VIDEO The Spirit of Adoption

By John MacArthur Dec 4, 2011

Let’s open the Word of God to the 8th chapter of the book of Romans, that beloved, wonderful treatise of the apostle Paul on the gospel and all the aspects of it.  And we’re looking at Romans 8 because that’s the chapter on the Holy Spirit, and this would be Part 6, or message number six, in the study of the life of the Holy Spirit, life and ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer – in the believer.  What the Holy Spirit does in us.  And I began this series because of all the misrepresentations of the Holy Spirit that abound in the contemporary Christian world.  It is so terribly misrepresented, so insulted, so grieved, so quenched – to borrow biblical language – and so blasphemed.  If you watch the current Charismatic lineup of Holy Spirit anointed people, you would have absolutely no idea what the Holy Spirit does.  It seems as if they are the victims of an unholy spirit rather than a holy spirit, the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit doesn’t make people worldly, carnal, boastful, slick, unaccountable, outrageous, et ceteraet cetera.  The Holy Spirit has one objective, and that is to make people holy – holy.  So if somebody says that he is or she is anointed by the Holy Spirit, what should be manifest in that person is evident holiness.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.  That’s why He’s called the Holy Spirit. 

In Isaiah’s famous trihagion, he hears the angels in antiphonal worship and they’re saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.”  And that can be trinitarian.  Holy is the Father, holy is the Son, holy is the Spirit.  That’s why there are three of them.  This is angelic recognition that the Trinity is essentially holy, and the work of the Holy Spirit is essentially to produce that holiness in human beings, in us. 

To better understand that, I want us to look at verses 14 to 16 of Romans 8.  I’m going to read them and we’ll come back to them in a while.  “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God, for you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’.  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God.”  Several references there to the Holy Spirit as there have been in the previous 13 verses because, as we’ve been saying, this, in Paul’s great letter to the Romans, is the chapter that deals with the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers. 

But let’s go back to the starting point that we were talking about.  God the Father is holy, God the Son is holy, and the Spirit is holy.  With regard to the Father, Leviticus 19 says, “I, the Lord your God, am holy.”  And that, by the way, is repeated dozens of times in the Old Testament, God testifying to His own holiness.  The Son of God is deemed to be holy in Luke chapter 1, He is called the holy child.  And in the book of Hebrews, He is called holy and undefiled.  And in looking at the third member of the Trinity, the Spirit of God, we read in Romans 1:4 that one of His names is the Spirit of holiness.  So it is true, holy, holy, holy is a trinitarian confession.  They’re all holy; all members of the holy Trinity are by nature and essence and substance holy. 

But there is a particular work of God the Spirit with regard to reproducing holiness in believers.  That’s His work.  He works in what we call sanctification, which is separation from sin, to transform believers into holiness or, if you will, into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  The ministry of the Holy Spirit is not body work.  It can’t be visibly seen in the way you wiggle or move or sway or fall over backwards or mumble or put your hands in the air.  It is soul work, it is heart work.  In the Old Testament, we would say the work of the Holy Spirit was to produce godliness.  In the New Testament, we would say the work of the Holy Spirit is to produce Christlikeness.  The message of the Old Testament is be like God.  The message of the New Testament is be like Christ.  The agent of that is the Holy Spirit. 

Perhaps the single-most clarifying verse on this is 2 Corinthians 3:18, a verse upon which I wrote a book once when I was asked, “Could you write a small book on the most important verse for Christians in the New Testament?”  And I said, “Well, I don’t know if I can know that but there’s one I could pick,” and I picked this one, 2 Corinthians 3:18:  “We all with unveiled face, we have no obstructions, nothing blocking our view, behold as in a clear glass the glory of the Lord.”  As we look at the Lord, as we look at the glory of the Lord, we are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, and it’s being done by the Lord who is the Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit transforms us into Christlikeness as we gaze at the Lord Himself, moving us from one degree to another, one level of glory to another, to another, to another.  That is His work.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit.  That’s why He is called the Holy Spirit uniquely, or the Spirit of holiness, to produce holiness in us.  As I said, in the Old Testament, the term was godliness.  In the New Testament, it is Christlikeness.  It’s the sanctification.  The Holy Spirit is – the theologians would say it this way:  The Holy Spirit is the efficient cause – the Holy Spirit is the efficient cause; Scripture is the instrumental means that the Holy Spirit uses. 

Let’s back up a little bit and talk about this.  I want you to get the big picture, okay?  Because you need to understand that this work of the Holy Spirit is the purpose of God in redemption.  This is not part of, this is not a sub-category, this is the purpose of God in redemption, to make a people who are holy, godly, Christlike.  That’s the prize of the upward call.  That’s the goal of redemption.  The goal is not accomplished at justification; it is only accomplished at glorification when we all become perfect in holiness.  And the work of the Spirit in the meantime is to make us more and more holy in this life until we reach that perfect holiness in the life to come.  But let’s back up a little bit and understand from the very beginning what God is doing. 

