There are three benefits that come to us when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior: Justification, Adoption and Sanctification. Justification and Adoption are ours the moment we receive Christ, while Sanctification is an ongoing process that will last throughout our lives and will be completed when we are taken home to be with Jesus for eternity.
Evangelical churches spend most of their time speaking about Justification. Justification is when our sins are forgiven and we are given the righteousness of Christ. Here we are taught that to be justified, we can do nothing of ourselves but it is a free gift of Grace from God. We also learn that the benefit of Justification to us is eternal life.
[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Sanctification means to be made holy, to be set apart. There are many professing Christians that are happy to claim eternal life and to be part of the church. However, they are not holy, they are not set apart. They look just like the world. Are you one of those? If there is no sanctification, there probably was no justification. Examine yourself! [/dropshadowbox]
When churches are not preaching about Justification, they are preaching about Sanctification. Sanctification is where we are becoming more and more like Jesus, becoming more holy and more able to die to ourselves and to live to righteousness – the righteousness of God. We are taught that sanctification is a work of God through His Holy Spirit and that we can recognize sanctification of ourselves through the fruit we produce, specifically the Fruit of the Spirit.
However, we rarely hear anyone teaching about adoption. While Justification and Sanctification are of utmost importance, their triplet brother is just as important yet is treated like the red-headed stepchild – ignored and rarely mentioned. Adoption is the work of God’s Grace that enables us to be called children of God. There is nothing we can do to earn this. We cannot work to become a child of God; it is a gift of God (Eph 1:5). Our Adoption only comes to us through belief in Jesus and receiving Him (John 1:12-13, Gal 3:26). We receive this Adoption at the same time that we receive our Justification; so the moment we receive Jesus, we are both Justified and Adopted. Justified because our sins are forgiven and we receive the righteousness of God and Adopted because God now calls us His children (Rom 9:8).
[dropshadowbox align=”left” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]One of the great problems of the Church is that her body has heard all the teachings and has become insensitive to what is being said. We should always be entering the Word with a spirit that is looking to know what must change in our life and not think “I’ve heard this all before.”[/dropshadowbox]
This is not new to us. We have heard that we are both justified and adopted into the family and kingdom of God when we receive Jesus. We have heard that we are now called the Children of God. Yet what seems to captivate us is our future entrance into Heaven and we quickly forget the great riches that have been given to us in Adoption. Justification has become the sole reason for receiving Jesus. Adoption (and oftentimes Sanctification) has been determined to be unimportant.
However, the benefit of Adoption is that we are now called children of God and if we are Children, we are then Heirs (Gal 4:7, Romans 8:16-17). God is King and as such, has a Kingdom – the Kingdom of Heaven. The prince has an inheritance which is his part of the kingdom. If we are adopted into the family of God, then the King has become our Father and we have become princes and princesses and hence, heirs to the Kingdom. Princess Diana, Princess Kate – we follow their stories with wonder and marvel at the turn their destinies took when they entered into the Royal Family. Yet we have entered into the Divine Family and we are more amazed at the good fortune of others than our own great fortune! Why are we not captivated by the fact that we are now called Children of God? Why does this not strike us as the most unimaginable truth? Why have we decided to put so much emphasis on what will happen to us (entrance into Heaven) instead of what has already happened to us (entrance into the Divine Family?)
Yet if we were to have a paradigm shift and change our thinking – from the way it is now, to the way our Christian forefathers thought – we would grasp onto this truth of Adoption and it would give us the greatest joy. We have not attained this adoption because we have earned it. We have done nothing to receive this most precious gift. And a gift it is, given through the grace of God, not due us for anything we have done. Does it cause you to fall on your knees when you realize that you do not deserve to be adopted into His family and to be heir to His Kingdom? Does it not overwhelm you when you think that it is only by His grace that we are God’s child?
[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Amazing Grace – it is truly awesome that it is only by the Grace of God that we have justification, adoption and sanctification. We can do none of it ourselves but God has done it all for us.[/dropshadowbox]
And yet, it is because it is by the Grace of God that we receive this most wonderful gift that we can know that no one can take it away from us, including ourselves. There was nothing we did to earn this gift and there is nothing we can do to lose it. We have been given this gift of adoption by God Himself and therefore it is secured for us. Forever.
Understanding this, we no longer need to gain His approval or win His favor – He has already given it to us. We no longer have to live in fear for we have the King, our Father, who is able to make a pronouncement to protect us. We do not have to worry that we are not good enough for God for He has adopted us not because we have earned it but because of our faith in Jesus. We do not have to beat ourselves up when we fall short. In Christ, there is now no condemnation (Romans 8:1)
This should cause us to go out and be the person that God has intended for us to be, to do the things that He has for us to do – to become holy as He is holy and to walk in Jesus’ steps. We do this, not because we must but because we desire it.
Additionally, it should cause us to stop beating ourselves up when we fall short. We can have the assurance that God has already blessed us with the title of Son and Daughter and nothing can take that away. Bathe in the knowledge of your adoption and be set free from Satan and the world, who will always try to steal our joy by deceiving us that God has turned His back, that He has remembered our sin, that He has removed His Hand. Know instead that the Grace of God has brought you into His Family and rejoice. It is our proper response to this marvelous gift of adoption.