November 2023

Purposeful Family Adoption

In God’s family, every member other than Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), is an adoptee. Which is staggering when you think of the size and diversity of God’s family. Heavenly and earthly adoption share a common method, occurring when someone legally becomes a full member of a family that is not theirs by birth. Here, biological heritage has little authority, only the will of those adopting carries any weight.

In biblical history, adoption was not uncommon, Moses was adopted into Pharaoh’s family as a baby (Exodus 2:10; Acts 7:21). Similarly, Mordecai took Esther as his own daughter (Esther 2:7). However, as wonderful as earthly adoption is, the magnitude of the believers adoption into our Heavenly Father’s eternal family shines brighter.

In the New Testament, adoption refers to God’s determinative act of making sinners His redeemed children. But to all who believed Him (Jesus) and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn – not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God (John 1:12-13 NLT). The matter of which spiritual family we belong to was taken out of our hands. God Almighty delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

Salvation not only forgives, cleanses of sin, and guarantees eternal life, but it actions a whole new identity that registers us as citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). But even citizenship falls short of God’s purpose for salvation. He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:5-6). Yahweh’s highest purpose in salvation is to recreate dead sinners so that they would willingly be the praise of his glorious grace as His Beloved children.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear of continuing life separated from God, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons (daughters), by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15). Now, having been adopted, we are qualified and equipped by the Holy Spirit as loving children who affectionately want to express praise to our Heavenly Father. Every step of our salvation has been masterfully implemented with divine purpose so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:5).

As adopted children of Yahweh, His Only Son Jesus is now not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. For He (Jesus) who sanctifies and those who are sanctified (us) all have one source (The Father). That is why He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, “I will tell of your name (The Father’s name) to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” Hebrews 2:11-12. This Jesus, whose name was once just a swear word to us, now has no hesitation in referring  to us according to our new relationship with Him, as brother or sister. Jesus’ view of us has changed completely, from enemy to brother or sister.

As spiritually adopted children, we share the same desire that Jesus has, to praise our heavenly Father. What a humbling realisation! No longer detached, no longer alienated, no longer in denial and defiance, but in family. What a sweet transition, and it was totally actioned by the Lord! We only contributed our sin which crippled us into inability. But the Lord saved us! (Titus 3:4-7).

Purposeful Family Adoption Read More »

Shadiness to dazzling glorification

Peter, James, and John would have had no idea what was about to unfold before their eyes as they naively walked with Jesus up the mountain. Without warning or explanation, Jesus was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light (Matthew 17:2). Stunned most likely, time must have seemed to stand still for these men as they had no previous experience to compare this with. Human language must have failed them, after all, how could words explain this unwrapping of Jesus’ humanity to reveal His holy heavenly perfection. Then, watching Jesus’ redress Himself with human flesh, surely, must have left them hanging in awe of His majestic power and glory.

This brief account provides us with a simple, yet accurate framework by which to think about the believer’s promised glorification. Paul said, I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). Paul further hints of this when he wrote, there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another (1 Corinthians 15:40).

It’s easy to get caught up with our present battles of Christian living while neglecting to look forward to our upcoming heavenly glorification. Even with a simple and focused understanding of our future glorification, believers are equipped with a hope that inspires both present perseverance and increased purity. Presently, even with our finite minds, we are able to grasp the concept of the glory of the Lord, and we realise that we are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). This present process of Holy Spirit generated sanctification develops increasing holiness while hinting at the spectacular perfection of glory waiting to envelop us in heaven.

Romans 8:30 tells us that those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified. In the infinite mind of God, He predetermined our heavenly destination before He even issued our invitation to receive salvation. And to seal the deal, as it were, He sovereignly predetermined our justification, preventing failure from being a possibility. Look at how many times the word “He”, referring to God, appears in Romans 8:30, six times in one short verse. Paul wants us to thoroughly understand that God alone ensures our glorification in heavenly perfection is as certain as God Himself.

Therefore, it is God alone who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy (Jude 1:25). Our hope is never to be wasted on uncertainty, fear, or doubts. No, God has removed the possibility of glorification being missed. Regardless of the method of transportation from earth to heaven, be it the rapture or physical death, we are to be waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Paul worded his expectation this way, for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Therefore, thinking of our present and shady improvements in personal holiness, and being elevated to Christ’s heavenly perfection, should lift our hearts in worship and a greater desire for obedience.


Shadiness to dazzling glorification Read More »

The word many can’t pronounce – propitiation

When I was young I hated big words and I detested writing. I was a lazy reader and an even worse student. I happily refused to use dictionaries or any book that would assist me in learning and understanding the little that I did read. And then Jesus changed all that. It began as an irresistible desire to understand big words that frustrated me. But I still hated and avoided reading. A few years later my desire to read mysteriously hatched and little by little grew. So, by the age of 24 I enjoyed reading and searching out the understanding of big words.