Man created in God’s image is the message of Genesis 1 and 2, is it not?  Genesis 1:26 and 27:  “God made man in His own image,” in His own likeness, for one purpose, to reveal God, to reflect God’s glory, to express God’s character, to put His glory on display.  Chapter 3, man falls – man falls, and that purpose is lost because now you have mankind sinful, incapable of reflecting or expressing the glory of God.  That is why Romans tells us that we have all come short of what?  The glory of God.  That is universally true of fallen humanity.  We can’t do what we were created to do.  Made in the image of God for the purpose of reflecting, expressing the glory of God; fallen into sin, corrupted, marred, distorted, perverted.  We can’t do it.  And if you look at ancient history, after Adam, you see a few people who were rescued out of that condition and who truly became people who could reflect the glory of God.  Enoch who walked with God one day and just kept walking right into heaven and didn’t die.  The sons of Seth who were a godly line, but there were so few people in that marred, perverted, corrupted humanity – listen to this – that a few generations later, God drowned the entire human race because there were only eight people who could reflect His glory.  Only eight out of millions.  He wiped them out, started all over again.  That’s how profound fallen corruption is. 

God the Father then determined from that eight people to restore the terribly distorted, the terribly marred image of God in humanity by sovereignly and supernaturally and graciously transforming those sinners.  It wasn’t a superficial job.  It wasn’t a paint job.  It wasn’t something on the outside.  Had to be something on the inside.  He had to re-create them to be capable of manifesting His glory.  Peter describes it in words that are very, very important, and very clear.  Peter says in 2 Peter 1:4:  “You have escaped the corruption.”  You have escaped being marred.  You have escaped being in that perverse condition, you have escaped that by becoming – listen to this – partakers of the divine nature.  Wow – partakers of the divine nature.  The very nature that is God’s has been given to you in a rebirth. 

That is the purpose of salvation.  The purpose of God’s redemptive plan is to recover humanity from its inability to give Him glory.  The purpose of salvation is to overturn the Fall and make men capable of glorifying Him.  And for that, God has to re-create them.  They have to be born all over again, spiritually.  They have to have a new nature.  They have to become new men.  All that’s biblical language.  They have to have a new birth.  If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us.  That whole work of doing that is the work of the Holy Spirit.  We celebrate the cross, and rightly we should.  We celebrate the love of God, the greatness of God, we sing hymns of praise to God.  We sing about the cross and rightly we should, but in the middle of all of this, we forget that the real efficient cause, the divine source of everything that we are as Christians is in fact the Holy Spirit. 

The plan of God is to take corrupt sinners who cannot glorify Him, who have no capacity, who come short of being able to do that, in whom the divine image is marred.  It is marred to such a degree – here’s how much it’s marred – that apart from regeneration, all those marred people are so useless to God for the purpose for which He made man that He throws them into the trash heap of the universe, which is an everlasting burning pit called Gehenna which was the name of the trash heap in Jerusalem, where they burn forever because they are useless, without the possibility of any escape.  How severe is the marring?  Severe enough to throw humanity on the dump as absolutely useless.  Let it be everlastingly consumed.  The plan of redemption is to rescue some of those people, redo them, give them new life, regenerate them, re-create them, restore them, transform them, put them through a spiritual metamorphosis and make them partakers of the divine nature.  That’s such a great statement.  That’s God’s plan.  He initiated it. 

Now, when God does that, what does a truly regenerated person who becomes a full partaker of the divine nature look like?  I’ll give you the answer in one word:  Jesus.  God initiated it and Jesus demonstrated it.  When you look at Jesus, you see the perfect image of God in human form.  Could He glorify God?  John 1:14 says:  “We beheld His glory.”  And what glory was it?  “The glory as of the only begotten of the Father.”  He put God on display like God had never been put on display before.  If you want to see the perfect work of the Holy Spirit in an individual, look at Jesus Christ.  Remember what Jesus said.  Everything He did was the work of the Holy Spirit in Him, right?  Everything. 

In His condescension, He yielded up all those prerogatives of His own and yielded Himself to the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit so that everything He did, He did by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Even offering self in death and even rising from the dead was the work of the Holy Spirit.  Because He becomes then the perfect model of the work of the Holy Spirit and the end result of that is a perfect humanity.  And what will it look like?  It will look like Jesus Christ.  That’s why it says when you go to heaven, you’re going to have a body like unto His glorious body, and you’re going to be like Him because you’ll see Him as He is, and the day you see Him as He is, you’ll be made like Him.  That’s the goal.  So what is the purpose of redemption?  To create a humanity that is like Christ.  Not that we are God, we will always be a glorified humanity, but we will be as much like Jesus Christ as glorified humanity can be.  We will be perfect in the image of God in human form.  So God initiated it, Jesus demonstrated it, and the Holy Spirit effects it.  In the end, it is the Holy Spirit who raises us.  We already saw that in this chapter. 

It is the Holy Spirit who raises us.  Verse 11 tells us that.  So He will raise us to glory.  We’ll see more about that in future verses here.  It is the Holy Spirit who raises us to glory and makes us, in the end, like Christ.  We will then be that fully restored, glorious, perfect, righteous, holy humanity forever.  But in the meantime, the Holy Spirit leaves us here so that we can do the work of evangelism, right?  Because we are the source that God has determined to do the work of evangelism, but as long as He leaves us here, He has to get us into the sanctifying process.  That’s 2 Corinthians 3:18, from one level of glory to the next by degree, by degree, by degree.  When you go to heaven, it’s instant, you’re immediately perfect.  In the meantime, it’s a progress done by the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit starts it by giving us birth – we’re born of the Spirit.  He regenerates us.  He is the one who gives us that new life.  He’s the one who rescues us from our corruption and our perversity and our wickedness.  And He’s the one who rescues us from being so hopelessly marred that we should end up on the trash heap of hell forever.  He rescues us, gives us new life, re-creates us.  He is the efficient cause of that, and the instrumental means that He uses is the Scripture.  We are begotten again by the truth.  We are sanctified by the truth.  This is His work, and He will glorify us.  So He regenerates us, sanctifies us, and glorifies us.  He’s the one, in a sense, who delivers to God this perfected, redeemed humanity. 

