The Grace of God- Part 5 - Adopted and Restored
By Colleen Donahue
So far, we have seen that the flow of grace starts with our Father’s loving heart for us. It is always given through Jesus and only to sinners (which is all of us). None of us can ever work for it, or deserve it. If we think we can, we’ll never have any of God’s grace-- for He won’t share his glory with anyone.
In the last study we saw in scripture that grace is God giving himself to us through Jesus, and then Jesus giving us His Spirit to indwell our own. This means that grace is a person – it’s Jesus and His Holy Spirit – given for us. Grace is not a commodity, it’s a person!
Now, in this study we’ll see that God adopts us into the family of God so that He can restore us to the way He originally created us to be.
- God knows not all of us (with the gift of free will) will accept what Jesus has done to reconcile them with Himself. But God also knows those who will, for He knows everything in advance. He wants all of us to be with Him in eternity. So these words are Jesus speaking to us. When we come to Him – with all of our flaws – what does He promise us?
John 6:37-40 (especially verse 37).
2. What God did for us through Jesus (His grace to us) is why we can be accepted by God. What is so amazing about God’s grace to us is WHEN He chose to extend it to us. What was our own condition?
Romans 5:6-11 (especially vs 6,8,10)
In man’s world, we would extend grace and favor to someone who has tried hard to “clean up their act” and therefore deserved it. But God’s grace is always given to those who don’t deserve it.
3. When we are accepted by God, what can we be absolutely sure of?
Notice the words “in Christ Jesus”. It’s God who puts us into Jesus so that when He looks at us He sees His Son!
4. What else does our acceptance by God mean for us?
Let’s rephrase Romans 5:1-2 so we can understand their meaning.
A. God’s grace worked ahead of us by sending Jesus to die for all of us. The phrase that we are justified means that we have been made “just-as-if-we-had-never-sinned” because of Christ’s shed blood for all of us.
B. So it is Christ who has brought us into a place of undeserved privilege (grace) where we now stand if we believe and live in the truth that we have been made “just-as-if-we-had-never-sinned”.
C. Being “justified by faith” means that Jesus has done all that is needed for us to be made right with God. When we believe that truth and walk as if it’s true (despite how we see ourselves) that is taking it by faith.
D. In God’s timetable what we take by faith we gradually become. We may not feel worthy or see in our life anything close to the character of Jesus, but never-the-less, God sees the blood of Jesus covering our life and He is satisfied.
E. Therefore we can be at peace with God and talk with Him about anything.
5. Because we are accepted by God, Peter tells his flock (and us) that they now take on a new role.
1 Peter 2:5
What does it mean to be part of a “royal priesthood” or a “holy priesthood” (depending on your translation).
We are made right with God through Jesus (God’s grace to us) so that we can do the work that Jesus did on earth (John 14:12). Then, in the authority of Jesus’s name, we are able to offer acceptable prayers and sacrifices for those we live and work with. In this way, grace makes each of us “Christ” as we carry on His work of bringing men and women to God.
6. Grace manifests itself in God calling us by the name of what we are becoming rather than what we are now. We see this in the Old Testament and it’s true today.
Genesis 17:4-5 / Hosea 2:23
7. Grace will always lead to the acceptance of others the way we have been accepted by God.
Question: If God created us as his children in the first place, why does He need to adopt us?
Answer: Adam and Eve were created to be partners with God in building His universe. He gave them free will so they could choose to love Him and partner alongside with Him.
They chose instead to walk independently from God when they disobeyed the one command that He gave them. This is what all sin is – choosing to live by our own standard of right and wrong.
From that point on, all of us were born “in Adam” – meaning that we inherit Adam’s sin nature. This sin nature within us causes us to naturally live our lives as if we belonged to ourselves instead of God.
All who are born in Adam (or in sin) become part of Satan’s Kingdom and serve him even if we don’t know it. Therefore, to get out of that kingdom of darkness, God had to devise a way for our transfer. (Colossians 1:13-14)
That vehicle of transfer was His Son Jesus. In a cosmic miracle, God put all of us into Jesus on the cross so that when He died, we died (i.e. our old sin nature- see Romans 6:6) and this meant we were free to receive Christ’s Spirit into our own so that we could start over in the family of God. (Colossians 1:27)
The one thing for us to do is recognize what God has done for all of us and to accept our adoption as finalized in Jesus. Then we walk as sons and daughters of God.
8. God knew even before He created us that we would choose to walk independent from Him. Nevertheless, He loved us and put a plan for our adoption in place. WHEN did He do this?
9. All of us were created by God and we are his children by right of creation. But not all will become God’s sons and daughters with all the rights of being part of God’s family. Who amongst us will become true sons and daughters?
10. The grace of God first redeems us, and then what does God call us?
To be called by name means that you and I are known and loved by God. We’re not just one of a crowd. The last phrase of Isaiah 43:1 states: “you are mine”. So, God’s grace redeems us, calls us by name, and then keeps us united to God so that we stay His!
11. Grace (or Jesus) was given so that God could adopt us back into His family and then we could receive our adopted family. When do we receive our full rights as sons and daughters?
Galatians 4:4-7 (especially vs. 6)
12. The grace of God leads to our adoption, then as God’s children who do we progressively become like?
1 John 3:2
13. What is the name the Holy Spirit is given in Romans 8:15?
Depending on your translation, the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Sonship” or “the Spirit of Adoption”. God’s grace to us allows us to receive this Spirit of Adoption who leads us. And when we follow, He confirms within us that we belong to God and that we are His children. How does He do this?
