Tonight I’d like to approach the subject of Spiritual Adoption. Let me say before I begin that the biblical principle of spiritual adoption is a deep topic that has many different perspectives. By no means do I want to discredit any minister.
For myself, I tend to be rather individualistic— I like to avoid other ministers thoughts when it comes to sounding out the deep things of God’s Word. I try to prove everything by the Scripture and line up my conclusions with the Message of the Hour. One thing is certain. None of us can honestly claim to know the full scope of God’s plan. Like so many things in the Word, adoption has many aspects to it.
But, seeing as God has given me the oversight of my flock, and that we are in a season of great spiritual trial, I believe every Christian must develop a clear understanding of his or her place in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. To that end, I want to devote the next few podcasts to a close study on Adoption.
Each episode will not be long. I’m cutting them short so you can pause the recording, take your Bible out, and study. Write out any questions you may have and I’ll address them in church the first weekend in December, Lord willing.
First, what is adoption?
Spiritually, adoption means the placing of a son of God. It is a moment where God confers trust and power upon His children, giving them an authority that is equal to His own in that specific calling. Now, this is hard for a lot of western churches to accept so let’s dig back into the scripture (our absolute).
In the Garden of Eden, God gave His original seed children (Adam and Eve) an authority on Earth that was equal to His own in heaven. Genesis 1:28 reads,
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”Genesis 1:28NIV
Just as the Father ruled over heaven and earth, He now had given dominion to His children. This was His original purpose. This is still His original purpose. Adam ruled with love over God’s creation, taking care of the planet and keeping it in perfect order.
I want you to notice that God gave this responsibility to His children after He recognized them as being in HIs image (Gen. 1:27). He could only trust them with such power after He recognized them as looking like Himself and knew that they would think like Him and remain true to His Word. Now Adam was not an adopted son—he was a created son—but I want to lay a basis here by showing you what God’s plan is for His family.
This is a good spot to pause for a few minutes, go through the Word, and make sure you get what I’m saying. When you’re ready, pick back up here.
Alright, so now that we’ve established what God’s plan was, we realize that the Bible says He never changes (Malachi 3:6a). So He still wants to trust His children with responsibility. Paul expresses this clearly when he writes the following:
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”
I encourage you to read the whole chapter as you study. Now, Paul shows us that although sin separated us from God, through Christ we are redeemed so that we can receive this placing (or adoption) of sons. This doesn’t mean that you are now coming into the family of God. As Paul said, because we are (already) sons, God gave us the Holy Spirit. We were already children of God, even when we were in sin. But God couldn’t recognize us as His children because we weren’t in His own image or likeness. We were in the image of sin, tarnished by evil…but we were still children of God.
Our second birth is simply a recognition that we are sons of God. Then our lives start to conform to God’s Word and we grow in the image of Jesus Christ (Romans 121-2). Now, when God looks at you, He can see His own image and likeness.
Sound familiar? I hope so. In other words, God can trust us with authority as He did Adam because we have grown into His image and likeness.
When is a child of God adopted?
This might be the most thorny part of my talk on adoption. Let me start off by quoting Ephesians.
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.Ephesians 1:5-6
Some put adoption off to a future time. There is a truth to that as we’ll discuss next week. But the adoption as a whole is not in the future. Part of it is to be fulfilled right now. The Scripture declares we are the sons of God right now (1 John 3:2) and are adopted, or placed into the Body of God after being filled with the Holy Ghost.
Your adoption is not your birth. Your adoption is your placing. When you were born again, I believe, when we are born of the Spirit of God, we are sons of God. But we were predestinated. Now here’s what I’m trying to get you to, for this sons of the last day, you see. To…See? We were predestinated to (unto) adoption.60-0518 – Adoption #2 Rev. William Marrion Branham
The New Birth is not the adoption. As I said before, we’re born of the Spirit of God when we recognize our status as sons of God by divine revelation. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us and fills us with His power, and we are totally regenerated. However, God watches our life after that New Birth to see if we can be trusted with a position of authority or service. That is what the Holy Ghost came to do—to set us into service within the Body.