Now, that’s kind of the big picture.  The Spirit’s work, then, is the restoration of the image of God in man, ultimately in the glory of perfection in heaven when we’re made like Christ.  But in the meantime, in this life, He is committed to moving us by degree from one level of glory to the next, to the next, to the next.  Now, there’s another component in this that I want you to understand as I expand on that idea a little bit.  I’m going to go back through that idea and extend it just a bit. 

If you were to look at the Old Testament and ask the question:  “What does it say about sanctification?” you wouldn’t find anything in the Old Testament that says the goal of sanctification is to make you like Christ because they hadn’t seen Christ, right?  So the word that you need to use when you talk about Old Testament sanctification is godliness – godliness.  The objective of the Old Testament was to have a people who were like God.  In Leviticus, for example – and that’s kind of the key place for this – starting in chapter 11 or even earlier and running all the way through to chapter 20 or so – ten or so chapters – you hear this:  “Be holy for I am holy.”  “Be holy for I am holy.”  “Be holy for I am holy.”  This is repeated and repeated and repeated.  Godliness, be like God, be holy like God is holy.  How does that happen?  Well, Leviticus gives us a critical insight into that in a number of places, but I’ll just use two of them, or one to start with.  Leviticus 20 and verse 8.  In verse 7, there’s that familiar statement:  “Be holy for I am the Lord your God and I’m holy.”  But in verse 8 it says this:  “You shall keep My statutes and practice them.  I’m the Lord who sanctifies you.”

Do you understand what that’s saying?  Sanctification is done by the Lord in a context of obedience.  “You have to know My statutes and practice them.”  So again, the Scripture is the instrumental means by which the Lord sanctified His people, even in the Old Testament.  He gave them His Word, they were to obey His Word, they were to practice what He said, and that is the means by which the Lord sanctified His people. 

In chapter 21 verse 8, he talks about the same thing.  “You shall be holy for I, the Lord who sanctifies you, am holy.”  Again, “I want you holy because I’m holy.”  And “I will sanctify you insofar as you believe and obey My Word.”  The instrumental means of sanctification is the Word. 

Now, let me take it even a step further.  To understand sanctification in the Old Testament, you have to understand one basic truth, and that is this:  God was endeavoring in the process of sanctification by the work of the Holy Spirit to produce a family resemblance in His people, a people who are like God.  In the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, He said this – chapter 5 of Matthew, verse 45:  “Be like your Father who is in heaven.”  If you forgive your enemy, those who harm you, you will be like your Father who is in heaven.  That’s an Old Testament perspective on sanctification.  Be like God.  Be like God. 

Another one in the same sermon – chapter 5 – is this:  “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  If you belong to God, if you are a child of God, there should be a family resemblance, right?  That’s the essence of understanding Old Testament sanctification.  Sanctification in the Old Testament is seen as part of a true covenant relationship to God, and that covenant relationship is a family relationship.  You’ve come into the family of God, and the process of sanctification is designed to make you more and more like your Father.  That’s sanctification in the Old Testament, godlike.  That’s what godliness is.  The goal is the restoration of the divine image. 

Now, what happens in the New Testament is very important but easy to understand.  In the New Testament, the emphasis is not so much be like God, but what?  Be like Christ.  Why?  Is that different?  No.  It is this, that Christ is the perfect representation of what a human being who is totally godlike looks like, right?  This is a human being, fully human and godlike.  John 1:14 again:  “We beheld His glory,” He was like God, He was full of grace and truth.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit.  He makes godly people Christlike people.  Sanctification equals godliness equals Christlikeness.  That’s what holiness is, separating from sin unto godliness, unto Christlikeness. 

So the wondrous reality of a life of Christ lived here on earth is you get to see what godliness looks like, what perfect godliness in a human being looks like.  And that’s the model, and that’s why the apostle Paul said, “Be followers of me as I am of Christ.”  Or Christ says, “Follow Me, I’m the pattern.”  God spoke in time past, revealing Himself through the writers of the Old Testament, but in these last days, Hebrews 1 says, “He’s spoken to us in His Son who is the exact representation of His person.”  So when somebody says to me, “I want to be godly.  What does that look like?”  I say, “It looks exactly like Jesus Christ.”  You want to see godliness in a human form?  Christ.  That’s why we’re told in 2 Corinthians 3:18 to look at the glory of the Lord because that is the standard of holiness and sanctification.  And the Holy Spirit, as that vision becomes clear to us and dominates our minds, will move us from one degree to the next, to the next, to the next, even in this life.  The divine miracle of regeneration is done by the Holy Spirit.  The divine miracle of glorification is done by the Holy Spirit.  And the divine miracle in the middle of sanctification is also done by the Holy Spirit and it is no less miraculous. 

What the Holy Spirit does is He shows us the things of Christ.  Remember Jesus said that in the Upper Room?  He will show you the things of Christ.  Why?  Because it’s only as you look at Christ that you see the full representation of God.  It’s only as you look at Christ you understand what godliness, holiness, sanctification is, and as you gaze on that all-absorbing perfection in human form, that becomes the model and the standard to which the Spirit of God forms you. 