14. When Christ’s Spirit comes into our own, who do we belong to?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
15. Once adopted into God’s family, God shows His grace towards us by keeping an unrelenting hold on us so that we can be with Him always.
16. What kind of children do we become with the Spirit of Adoption within us as we live in this fallen world? And to what purpose?
17. This grace of adoption by God results in our having the same full inheritance of the firstborn Son (Jesus) – and for this we eagerly wait.
Note: With an inheritance on earth, we wait for our parents to die and then we receive it. But in the spiritual realm we wait for our own physical death to receive the fullness of what God has for us – including new bodies.
God’s Spirit within us restores us back to God’s original creation of us.
18. Sin has soiled and spoiled all of this life. But, by God’s grace we now have a way to be made clean – inside and out. What is God’s way to do this?
1 Corinthians 6:11 / Hebrews 10:19-22
19. By Christ’s shed blood we have been cleansed and purified from sin and all its effects. It was King David’s prayer that it would be done in his life and it should be our prayer too.
Psalm 51:1-2, 9-10
20. But just being forgiven and cleansed from our sins isn’t enough. We all have a void inside of us. How does God plan that we fill this void?
Isaiah 55:1-2 / Matthew 5:6 / John 4:13-14 / John 6:35 / Revelation 22:17
The common denominator in these verses is that we be thirsty for the living water (Jesus) that God gives. Finally, Jesus tells us plainly in John 6:35 that because He is the bread of life, we will always find the void filled in our life when we partake of His life.
21. Grace is God doing two things for us.
First, he regenerates our dead spirit by the cleansing of our guilt and shame with Christ’s blood.
Then, he gives us the Holy Spirit to indwell our life and renew us from the inside out.
It's the Holy Spirit (the same Spirit filling the Father and Jesus) that fills the void we all have in this life. And when He fills us it’s like a reset button has been pushed. We are back on track to live as God originally intended.
TRANSFORMED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
Christ’s work of restoring us (the new birth) happens the moment we believe that:
A. He has forgiven and cleansed us from our sins and….
B. …. made our dead spirits alive by giving us His own Holy Spirit to indwell us.
When we believe and receive, we become children of God who are back in God’s family. (John 1:12-13).
But many (maybe most) of us have walked a good part of our life in Satan’s kingdom – living under his direction rather than in partnership with God. So while the new birth is instantaneous, there is a process of transformation all of us go through to reverse the evil effects that sin has had on us. This process of transformation is called sanctification. To be sanctified or made holy means that our life changes course so that we live it wholly for God instead of wholly for ourselves. In essence we become just like Jesus who lived only to please the Father.
22. The new birth is like a gate opening so that we can start on the path God originally planned for us. He is so excited to have us back in His family that He declares us righteous because of what Jesus did on the cross for us – even before we manifest that in our life.
I like how the New Living Translation puts this verse:
“Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”
We’ll need that confidence to move forward with God because while He calls us righteous, all we see is our faults and failures.
God’s way of transformation always occurs in one direction – from the inside out. This is important because it’s opposite to man’s way. For example, if we want to change our body shape, we set up rules for eating (called a diet) and rules for exercise (usually a gym routine). Then we set about trying to keep those rules. This method can work a temporary change. But God’s way is one that works a permanent and lasting change.
23. In the new birth Jesus gives us his own Spirit so that we will be transformed from the inside out.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 / 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
24. The Spirit of Jesus from within us changes us to become like Himself.
This is a process for sure, but one that God will continue until it is finished.
25. How does this transformation work? God gives us the “living word” – Jesus – to dwell within us by His Spirit. God has also give us His written word – the Bible. The Spirit within us (the living Word) takes the written word and applies it to our life. What is the first step in our transformation process?
26. Our thought life directs our will which then directs our action. For most of us we have been directed by wrong and negative thinking the greater part of our life. So, the Holy Spirit sets about first to change our thinking. WHAT does God’s Spirit want us to think about?
27. Many of us would say that “we can’t help what we think”. But Philippians 4:8 confirms that we CAN direct our thoughts – indeed we must direct them -- if we are to be transformed. Paul states this again in:
“Set your minds” – it’s our way of “setting the sail” to guide our ship.
28. Having our command center (or our mind) in line with God’s way of thinking, enables us then to start seeing outward change.
29. During the transformation process, we’ll have many times that we might feel like giving up – but don’t! God doesn’t give up on us. Instead, by Jesus’ power He produces in us every good thing that is pleasing to Him. In this way, he equips us to do the work He has called us to do.
30. What is the goal that God has for our transformation?
Romans 8:29 / Colossians 3:17
A word of caution:
God’s living word (Jesus in you by His Spirit) and God’s written word (the Bible) are meant to operate together. If you neglect to read and study the Bible what will you miss out on?
2 Timothy 3:16
It's the Holy Spirit who takes the Word that you read or hear and applies it to your life – to what end?
2 Timothy 3:17
So, if you don’t read/study the Bible, if you don’t put yourself in places where you hear the word, if you don’t align yourself with others who follow the word, then….you don’t give the Holy Spirit anything to work with to enable your transformation.
On the other hand, if your conversion is incomplete and you haven’t received the Holy Spirit, then Bible reading will be dry and boring. Whatever effect the words might have on you will be short-lived.
The living Word and the written Word must always work together to transform us from the inside out.