This Holy Spirit generated desire continued to grow so that I felt compelled to teach what I was learning to others. It only took a few months and that desire motivated me to begin writing for Jesus Christ. Computers were new on the scene then, so, in the mid 1980’s I bought my first Amstrad computer for writing Bible notes and lessons.

Before long I was drawn to the higher doctrines of God and the less common big words that I once avoided. One word especially caught my attention early on, “propitiation.” Ignorant of it’s meaning, I asked around. Most were unfamiliar with it and even less could say the word correctly, including myself. This launched my love for the doctrine of propitiation and the exploration of words and theology.

In my mind, propitiation is the crown jewel of biblical doctrines because it reveals the amazingly merciful and just heart of holy God. Only mentioned 4 times in the New Testament  (Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), propitiation shows us the most passionate attributes of Yahweh’s holy character.

At the Cross, God does something sinful humanity could never have thought of. God, the righteous judge of sin, sacrificed His Son as the recipient of His divine wrath against mankind’s violation of His glory. God put forward (Jesus) as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith… It was to show His (God’s) righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus  (Romans 3:25-26). Jesus was sent to the cross by His Father, and Jesus voluntarily obeyed (John 6:38). On the cross, Jesus became the Justifier, receiving the full extent of His Father’s wrath for others sin.

Jesus’ work of propitiation pacified His Father’s wrath for our sin, by calming the Father’s fury down to a state of calm peace. Jesus took our place, as our substitute on the Cross. This was the only way God could accomplish 2 objectives: 1) To be the righteous judge whose demands for justice would be fully satisfied, and (2), to equally be the one receiving the full wrath of His own justice for sins not His own.

God could not violate His holiness, even to save the sinful world which He loved (John 3:16). At the Cross, wrath and justice worked together to display the full extent of God’s mercy. Paul explained that the benefits of Jesus’ propitiation are ONLY applied to “the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Friend, only sinners who place repentant faith in Jesus’ substitutional death will receive the mercy and forgiveness offered in propitiation. Have you done that? Have you spoken those words to God? Pray in your own words, your dependence upon God’s wrath for your sin being calmed by Jesus’ death on the cross. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, believers in Jesus have much to be thankful for, and much truth to worship with. Propitiation is a great word, telling us of a great God and Saviour.


The word many can’t pronounce – propitiation Read More »

The Lord is My Shepherd

Familiarity can easily reduce our appreciation of something we once considered precious. Sadly, this can become true in our spiritual lives also. The statement “The Lord is My Shepherd” is found in Scripture, in songs, in poems, on headstones, and in quotations of all kinds. Quoted by people from across the spectrum of spiritual beliefs, and often quoted with little thought and even less affection given to the serious nature of these words.

The Old Testament words “Jehovah-Rohi” means precisely that, “The Lord is My Shepherd.” Rich with meaning and an abundance of real life applications, “Jehovah-Rohi” is an intimate confession of belief for every child of God.

Psalm 23:1-3 could be amongst the best known passages with this name. The LORD is my shepherd  (Jehovah-Rohi); I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. There is no time when the LORD stops or reduces His shepherding of His people. His commitment is unwavering and comes with total engagement in our lives as His redeemed children. As a compassionate Shepherd, the Lord protects, provides for, directs, leads, and cares. His patient grace compensates for our inconsistencies, our hypocrisies, our sinful stumblings, and our self-righteous attitudes and behaviour.

At one time all of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all (Isaiah 53:6 NLT). As lost sheep living independent of the Shepherd, Jesus stepped in, taking our sin penalty. The cross further qualified Jesus as Redeemer and co-shepherd with the Father. Jesus told His disciples, I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep (John 10:14-15). What an astounding truth! Jesus willingly sacrificed His life on the cross to atone for the sins of lost sheep. Consequently, as forgiven and reconciled sheep, we have the privilege of knowing Jesus as our Shepherd, and to know Him as He knows His heavenly Father. What a massive comfort! Our Shepherd wants to be known fully by each and every one of His sheep at all times.

God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are heavily invested in shepherding their sheep. They never leave us unattended, they are constantly interceding for us, and invisibly protecting us from our devilish  enemies. They seal the security of our eternal life, administering all facets of our salvation, both seen and unseen, ensuring the certainty of our heavenly destination (Php 1:6).

Jehovah-Rohi leads me (us) in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. This assures us of His purpose, to direct us in the righteous paths of life. If ever we find ourselves on an unrighteous path, we know that is not of Him, but of our own fleshly desires, or of Satan. This highlights our need to change the paths we sometimes find ourselves on. Those paths that are weak, compromised, or accompanied by wicked people, paths which are biblically questionable, or loaded with temptation. Commit to walking consistently on His righteous path, where you can testify that “He restores my soul.” For only there will we discover the “still waters” within the messiness of this world.

For only walking the Shepherd’s paths of righteousness will we be able to honestly say that it’s for His name’s sake. Walking with Jesus our Shepherd, we can truly say, it’s to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:12).

The Lord is My Shepherd Read More »

Scroll to Top