Last week I wrote about the FIVE LEVELS OF RELATIONSHIP. The highest level is the development of a consistent, close, warm and deep spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Father. This relationship is founded on us receiving “the Spirit of Adoption.” So, what does the qualifying expression, “the Spirit of Adoption” mean? In Romans 8 Paul explains to the Roman Church and all Christians that it is the Holy Spirit who executes the act of adopting us into God’s family. Our relationship with and receptivity to Him determines the development of the spiritual relationship we have with our Father and the Lord Jesus.
The concept of “The Spirit of Adoption” was first revealed in the relationship Jehovah established between Himself and the Israelites. His choice or “adoption of them” as His people and nation (in preference to all other nations) gave them a special opportunity—that only they had. Because of the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus the Gentile nations now have this same opportunity. We too can know the nature and condition of being true sons of God. We who are “in Christ” have received the Spirit of God into our hearts and souls. By adoption we have become sons of God.
Expositors Greek Testament says the following about the concept of our being adopted; “It is a term of relation, expressing our Sonship in respect to standing. In Roman law, provision was made for the transaction known as adoption, the taking of a child who was not one’s child by birth, to be his son, and arrogation, the transference of a son who was independent, as by the death of his proper father, to another father by a solemn act of the people.”
This act of goodness and grace is not one which makes only an outward difference in our legal position; this act accomplishes the coming of The Holy Spirit into our lives, which creates in us a new nature. It is in and through the Spirit of Adoption, we cry, “Abba, Father.”
What does this mean? We have not only the status of being children of God, but we have been given the heart of sons. There are differing biblical words that describe our relationship as sons of God, but today I would like to speak to the Greek words teknon and nepios.
In the Scriptures the word son is sometimes translated from the Greek word teknon, which comes from the root tikto, which means to give birth to. It’s proper translation is the word “child or born one.” Paul’s use of this word is his choice of defining the children of God as people who are born by the Spirit of God and have become related to God through the Spirit of Adoption. In John 1:12 it says, “But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave He power (the right or privilege) to become the children (teknon: offspring or children) of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Another word that speaks to our relationship as children of God, is the Greek word, nepios. Nepios is best translated “infant or little child.” Spiritually speaking, the word speaks of a child of God who is childish, untaught, or unskilled. In Hebrews 5:13 the word nepios is translated babe. The idea of immaturity is in the word, and according to the context in which it is found, it could refer to either mental or spiritual immaturity. The writer of Hebrews defines the word when he says that the person whom he calls a babe is “unskillful in the word of righteousness.”
Paul uses the same word in 1 Corinthians 3:1 when he describes believers who had been saved for many years, but are unwilling to grow up spiritually. He wrote to the Corinthians, “Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants (nepios) in Christ” (3:1)
Like the Corinthians, there are many modern believers who continue to live in immaturity or to be negligent of the Holy Spirit’s desire and enablement to “grow them up” spiritually. For the most part today’s spiritual infant (nepios) only wants a gospel that is man centered, need based and focused on their wants and desires.
What would happen to our own natural children if they were always the center of our attention, or if we only told them only what they wanted to hear, or gave in to every whim and wit of their imagination? Would there be any hope of them becoming a healthy adult? Or have any expectation of them learning to have a loving and vibrant relationship with others? No!
If the immature person in Christ only assumes that the Holy Spirit was given so they could check the box or provide them a ticket to heaven, they have misunderstood His purpose. The Holy Spirit wants to do more than satisfy our spiritual sweet tooth or bail us out of our current trial or season of tribulation. He desires to for all believers to “grow up” by giving fresh and ever expanding understanding of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He can only accomplish this as the believer submits to Him and is willing to fully embrace the experiential knowledge found in His love and grace.
The Holy Spirit knows who we are. He knows the will of the Father for us. He knows what we have need of before we even ask. He desires for us to fill the earth with people who know, love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ and be continually learning and growing in Him.
The Holy Spirit is seeking to adjust our thinking as well as our living. Given the opportunity, He will change us into the image of Christ Jesus. May I say that instead of ignoring His soft voice, or running away from His leading; the next time you face a traumatic trial or test; call upon Him. I promise He will be there. You are a child of the living God. You have received the Spirit of Adoption. You are His. He lives within you! He will never leave or forsake you!
Our ability to experience and understand spiritual things begins with awareness and awareness is based on relationship. The altar’ed life is a life that seeks to have a growing relationship with the Spirit of Adoption. The Holy Spirit desires to reveal to us everything that we have been given. 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
It is our growing in the understanding of our “knowledge of Him” that enables us to become aware of spiritual things. Tomorrow, I will be sharing more concerning this subject on my Altar of His Presence podcast which you can access at: http://altarofhispresence.podbean.com/. I pray you have a blessed day and that you receive the Spirit of Adoption so that you may know Him better. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.