Now, you’re a Christian when you accept Jesus. And when the Blood of Jesus Christ was applied to you, your sins are (your habits and filth of this world that you wallowed in), is gone from you. Smoking, drinking, gambling: all these unclean habits leave you by sanctification. And then the Holy Spirit comes in, and anoints you, and puts you in service, to do something for Him. 54-0516 – Questions And Answers (Law Having A Shadow) Rev. William Marrion Branham
For example, Christ’s spiritual body is filled with all kinds of gifts and callings. Paul referenced this (1 Corinthians 12). God’s purpose is to give us all a part, a responsibility, within this great body. It is not all tongues—some are apostles, housewives, prophesiers, pastors etc. Our adoption comes when God places us into the role that He has called us to within the body.
Now, I know that might go against the grain a little but pause this podcast and search it through the Scripture. When was Joshua adopted? It wasn’t in Egypt nor in the wilderness journey. It was just after he entered the Promised Land.
You say, Joshua? Adopted?
Didn’t God recognize his word? God honored Joshua’s word as an earthly angel to save Rahab the prostitute. Because Joshua said that Rahab would be spared, God shook down the entire city but spared Rahab’s apartment. Because Joshua said “Sun, stand still!” God from heaven halted the entire process of nature. Was this at the end of his life?
Was it when he began his service to God’s earthly body called Israel?
After forty years of testing in the wilderness, God made Joshua’s word as good as His own in the role as leader of the army of the Lord, the Church, the Body of the Lord.
What is the Body of Christ? Some are apostles, some are prophets, some are teachers, some are evangelists, and some are pastors. Is that right? We’re called to. Others has gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongue, wisdom, knowledge, miracles, working of miracles, all these different gifts.60-0518 – Adoption #2 Rev. William Marrion Branham
Let’s fast-forward to the Lord Jesus, the Head of this great Body. Jesus was really a begotten Son, for He was born in the womb of a woman as we are. Adam was a created son, Jesus was begotten, and we are adopted. But I want you to realize that regardless of how we came to earth, we all have the same opportunity, the same status before God as we show our faithfulness to Him and to His Word.
When was Christ adopted?
On Mount Transfiguration, God placed all authority in Christ’s hands (Matthew 17:1-8). He was born the Son of God. He had preached the Gospel and done miracles. God had already publicly declared that He was His Son. But now Christ was about to serve the Body and culminate His ministry by dying and rising again on the Third Day.
And a Voice came from Heaven, said, “This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him.” Amen. “I’ve placed Him positionally. That’s My Son. What He says, I’ll back up. He’s kept My Words. He’s fought through all these denominations and everything else and has kept the faith. He—He’s pulled no punches. He—He’s been true. He’s always about My work. When people look at Him, they see Me. This is My Son, hear ye Him.” 61-0317 – Abraham’s Grace Covenant Rev. William Marrion Branham
Is adoption just about ruling?
Spiritual adoption truly means that we stand in the place of God in a specific role. Part of that entails rulership and dominion, for God is the sovereign King of Kings. But it’s also carrying out His will. Doing the work that He wants done on Earth for we are His representatives. That’s what mature sonship is all about.
So often we disagree on petty things and act as spiritual children. So often we adopt the habits, dressing, and desires of the world which keep God from placing us as His sons and daughters. In short, the enemy has the victory in our lives. But adoption comes to change that.
Adoption means we enforce the rule of God and bind the enemy wherever he is. This is a beautiful study that goes into the millennium and Satan being bound for 1,000 years with a chain of circumstances. Next week, Lord willing, I’d like to dive into that part.
But tonight, I’d like to close tonight with a Scripture found in the Old Testament that speaks of the End Times.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.Malachi 3:17
Sonship is equated with service or ministry. The same truth is shown in the last book of the New Testament where John shows the Bride as the one who “serve Him day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15).
- Spiritual adoption means God places you as His child in His Body
- God’s plan has always been for His children to have dominion (Think Adam and Eve before they sinned)
- We were always God’s children but were recognized as such when we were born again.
- Your adoption happens when God places you for service in His body (Think Joshua)
- Adoption truly means representing God in the role He’s called us to fill.