Not only does the Spirit raise the dead,
Which once you were in deed and attitude,
He frees you from the slavery which bred
In you the manners born of Satan’s brood.
For from that house of fear you have been raised,
Adopted by the Spirit of the LORD –
Whose name alone is worthy to be praised!–
If with God’s Spirit you have one accord.
For every heart the Holy Spirit leads
Now passes from the paths the wicked plod
And walks as heirs with Christ and in Him pleads
Unto the Father as a son of God.
For on the day in Jesus you believed,
The Spirit of Adoption you received.
First, I feel I ought to apologize for the lateness of this post. This sonnet is a continuation from last week’s (10/11) “Free from Death’s Snare to Be God’s Heir” in examining the doctrine of adoption as mentioned in Romans 8. I had finished this sonnet on Saturday and hoped to publish it alongside “Who Can Dissever?” but I have been overwhelmed with work, holding down to jobs, one of which involves driving an hour with my father to work on the construction of a firehouse (we were contracted to install data cables, though we working on insulation Tuesday). Nevertheless, excuses aside, I want to make available the next sonnet in my series from Romans 8, which will conclude this coming Sunday, should God’s will allow.
In many ways, this sonnet echoes the content of the last one, but I hoped to emphasize the familial aspect of salvation – that we were counted among “Satan’s brood” (that is, one of his children or family) and now are one of God’s children – and also the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of adoption. Regarding the former point, it is important to realize that those who are outside of Christ, outside the family, are enemies of God, even children of Satan. Consider the words of Jesus in John 8:42-44a, when He is talking to Jews, who are called the people of God:
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.” (ESV, copied from BibleGateway)
In this passage and those surrounding, Jesus shows how He is the only way to the Father and that all who are outside are as children of Satan. Romans 5:10 describes us as having been enemies of God before the blood of Christ reconciled us to Him and Ephesians 2:3 says that we “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (ESV) I reiterate this part of the story again, because it is crucial that we always recall who we were and whom we obeyed before being adopted by God lest we become complacent and think that somehow we were worthy of the royal treatment (which we receive!); we did not deserve it.
Nevertheless the reversal is clear and abounding in hope and joy that we are now sons of God and so have access to God not as a distant Judge but as a gentle and loving Father, who gives graciously to us from His bounty, which is boundless, considering that He is the Creator of all! Through the adoption of God, we are consider as and have all the privileges (as well as responsibilities) of the princes and princesses of the universe. We are royalty in all God’s creation! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second person in the trinity, is our king both now and forevermore and we are fellow heirs with Him, participating and sharing in His divine glory. Considering that we were once sons of Satan and children of wrath, does it not fill you with awe that we should be adopted as sons of God?
This adoption was made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Often we may think of the Holy Spirit as granting the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy or tongues, but more crucial that those is the Spirit’s transformation of our relationship to God and of our spiritual state. The three primary manifestations of this are justification, adoption, and sanctification. The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines adoption as “an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have right to all the privileges of the sons of God.” (q. 34) In Romans 8, we see that it is the Spirit who leads us (v. 14), the Spirit whom we have received for adoption (v. 15) and the Spirit who bears witness to us confirming that we are sons of God (v.16). This Spirit causes, enables, and assures us of our adoption by the Father. This is the power of the Spirit in adoption as displayed in Romans 8:14-17.
Therefore, we may have confidence in facing every day, whether confronted by the mockery of those who do not believe or the accusations of Satan or temptation to sin or even daily difficulties of life, the drudgeries of work the challenges of certain circumstances, for we know that our eternal position, as children of God and heirs of kingdom, is secured in Christ. Whatever may presently assail us we know that the Spirit of God dwells within in us like a royal seal; when faced with temptation, remember who you are in Christ and live a prince or princess in the cosmic court of Christ Jesus our King.