The Transcendent Gift of Adoption in Christ

Blue sky sunshine

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 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.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 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 Christ. I could not buy or earn this favor, but must receive it from You as a presented gift. I do not take it lightly. Thank You that the Holy Spirit makes us children, not slaves, and brings us boldly and lovingly into Your family. 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, sonship, and being able to call on You? All of these gifts are beyond value. Many things that we live our lives for and strive endlessly after still outpace our wild grasping or earning, but here with You it is sheer attainable 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 what we are told is true through Your Word. Thank You that we are heirs of Your full kingdom as we become children—even co-heirs with Christ—as we share in both the suffering and the glory of discipleship. 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 never-ending praise and gratitude we step into this day as children of God, heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, those who have received the Spirit, and we 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. Let us deny ourselves that we might find You, and also find ourselves in the journey. Today, Lord, we are Yours.

The Significance of Jesus’ Ascension

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Edward Bolwell, ascension day, Acrylic Paint on MDF Board; 2017

Yesterday was Ascension Day, when celebrate the ascension of Jesus to the Father in heaven after His resurrection from death (Luke 24:49-51; Mark 16:19; Acts 1:3-10). I believe the ascension is one of the most-neglected aspects of the life of Jesus with greater significance for our life with God as disciples of Jesus than we usually realize.

I wrote three posts in 2018 about the importance of the ascension for our faith because of Jesus’ reign as King, Jesus’ mediation eternally, and Jesus’ future return in glory, and would encourage you to join me in considering the significance of Jesus’ ascension.

Read them here:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 2

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Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 2. The complete list of prayers from Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You could also view a message, “The Mystery of the Incarnation,” from this passage by Pastor Nic Fridenmaker here.

Father God, we praise You
for Your mysterious wisdom
in sending Jesus, Your eternally-begotten Son,
as our incarnate Messiah.

Jesus the Son, we are in awe of You,
the perfect human who restored our fractured glory
by taking the destructive way of the Cross
and making it the way that brings life.

Thank You for sharing the humility of our flesh and blood
by entering into human temptation and suffering.
Thank You for bringing divine balm for sin’s pain
and freedom from death by breaking the power of the devil.

Holy Spirit, we need Your presence and power
more than we understand within every moment of every day.
Strengthen us to receive divine grace through Christ’s sacrificial gift
and empower us to live our daily lives yielded to You.

All this we pray in the name
of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—
One God, from eternity past to eternity future—
to whom belongs all honor and glory both now and forever.
Amen.


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 1:5-14

image 3 - Hebrews

Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week. This prayer is drawn from Hebrews 1:5-14. The complete list of prayers from Hebrews is included at the bottom of this post. You could also view my message, “Jesus, King of Angels,” from this passage here.

Lord Jesus Christ, we exalt You
as the Name above every name;
the only One worthy of sitting
at the right hand of the Father.

You are the Lord of hosts,
and the King of the angels,
who Scripture tells us
worship around Your throne.

We admit that sometimes we lose our way,
letting other messages and messengers captivate us
in ways that belong only to You,
who truly are the final Word of God.

Once again, we ask You
to open the eyes of our hearts
not only to the hope to which You have called us,
but also to the glory of who You are. 

All this we pray, through Your name, Jesus,
which is greater than any other name,
to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

 


Prayers from Hebrews:

A Prayer inspired by Hebrews 1:1-4

image 3 - Hebrews

Throughout our new series “The Final Word: Knowing Christ through Hebrews,” I am writing prayers related to the text on which we are preaching each week.. This prayer is inspired by Hebrews 1:1-4. You could also view my message, “Jesus, the Final Word,” from this passage here.

Lord our God, we praise You
for Your infinite grace to us
in revealing Yourself to us
through the prophets and ancestors
at many times and in various ways.

We thank You, our God,
that You do not consider it too small a thing
to speak to us, to condescend to us,
and to give Your written word to us in Scripture.

But most of all, gracious Father,
we thank You for the gift of Your Son,
Jesus our Messiah, who is the final Word
and the ultimate revelation of who You are.

In this season when we celebrate His resurrection,
give us particular grace to see
with the eyes of our hearts opened wide
the multi-faceted splendor of Jesus Christ.

All this we pray, through Him, Jesus Christ,
Our High Priest and Perfect Sacrifice,
to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit
be all honor and glory, now and forever.
Amen.