So when somebody says, “I’m anointed by the Holy Spirit,” they ought to look a lot like Christ.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit in every believer.  The goal of the Holy Spirit is to produce sons of God who have a family resemblance who are like their Father and like their Brother, Jesus Christ, who is not ashamed to call them brother.  That’s the goal of the death of Christ and the resurrection.  The goal of the death of Christ, the goal of the resurrection, was to go back to heaven having provided sufficient atonement and send the Holy Spirit.  The goal of the death of Christ, the resurrection, was to send the Holy Spirit for the purpose of regenerating, sanctifying, and glorifying those who believe. 

It’s about family and it’s about family resemblance that we’re talking here, and if you go back with me to Romans 8 – we finally got there – you will see that the main theme here is that the Holy Spirit is doing the work of adoption.  You have the reference to sons of God in verse 14.  You have the reference to adoption as sons in verse 15.  And then you have the reference to sons of God or children of God again in 16.  This is about being in the family, about this covenant relation to God that makes you a member of the family.  And the work of the Holy Spirit is to make you look like the rest of the family, like your Father and like your perfect Brother.  It’s about family likeness. 

It was no less than John Calvin, who had a pretty good grip on theology, who said, “This gift of sonship is the highest privilege of redemption and the primary work of the Holy Spirit.”  John Calvin said this is the primary work of the Holy Spirit.  It is.  Can I be so bold as to say even His work of inspiring the Scripture was a means to accomplishing His work of sanctifying and glorifying a people?  The Scripture is a means to an end and not an end.  This is the end.  It is the highest privilege of redemption to become a son of God, and it is the primary work of the Holy Spirit to make sons of God by regenerating them, glorifying them, and in the middle, sanctifying them so that their testimony is believable.  That’s why we’re here. 

Well, this is powerful and foundational truth.  We should know this.  It’s not only here in Paul’s writing to the Romans, but he makes a similar reference to the urgency and the importance of understanding this at the end of chapter 6 in 2 Corinthians when he says, “‘Come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord” and He’s borrowing that, of course, from Isaiah.  “‘And don’t touch what is unclean and I’ll welcome you and I’ll be a Father to you and you’ll be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord almighty.”  God is making a family.  God is redeeming a family.  God is regenerating a family – listen – who will be able to demonstrate His glory by the image of God that is in them.  In order to restore the image of God, we have to be re-created.  We have to be reborn.  And that’s what regeneration and new birth is all about. 

It will help you, I think, to understand the nature of adoption because you’re probably saying to yourself, “Well, adoption, you know, it talks about that in verse 15, adoption, but adoption is kind of a second-class deal.”  You know, we read in the newspapers about the people who adopt kids and then put them on a plane and ship them back because they don’t want them.  Wow.  And people say this all the time.  You never know what you’re going to get, you know, you can go through the legal deal and you can adopt a child but you can’t change a child’s heart.  So you get what you get.  And it may not work out very well and adopted children may turn out to be a disaster and a terror in the home, et ceteraet ceteraet cetera, because you can’t really control what they are in the inside.  You can do all the legal work on the outside. 

You need to understand that the way the Bible talks about adoption is so complete and so comprehensive that it shuts out all those criticisms, and I’ll explain that to you.  In the 1st century, if you were adopted, that didn’t make you a second-class child, that made you a first-class child.  And this is basic, okay?  In all honesty, when you have babies in your family, you get what you get.  Right?  You might look at one kid and say, “Wow, we could use a little more brain power there.  We could use a little less rebellion there.  We could use a little patience there.  But we got what we got.”  And I talk to enough parents to know that if they had been given a list of what they wanted, they might have been happy to put it in if they knew it would get the results they could expect.  And that’s why, actually, today people who go to those banks and buy sperm want sort of a genetic profile because they want to orchestrate the kind of kid they’re going to have, they want to sort of manage that.  But I mean reality is you get what you get.  And that’s okay because you understand that, you love those children.  But in the ancient world, if you adopted somebody, you were adopting a son, in most cases.  It wasn’t rescuing kids from the street, they didn’t adopt kids off the street as a rescue operation.  You adopted a son because you found somebody who exceeded in capability the ones that you had.  This is first-class stuff.  An adopted son was deliberately chosen by an adopting father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate. 

This might be how you dealt with a delinquent.  You just adopted a noble young man to become your son.  No way was that adopted son inferior.  On occasions it might have been a daughter, but for the most part it was a son because they were the ones to whom the estate and responsibility passed.  This would be typical.  You chose this son because of his superior ability to represent the family, to manage the family’s future, and to inherit the family’s estate.  This adopted son may well have been the apple of his father’s eye, the joy of his father’s heart.  He may have received the best of his father’s affection and education more so than a born son and may have even demonstrated his father’s virtue and his father’s training more perfectly than the others. 

The whole point of the picture is to say this:  You’ve been adopted.  That’s a divine choice.  Not because before you were adopted you were so noble that God couldn’t continue to keep His kingdom in motion without you.  By sovereign, divine choice, God preferred you and He preferred me.  Free, voluntary election.  It’s an amazing thing. 

Let me tell you how it worked.  A Roman adoption was a very formal event.  It was difficult because in the Roman law, there was this rule called patria potestas, the father’s power.  That’s Latin.  And the father’s power meant that he had absolute power over the family.  He had absolute right to dispose of his children in the early stages of the Roman Empire, kill his children if he wanted, absolute control over them.  In regard to a Roman son, he never came of age in the sense that he ever had any independence from his father’s power.  No matter how old he was, no matter if he was married, he was always under the absolute power of his father.  If you were a son or a daughter, you were under absolute possession, absolute control by your father. 

