4/19/2013

Knowing God, Chapter Nineteen: Sons of God, Part One

(This article was originally written for my local newspaper.)

Last week we looked at what J. I. Packer calls the heart of the gospel, propitiation. Propitiation is the fact that “The wrath of God against us, both present and to come, has been quenched.”  The idea is that the wrath we deserved because of our sin Christ suffered on our behalf.  If you have repented of your sin and placed your faith in Christ, God is not mad at you anymore.  

This week we will briefly look at one outcome related to propitiation: adoption.  The idea here is that God has become the Father of those who place their trust in Him.  As John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 
Packer defines the very essence of the message of the New Testament in three words: “adoption through propitiation.”  He says, “…I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”  In “adoption through propitiation,” God is not mad at us, even more, God has given us a place in the family.   We are children of God if we have trusted Christ to pay the penalty for our sins.

Even though, as Packer says, “We are not fit for a place in God’s family; the idea of his loving and exalting us sinners as he loves and has exalted the Lord Jesus sound ludicrous and wild,” God brings us into his family anyway.
I am an adoptive parent.  My wife and I adopted our daughter when she was three months old.  I cannot express the joy that my daughter has brought into my life.  It reminds me of the joy I felt on the day of my marriage and in the moment of my conversion experience. 

We adopted through an adoption agency in Lynchburg, Virginia, founded by Jerry Falwell.  Whatever you think of Falwell, he could raise the money to found great ministries. 
He did a placement ceremony and baby dedication for us in Lynchburg.  Part of a prayer that Falwell prayed I would never forget: “We pray that you would love this child even as God loves us through Christ.”  I do love my daughter, although that love is not perfect as God’s love is. 

I was asked in a college age Sunday School class one time whether God could love us as much as he loves Christ.  I responded by telling them of my love for my adopted daughter.  “Her birth certificate has mine and my wife’s name on it, John Kevin and Katherine Jane Jones.  She is my child, and nothing will ever change that.” 
Our spiritual birth certificate has God the Father’s name on it.  We are his children.  Let us never forget, and let us live to honor our Father.

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