"Adopted into Sonship"

May 23, 2021

Pentecost Sunday is the day nearly two thousand years ago that many believe the Church was born. It was the day the Church received the promised Holy Spirit that Jesus said he would send as our Comforter and Advocate. But the Holy Spirit is even a bit more than that. He is something that many just don’t think of much. What I am going to comment about in this Call to Worship is on something Paul wrote to the Believers in Rome regarding the matter of the Holy Spirit, one of its purposes and of one's relationship with God. And, of course, the matter began at Pentecost 30 A.D. with the “pouring out” so to speak of the Holy Spirit. (As a side note, that event commenced the Third Age of biblical history known as the Age of Grace. The first two previous 2000 year Ages that had come and passed were the Age of Chaos and the Age of Torah. (Hmmmm....there might be an interesting Bible study to consider offering to explain this "Ages" business.))

To be true, however, the particular matter of the Holy Spirit that Paul wrote of to the Romans requires more space and time than a simple Call to Worship permits. But, one thing that Paul had to say to the Romans as noted above in the Revised Common Lectionary for this coming week is a bit revealing, indeed. Paul wrote much to the Believers in Rome, but here Paul wrote something rather curious. He wrote this: "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies."  Romans 8:13 NIV.

Note how Paul acknowledged that those early Believers in Rome, like the early Believers in Jerusalem, had received the Holy Spirit and, in fact, were themselves firstfruits of the Spirit. And then Paul also writes, and this is vitally important to understand as it goes to the root of a Believer's relationship with God; "we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship!"
Please read those words slowly and carefully. Focus on them. Seriously consider them and their intrinsic meanings. And, understand this, Paul is saying that no one is born a child of God, nor is one intrinsically a child of God because one is born into the human race. No, no, no! Paul bluntly declared we wait, even now, to be adopted as sons of God. And yes, that adoption is yet for a future time. The adoption simply hasn't taken place yet. But be assured, however, the adoption will take place -- and I am confident that event will take place very, very soon, as well.

But, in the meantime, between then and now, and just as it has been since Pentecost of 30 A.D. to today, believers are kept, just as a child is in modern day, human adoptions, we are kept in foster care until the adoption actually takes place. In this case, of course, we are in foster care under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit until the day we receive our adoption to sonship!

Yes, Jesus said he had to leave this planet, so he could send the Holy Spirit -- the Advocate; the Comforter. And, that he, the Advocate/Comforter/Holy Spirit, would teach us all things and bring to remembrance all that Jesus said.
So, with that, during this Pentecost I encourage everyone to consider and contemplate upon the works of God that the Holy Spirit carries out for the good of God's soon to be "adopted" sons and daughters. And I dare say, it would behoove us all to earnestly seek out the power and teachings of the Holy Spirit; that self same Holy Spirit that has been sent especially to guide and comfort us in this time of anticipation of our adoption to sonship!

Mark Johnson

NSUMC Lay Leader