This made adoption very difficult because if you found a son that you wanted, you wanted because you could use him in your business, in your estate, in your family, for the well-being of your family’s future, how you going to get the other father to let him go?  If he’s a noble enough son for you to want him so much, how is that going to happen?  Well, some negotiations were involved in that.  He had to formally pass out of the patria potestas of the man to whom he was born and pass into the patria potestas of the adoptive father.  Two steps.  Interesting.  Step number one was called mancipatio, from which we get emancipation. 

Mancipatio was carried out by a symbolic sale.  A symbolic sale, actually, in which scales and pieces of copper were used, and three times a little ceremony went on.  Three times there was a symbolic sale.  Here’s the boy, and the money was placed on the scale.  First time, the father would then take him back and say, “No, no.”  And then he would do it again, and the money would be put on the scale, and he would take him back again.  And this was to demonstrate reluctance and to communicate that he wasn’t just throwing this child away – this son away.  Third time, however, he didn’t take him back, and he was emancipated from the patria potestas of his birth father. 

Then there followed a ceremony called vindicatio.  The adopting father would go the praetor, who would be the Roman official or magistrate, present a legal case for the transference of the son from one family to the next.  When it was all complete, adoption was complete.  Very formal. 

Now, here’s what happened.  This is important.  Four very important things took place.  One, the adopted person lost all rights in his former family.  Had no rights, had no existence in that former family, and he gained all the rights of his new family.  Couldn’t go back and try to get something from his former family.  All was completely cut off from the past, and he had all the rights of a fully legitimate son in his new family. 

Secondly, he became heir to his new father’s estate.  He became heir to his new father’s estate.  That’s why this was done.  And when he became an heir to his new father’s estate, even afterward, if other sons were born, they could make no claim against it because they were natural-born sons.  It didn’t affect the adopted son’s rights. 

Thirdly, the old life of the adopted person – listen to this – was completely obliterated.  It was as if he never lived.  All his debts were cancelled on the spot.  All his records were obliterated.  It was as if he was born the day he was adopted.  Everything else went out of existence.  He was like a new person who just started his life. 

And fourthly, in the eyes of the law, the adopted person was permanently and absolutely the son of his new father.  Does that sound like salvation to you?  That’s exactly what it is depicting, this concept of adoption.  All our rights to our former family and our former father, the devil, are cancelled.  We gain all the rights, fully legitimate sons in our new family, heirs of Christ, joint heirs with Christ of all that the Father possesses.  We are the inheritors of His estate.  Everything from our old life is wiped out, right?  Isn’t the debt that was against us cancelled at the cross?  And aren’t we the true sons, everlastingly the true sons of our new Father?

This is amazingly beautiful.  And if you’re still bothered a little bit by the fact that this seems still to be somewhat superficial, let me help you with that.  You can adopt a child, but you have to realize that when you adopt a child, you can’t change their nature, that child’s nature.  And we see that kind of problem all the time.  “Well, we adopted this child thinking the best and this kid is incorrigible, this kid is rebellious, this kid is angry, this kid is” – you make up the letters, ADD, ADHD, bipolar, psychotic – whatever.  And, you know, you went through all the deal to figure out the legal aspect of this thing, but you couldn’t change the heart.  That’s where the biblical work of the Spirit of God is so different from adoption.  Listen, we become sons by adoption but we also become sons by regeneration.  Adoption gives us the name and the title and the rights, regeneration gives us the nature of our new family, the spiritual genetics of our new family. 

The emphasis on adoption is to show that we were chosen.  And it’s the analogy that all the past is cancelled.  It’s as if we were born again and just started to live.  That’s why adoption is such an important thing because it speaks of selection, election, choice.  And then it speaks of cancelling everything in the past and a new family but not to the exclusion of regeneration.  Adoption confers the name and the title; regeneration confers the nature.  In other words, we now have become not just adoptive children but partakers of the divine nature.  It’s a staggering thing.  And the Holy Spirit is doing all of this – all of this. 

Now, let’s look at these three verses.  You know where we’re going to go with it. so that’s fine.  How does the Holy Spirit demonstrate this adoption?  One, by leading us, all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  Or flip it over, whoever is a son of God is being led by the Holy Spirit.  The first mark of adoptive sons is they’re led by the Holy Spirit.  They’re led by the Holy Spirit.  They’re directed by the Holy Spirit.  Their lives are controlled by the Holy Spirit.  We are introduced to this marvelous reality that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives and internally, He is directing us.  He doesn’t lead by violence – listen – He doesn’t lead by violence, He leads by inclination.  He generates in us inclination, bending, changing our will, changing our desires, changing our longings, changing our affections, shifting our interests.  This is miraculous and this is part of what it is to be a partaker of the divine nature.  We love what the divine nature loves, all of a sudden.  We love the law of God, Paul says in Romans 7; we delight in the law of God, Psalm 119 – 175 times, David says it.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit. 

How does He lead us?  Two ways.  Externally, by the Scripture – externally, by the Scripture, Psalm 119:18:  “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.”  Show me the truth of Scripture.  Externally by Scripture, internally by sanctification.  Those two ways.  Externally, Scripture; internally, sanctification. 

