranger a family member
Giving him the honor of the Firstborn—the Heir
The actual realization is in resurrection or change
It relates to a place of Citizenship
We have often heard Christians discuss, “How are Christians placed into the Body?” (I understood they were talking about the Body over which Christ is the Head). Some have answered, “By water baptism.” Others would say, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” I would think most of our readers would recognize that both answers are wrong.
Only those who were predestinated to receive “the Adoption” are membered into the Church, which is His Body. Adoption is the means by which the Father places one who is not His offspring into His family and bestows upon him the rights of a firstborn son. This is the action by which God places His chosen ones into His Body as Firstborn ones—the Body over which Christ Jesus is the Head. Wouldn’t you think those who have received the Adoption would know it?
The fact that we were predestinated to receive the Adoption was, “according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph.1:5). We are additionally illuminated that our Calling is the only one that is to be …“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
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From Plainer Words
Posted in: 2013
By Tom M. Ballinger
Jan 23, 2013 - 3:42:35 PM
Jan 23, 2013 - 3:42:35 PM
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