April 5, 2004
Encouragement for Today

 

The Only Perfect Parent

Sharon Jaynes, Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker

 

Key Verse:

 

In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely gives us in the One He loves” (Ephesians 1:5-6 NIV).

 

 

Devotion:

 

For many, the idea of God being their father may not be a pleasant one.  We have a human tendency to project our perception of fatherhood, based on our own experience with our earthly fathers, onto our idea of the fatherhood of God.  Some never knew their earthly fathers, some had abusive fathers, some were deserted by their fathers, some had loving endearing fathers and some lost their fathers due to sickness or catastrophe.  When I was growing up, I never had lengthy conversations with my father, therefore, when I became a Christian, it was very difficult for me to have lengthy conversations with my heavenly father – Prayer was difficult.   We need to remove the mask of our earthly parent from the face of God. Even the best earthly fathers have feet of clay and will disappoint their children.

 

No matter what your past experience with your earthly father has been, the truth is your heavenly father is the perfect parent who loves you, cares for your every need, is interested in all you do, skillfully guides you, wisely trains you, never deserts you, generously supplies your needs, is always available to you, and cherishes you as His precious child.

 

God has made a way for us to clearly understand what He is like. If we want to know the Father, the only perfect parent, we have but to look at the life of His Son.  Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…The words I say to you are not just my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:9, 10). The writer of Hebrews explained, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).  If you understand what Jesus is like, you understand what God is like and the more intimately you know the Son, the more clearly you understand the character of the Father.

 

The Bible says that we have also been adopted (Ephesians 1:5) and made an heir (Galatians 4:7).  Let’s take a look at how adoption was carried out in Jesus’ day.

 

In Ancient Rome, fathers chose a child for adoption when they weren’t able to have children of their own. They adopted a son in order to have someone to carry on the family name and leave their inheritance. It was a legal relationship, all ties to the child’s natural family were severed and the child was placed in a new family with the same prestige and privileges as a natural child, including becoming an heir.  If the child had any debt, it was immediately cancelled.  The adoption was a sealed process with many witnesses making it official.[1][1]

 

In modern times, we tend to think of adoption more in terms of adopting a baby.  However, in Biblical times, adoption usually took place after the child was older and had proved to be fit to carry on the family name in a worthy manner.[2][2]    How incredible that our Heavenly Father chose us, not because of any merit of our own, but before the beginning of time.  He chose us, not because we were worthy, but in spite of the fact that we were not. “For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will – to the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely gives us in the One He loves” (Ephesians 1:4-6).

 

Our adoption takes place the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our debt is canceled (paid in full) and we are placed in God’s family to carry on His name and become an heir. “And you also were included in Christ (in his family) when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).  The Holy Spirit is a down payment or a deposit of our future inheritance. “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

 

Many verses refer to God’s children as sons.  This does not mean that God only has male children or that only male children inherit the kingdom of God.  “In the Hebrew language the word son can be used figuratively to characterize people as to their origin and nature.   Hence, we see such expressions as “sons of the prophets” (Acts 3:25 NKJV), “sons of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36 NKJV), “a son of peace” (Luke 10:6)….Thus, the biblical term sons of men means “humans,” people of mortal origin and character…Understanding the biblical term son helps clarify that the term “sons of God” does not mean “male offspring.”  In calling believers His sons, God is communicating that believers find their origin in Him and bear the same nature He does.”[3][3]

 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

 

“Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father.  In adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship, and establishes us as His children and heirs.  Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship.  To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the father is greater.”[4][4]

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Dear Lord, Thank you for adopting me as your child.  Even though I had many faults and failures, you chose me anyway.  Lord, I pray that I will become more and more like you, my father, every day.   Do whatever it takes to make me into a child that resembles her dad.  I love you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Application Steps:

 

Write up an official adoption document that reads…  On (date of your salvation),

(Your name), was adopted by God, to be a part of His heavenly family.  This event was witnessed by all the angels of heaven, her brother - Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

 

God back through the devotion and note when God decided to adopt you. 

 

How might the adoption of an older child be different from adopting a baby?  Can you correlate that the time of your adoption by God?  Did you have any bad habits or old ways of thinking that need to be reprogrammed?

 

 

Reflection Points:

 

We are called “children” of God.  What does the word “child” mean to us?

 

 

Power Verses:

 

Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…The words I say to you are not just my own.  Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:9, 10 NIV).

 

  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3 NIV).

 

For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  (Ephesians 1:4 NIV).

 

And you also were included in Christ (in his family) when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV). 

 

The Holy Spirit is a down payment or a deposit of our future inheritance. “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NIV).

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

Dreams of a Woman – God’s Plans for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/dreams.html

 

 



[1][1] Jon MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 1-8 (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991) 436-437.

[2][2] J. I. Packer, Knowing God, (Chicago: IL: InterVarsity Press) p 195

[3][3] Mary A. Kassian, In My Father’s House: Women Relating to God as Father (Nashville, TN: Lifeway, 1993) 13.

[4][4] J.I. Packer, Knowing God, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973) pp.187-188