What do you mean, the Spirit stirs the heart?  I don’t know – that’s a miracle category, right?  That’s the miraculous.  You’re a living miracle.  It wasn’t just a miracle that you’re saved, it’s a miracle that you’re being sanctified, and it’s a miracle when you’re glorified.  You know the miracle of glorification.  You know when you leave here and go to heaven and you receive a glorified body and you’re in the presence of the Lord, that miracle nobody would argue about.  And we understand the miracle of regeneration.  But the miracle of sanctification is equally miraculous because you’re being moved from one degree of glory to the next, to the next by the Holy Spirit.  Externally, His instrumental means is the Scripture, and internally, He works to sanctify you. 

That’s why David prays in Psalm 143:10:  “Teach me to do Your will.”  “Teach me to do Your will.  Be my internal teacher.”  Or Psalm 119:35:  “Make me to go in the path of Your commandments.”  “Make me go that way,” and that’s what the Holy Spirit does.  Or Psalm 119:  “Order my steps in Your Word.”  “Shove me that way.”  That internal work of the Holy Spirit whose temple we are.  Verb tenses, we are being led, it’s all the time, all the time, all the time, constant.  Being led by the Spirit is not a moment of ecstasy, it’s not some kind of moment of emotional elation.  It’s a way of life – invisible miracle, conforming you more and more to Christlikeness by bending your will and your desires in that direction. 

Second thing the Holy Spirit does is give you intimate access to God.  Verse 15:  “You have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again.”  When you were an unregenerate person, when the image of God was so marred that you were doomed for the trash heap of the universe, the trash heap of eternity in hell, you lived in fear.  You lived in dread.  You lived in the anticipation of judgment.  You were in bondage to sin; therefore, you were in bondage to guilt, anxiety, fear, trepidation, judgment.  That’s how you lived. 

What happened when you were regenerated and the Spirit began a work of sanctification is this:  You received a spirit of adoption or perhaps better, the Spirit of adoption, which some theologians say is the supreme name for the Holy Spirit.  If you wanted to take the name of all names to give the Holy Spirit, He should be called the Spirit of adoption because it is His work of bringing us into the family and conforming us to the family resemblance that dominates what God has given Him to do, what the Father has given Him to do.  We have in – by the Holy Spirit, you can’t decide whether it’s speaking about the Holy Spirit or the human spirit, it can be either one, but I like to think it’s both.  It is the Spirit of adoption who gives us a Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry, “Abba, Father.”  You didn’t just rush into the presence of an infinitely holy God and say, “Papa.”  That’s what Abba means, Papa.  That kind of intimacy with God?  That would shake the Jews to their sandals.  “What?  God is distant and holy and here comes this person rushing in, ‘Papa, Papa, Abba Father.’”  There’s no fear, right?  There’s no fear.  You have intimate access. 

One of the great joys, the great joy, I guess, in some ways of being a grandfather is that amazing, unhindered, unrestrained affection that comes from grandchildren.  Some people think I’m an important person; they don’t.  Some people think I’m hard to get to know; they don’t.  Some people think you should kind of keep your distance; they don’t.  Is there anything more precious than little children running up and throwing their arms around you as a parent or a grandparent in those times of basically unlimited, unhindered, unquestioning affection?  “Papa.”  They come flying at me from every direction.  And that’s exactly what we have here.  There’s a sense in which we just rush in without fear to the presence of God because the Holy Spirit has made us sons by birth and sons by adoption with all full access to the Father. 

There’s a third ministry of the Holy Spirit in this work of sonship and that is not only is He leading us and giving us intimate access but He’s assuring us.  He gives us assurance.  Verse 16:  “The Holy Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.”  He testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.  The Holy Spirit comes to us, takes up residence in us, and confirms to our hearts that we belong to God. 

Let me tell you where this comes from.  In the adoption process in ancient Rome, seven witnesses had to be there.  Seven witnesses.  Seven eyewitnesses of the transaction in its fullness.  Why?  Well, what happens when the father dies and all the born children resent the adopted son who is the heir?  There’s going to be a battle.  And so the children who are born to the father are going to say, “He’s not legitimate, he’s making an illegitimate claim,” and somewhere there will be seven people who were eyewitnesses to this very legal transaction who can affirm the truthfulness and legitimacy of that. 

We don’t need seven.  We just need one, the Holy Spirit who has sealed us to the day of redemption, which means we are protected until the day of redemption.  No one can ever take our inheritance, it’s reserved and set apart for us, as Peter says, right?  Undefiled and laid up in heaven for you.  The Holy Spirit is the seal, the Holy Spirit is the arrabon, the engagement ring, the guarantee, and the Holy Spirit is the first fruits.  In other words, the guarantee of the full inheritance.  That is what verse 16 is saying.  He testifies with us that we are the children of God.  He bears witness along with our spirit.  There is an internal confidence that all is well.  This, in a word, is called hope.  We have a strong hope, don’t we?  And that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, to give us that strong hope. 

I don’t live daily fearing I might not make it to heaven.  Never enters my mind.  Why?  Because the internal witness of the Holy Spirit gives me hope – gives me hope.  If you were a child out in the streets or in a very difficult, abusive, perishing family, what you would want would be someone who would lead you and guide you in the right way, someone who would take all the fear out of your life, all the anxiety out of your life, and have all the resources that you could ever hope for, ever need, and far more, and somebody who would assure you of a future.  If you could find somebody like that, that would make an adoptive child happy. 

Well, you have that and more because that is what God promises you, and not only does He take you in by adoption, but He changes your nature, and then He begins to make you look like the Father and the Brother, Christ Himself.  This is the blessed work of the Holy Spirit.  Nothing less gives Him the honor He is due than to understand this.

