Romans Lesson 13 Day 5
My answers to BSF study questions
11. Paul introduces the adoption metaphor. (Romans 8:29)
While checking some background information about adoption practices in Ancient Rome, I discovered significant differences between their practice and modern Western adoptions.
First, the adoptee in Rome was usually an adult male (p. 25). Second, the reason for adoption was usually to pass on one’s inheritance (and one could add, to provide responsibility for the adoptee to care for the parents) rather than the modern reason of nurture (p. 28). (Book review of Adoption in the Roman World)
William Barclay‘s take on Paul’s adoption metaphor:
That is what Paul is thinking of. He uses still another picture from Roman adoption. He says that God’s spirit witnesses with our spirit that we really are his children. The adoption ceremony was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses. Now, suppose the adopting father died and there was some dispute about the right of the adopted son to inherit, one or more of the seven witnesses stepped forward and swore that the adoption was genuine. Thus the right of the adopted person was guaranteed and he entered into his inheritance. So, Paul is saying, it is the Holy Spirit himself who is the witness to our adoption into the family of God.
We see then that every step of Roman adoption was meaningful in the mind of Paul when he transferred the picture to our adoption into the family of God. Once we were in the absolute control of our own sinful human nature; but God, in his mercy, has brought us into his absolute possession. The old life has no more rights over us; God has an absolute right. The past is cancelled and its debts are wiped out; we begin a new life with God and become heirs of all his riches. If that is so, we become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, God’s own Son. That which Christ inherits, we also inherit. If Christ had to suffer, we also inherit that suffering; but if Christ was raised to life and glory, we also inherit that life and glory.
It was Paul’s picture that when a man became a Christian he entered into the very family of God. He did nothing to deserve it; God, the great Father, in his amazing love and mercy, has taken the lost, helpless, poverty-stricken, debt-laden sinner and adopted him into his own family, so that the debts are cancelled and the glory inherited. (William Barclay, public domain)
Privileges (and responsibilities) of adoption into God’s family:
We are sons of God by adoption. Jesus was the Son of God by nature. As Jesus said to the Jews, we were of our father, the devil (John 8:44 and Ephesians 2:3), but Jesus purchased us and made us adopted sons of God. (Andrew Wommack)
- Living as a child of God means an intimate, joyful relationship with God, not like the bondage and fear demonstrated by the law. (Guzik)
- In place of the spirit of bondage and fear, we receive the Spirit of adoption.
- . . .heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance] (verse 17 AMP)
- . . .he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son. This means the Son is the oldest among a vast family of brothers and sisters who will become just like him (Romans 8:29 TPT).
- Debts are canceled and the glory inherited. (William Barclay)
12. Children of God
- Because we are in Christ, we have the privilege of relating to the Father as Jesus does. (Guzik)
- Our Father knows what we need before we ask him. Matthew 6:8
- We are valuable to him. He keeps track of everything about us, even the number of hairs on our heads. Matthew 10:29-31
- Like a good earthly father, he trains, corrects and disciplines us so that “we may become sharers in His own holiness. . . It yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].” (Hebrew 12:7-11 AMP)
- He loves us extravagantly and wants us to look just like him. 1 John 3:1-3
- We have an inheritance.
- Because we are in Christ, we are also called to share in His suffering. God’s children are not immune from trials and suffering. (Guzik)
- We share in his suffering so that we may be glorified with him.
I’m so thankful God adopted me when I was so young. I grew up as God’s child knowing his love and acceptance.
13. God’s fatherly love
Our true Father went to great lengths to bring us into his family. It cost him his own Son. Now we are his true sons with the same inheritance and access to the Father. Our past is 100% canceled and has no right to us any longer. The Spirit of adoption remains with us. No one can successfully refute the validity of our new rights and identity.
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MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on Romans Lesson 13 Day 5 ~ Romans 8:14-17