A Prayer on the Transcendent Gift of Adoption in Christ

Blue sky sunshine

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

Thank You, Father, for the gift of Your Holy Spirit which we have received through faith in Jesus Christ. We could not buy or earn this favor but have received it from You as a generous gift. We don’t take it lightly. Thank You that the Holy Spirit makes us children, not slaves, and brings us boldly and lovingly into Your family. Thank You that we can call out, “Abba, Father!”, by the Spirit and know that we belong and will be heard.

What dramatic sort of gift is this, Lord? How could it be that any who come by faith through Christ might receive the immeasurable gifts of belonging, adoption, and being able to call on You? All these gifts are beyond value. Many things that we pursue with our lives for and strive endlessly after still outpace our wild grasping or earning. Yet here with You we find all we most need given as sheer received gift! What else can we say but “thank You”? Thank You for the inward testimony of the Holy Spirit who speaks of our adoption, confirming within our spirits what the Scriptures tell us is true and our new reality.Thank You that we are heirs of Your full kingdom as we become children—even co-heirs with Christ. Thank You that we are privileged to share in both the suffering and the glory of discipleship with Christ Jesus. As Peter writes, this is “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade…kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Thank You!

And so, Father, with abounding praise and gratitude we step into this day as children of God, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, and recipients of the Holy Spirit. We choose to yield and surrender ourselves to You again. Let us enter into the fellowship of Your suffering that we might also enter into the fellowship of Your glory. Strengthen us to deny ourselves that we might also find the abundant life in You. Give us power each step of this journey that we might live a long obedience in the same direction. Again, today, Lord, we declare that we are Yours.

New Hope (discussion questions)

Exiles Series Gfx_ThumbHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “New Hope,” which is the first part of our series “Exiles” on the book of 1 Peter. This study walks through 1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

  1. When was a time that something you were hoping for came true? How did hope sustain you in the waiting period?
  1. This weekend we continue our series, “Exiles,” on the New Testament letter known as 1 Peter. Take a moment to begin your study in prayer, asking God to speak to you and transform you through His truth. Then, whether you are alone or with others, read 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 aloud.
  1. Peter begins his letter with an extended prayer celebrating the hope that we have with God in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1-12). In this next section of the letter, he explains how we live fixed upon that hope. 1 Peter 1:13 begins with an imperative statement. What do you think Peter means when he writes: “set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming”?
  1. In 1:14-15, Peter build upon the new identity given to believers in Jesus by their “new birth into a living hope” (1:3). What does Peter call the believers toward in these verses? Why does he say we should live that way?
  1. ‘Holiness’ or being ‘holy’ has fallen out of fashion these days. Why do you think that is? What might it look like for us to live meaningfully holy lives today in our everyday settings?
  1. Peter builds on the theme of holiness in 1:17-21. What is Peter’s main exhortation to the believers here? What does he say are the main reasons believers should do that?
  1. Moving from the focus on holiness and appropriate fear of the Lord, Peter begins to talk about the way we live with one another as Christians. How would you restate Peter’s main request of the believers in 1:22?
  1. In what ways do you think holy living and loving others relates to our hope in Jesus Christ? Why do you think these topics be related in Peter’s mind for ‘exiles’ (1:1) and ‘foreigners’ (1:17)?
  1. Drawing upon imagery found in Psalm 34:8, Peter encourages the believers in 2:1-3 to grow up with God by having the right sort of spiritual nourishment in their lives. Why do you think they must rid themselves of certain things (2:1) and also crave certain other things (2:2)? What do you think the ‘pure spiritual milk’ Peter is referring to means in our everyday lives?
  1. What is one specific thing you sense God is speaking to you about your life through this study? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray about what you share together. If you are studying on your own, write it down, pray about it, and share this with someone during the next few days.