Father we have been blessed this morning in so many ways, to know each other and fellowship with each other and sing together and listen to the beauty of such glorious, rapturous music, and now to be put in touch with these profound and wonderful truths that speak to us about us.  How blessed are we.  How unimaginably blessed are we and it’s all by grace.  We thank You, we bless Your name, and we pray, teach me, O Lord, to do Your will, along with David.  Bend me that way, O Holy Spirit, incline my heart that way.  Control my affections, my desires, my longings.  Move me from one level of glory to the next, to the next, so that I might reflect the glory of God in an image of God, restored through the work of regeneration until the day of glorification.  Thank You for such a high calling and such an amazing gift.  You’ve not only given us Christ, Father, but You’ve given us the Spirit, to make us a living and growing, progressing miracle.  May we ever be thankful to you, O blessed Holy Spirit, for this work.  Thank You for living in us and effecting this.  We are unworthy, we acknowledge that, but we are profoundly grateful.  And may it be that the work that You are doing will be manifest to those around us so that they can look at us and see Christ.  And we pray in His name.  Amen.

https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/90-420/the-spirit-of-adoption

Republicans ‘significantly higher’ on Bible engagement than Democrats, independents: study

By Brandon Showalter, CP Reporter

The vast majority of Americans, regardless of their political affiliation, support the preservation of single-sex spaces and women’s sports as female-only, a new survey has found. 

The poll, which was conducted by Spry Strategies on behalf of Women’s Liberation Front, found that a majority of likely voters in the 2020 election object to “gender identity” policies, including the Equality Act, which passed in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives last year.

The proposed federal bill is an update to the 1964 Civil Rights Act — considered by many to be the legislative legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. — that would redefine sex to include self-declared gender and thus remove distinctly sex-based protections in spaces such as prisons, shelters, and athletics.

Sampled nationally from all 50 states, the 3,500 likely voters were comprised of different races, ethnicities, and political affiliations. The poll results found that black and Hispanic voters approve of such things as single-sex prisons and homeless shelters, at a higher rate than whites. 

In response to the question: “Do you think men who are sex offenders or domestic abusers should be allowed to serve their sentences in women’s prisons,” 66.93% of those polled strongly disagreed. An additional 10.44% said they merely disagreed.

Regarding transgender-identifying males being allowed to compete in girls’ and women’s sports, nearly 67% of respondents indicated that they either disagreed or strongly disagreed with it.

Just under 60% of likely voters opposed allowing males to enter women’s restrooms and changing facilities.

The survey also asked whether children younger than 18 who identify as transgender should be allowed to undergo medicalized gender-transition such as taking hormones that cause sterility or cosmetic gender surgeries to appear as the opposite sex.

Two-thirds of respondents disapproved, most of them strongly.

“The poll also revealed that … the wealthiest Americans (those with household incomes over $150,000) are the most likely to support these policies which are largely unpopular with middle-class voters,” WoLF noted in a summation about the survey on its website.

“These results indicate that those most likely to actually be impacted by gender identity policies (poor or working-class families and people of color) are more likely to oppose them.”

Those sampled from May 1, 2018, to Oct. 20, 2020, said they had voted in at least two of the last four election cycles or were newly registered voters. The data was modeled after the 2016 General Election voter turnout, which is the anticipated model for the 2020 cycle.

The latest poll is commensurate with similar findings released in September in which likely voters were surveyed in Idaho, a conservative state that adopted a bill banning trans-identified males from competing in women’s sports, and California, a progressive state.

The Spry Strategies poll, conducted in conjunction with WoLF, showed that opposition to males in girls’ sports had significant cross-partisan backing.

Some 79% of likely voters in Idaho, and 74% of likely voters in California, agreed that boys and men, regardless of how they identify, ought not to be permitted to participate in female-only sporting competitions, the survey found.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/over-60-of-likely-voters-oppose-gender-transition-for-kids.html


Related

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/biden-plan-will-increase-abortions-decimate-religious-charity.html

VIDEO When does human life begin?

TrueLife.org

When human life begins is a question that has been the focus of a lot of controversy and debate, especially in recent times. One of the main reasons for this is because it is directly related to the abortion debate. It would be impossible to determine if abortion is morally right or wrong, or whether or not it should be legal without first determining when human life begins.

To begin with, it is important to understand what specific question is being asked by “When does human life begin?”  It could mean,  “When does biological life begin?” It could also mean,  “When do human organisms attain basic human rights or value?” The second question is philosophical as it deals with the rights and value of the organism. However, when biological life begins is a purely scientific issue.

Biologically, the answer is clear. Life begins at conception. But what proof is there of this?  Consider these logical points: If the unborn is growing, it must be alive. Dead things do not grow. From the moment of conception, a human fetus grows through cellular reproduction and division. Also, during later stages of development, the human fetus can react to external stimuli and metabolize food for energy.  Have you ever heard of something that is not alive that can react to external stimuli or metabolize food for energy? If you find yourself thinking, “Sure… but animals and trees are alive also!” you would be right! Life exists in many forms, but here, the focus is on human life.

If the parents of the unborn organism in question are human beings, wouldn’t that make the unborn being in question also human? The Law of Biogenesis states that each living thing reproduces after its own kind. It is clearly true that two human parents can’t produce something that is not human.  Also, it is impossible for human parents to produce something that it is not initially human but only becomes human at a later point in time.  Te only option left is that the unborn fetus conceived by two human parents must be human.  It could not be a tree, or another kind of animal.  The unborn child has the DNA that is completely unique to the human species. All credible embryology textbooks will confirm this. For example, Langman’s  Medical Embryology, 12th Edition states, “Development begins at fertilization, the process by which male gamete, the sperm, and the female gamete, the oocyte, unite to give rise to a zygote” (pg. 10).

Despite this line of reasoning, there are some that argue that while the fetus of human parents is indeed human tissue with human DNA, the fetus is no different than the sperm or eggs that also contain human DNA.  But this view is obviously not correct. There is clearly a  scientific difference between the two. It is true that sperm and eggs are made up of human substance and DNA, but they are not a whole complete human organism. In fact, a sperm and an egg are only functional parts of male and female organisms. At the moment of fertilization, the sperm and the egg no longer  exist and a new and unique organism begins to exist. Also, after the time of fertilization, there is no additional DNA or essential material that is added to the unborn fetus.  

So despite what some would say, there is a clear scientific argument for when life actually begins.  But what does the Bible say about when life begins? Does the Bible go against science? There are certainly many who argue that this is the case, But these individuals are incorrect.  The Bible doesn’t, and never has,  contradicted true science.  On the contrary, The Bible actually validates true science.  According to God and His Word, human life begins at conception, just as we observe in biology.

There are several biblical passages that unmistakably show that God views unborn babies as human beings. Unborn babies are called “children,” the same word used for already born infants and young children (Luke 1:41, 44; 2:12, 16; Exod. 21:22). The unborn are created by God (Ps. 139:13) just as God created Adam and Eve in His image (Gen. 1:27). The life of the unborn is protected by the same punishment for injury or death as that of an adult (Exod. 21:22; Gen. 9:6). Unborn children possess personal emotions such as joy that are distinctive to humans (Luke1:44) .  Personal pronouns are also used to describe unborn children (Jer. 1:5; Matt. 1:20-21). Finally, the unborn are known personally and intimately by God just as He knows all other people (Ps. 139:15-16; Jer. 1:5).

What about those that claim that while God does consider the unborn to be humans, they are not alive humans until sometime after conception (more specifically after birth)? The most common passage used to support this is Genesis 2:7 which says, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” These individuals argue that the unborn do not become a “living being” until they are born because it was at birth that God ‘breathed” the breath of life into them. However, this line of thought is built on a couple of serious logical errors.  

First, the creation of Adam and Eve was a intensely unique situation.  Adam was the only human who was ever created with a mature body from the dust of the earth.  Eve was equally unique being created from Adam’s rib. Because these verses apply specifically to that unique situaiton, they can’t be applied to unborn children.  Second, the Bible describes humans as being alive in the womb before birth, even at the moment of conception. For example, Psalm 51:5 describes King David being alive at the moment of conception. In this passage, the Psalmist writes “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” Further, Matthew 1:20 states, “But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’” In addition, while it is true that an unborn baby does not breathe in one sense, the process of breathing through the transfer of oxygen from the mother does occur. It is simply a different way to “breathe.”

When all these things are considered, it is clear that both biology and the Bible support the scientific truth that human life does indeed begin at conception. This is a very important truth. But why? Because, as Greg Koukl (a Christian apologist) once said, before you can answer the question, “Can I kill this,” you must first answer the all-important question, “what is it?” This could not be more true than it is in the debate surrounding abortion. How can anyone truly know whether it is morally right or wrong to kill the unborn unless we first know what it that is being killed? If human life begins at conception, it can be safely concluded that killing the unborn in an abortion, whether surgically, or chemically, is morally wrong.    

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

— ONLINE RESOURCES —

Life Training Institute – http://prolifetraining.com

Stand to Reason – http://www.str.org/Search?q=abortion

Abortion Unfiltered – http://www.abort73.com

— PRINT RESOURCES —

Randy Alcorn – ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments (http://amzn.com/1576737519)

Scott Klusendorf – The Case For Life (http://amzn.com/B00294YEJI)

— MEDIA RESOURCES —

Greg Koukl- Making Abortion Unthinkable (DVD) (http://amzn.com/193083604X)

https://www.truelife.org/answers/when-does-human-life-begin


When Does Life begin?



Related

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/caring-from-conception/

VIDEO Fox Says ‘Yes’ to Drag Queens, ‘No’ to Abortion Survivors in Super Bowl Ads

Jan 30, 2020  Steve Warren

After Fox Sports declined to air a pro-life advocacy group’s television commercial during the Super Bowl this Sunday, Dr. James Dobson, the founder and president of the James Dobson Family Institute, asked the network, “Why are you saying ‘yes’ to drag queens and ‘no’ to abortion survivors?”

As CBN News reported, Lyric Gillett, director of Faces of Choice and producer of the ad, claimed earlier this week that Fox is essentially censoring their commercial after stringing her group along since last July.

According to the Washington Times, Fox said they did not accept the commercial because their ad spaces sold out early. Yet just six days ago, the network announced it had additional ad slots available, according to Variety.

“Fox’s response would have been acceptable in November but we have been working with their legal team since July, so executives claiming ad space was not available is intentionally deceptive. And it’s such an uninventive excuse to say they ran out of space, which is easily disprovable,” Gillet said in a statement. “Faces of Choice provided every answer and documentation the legal team requested, and though the network has every right to decide which advertisers to accept, stringing along an eager advertiser who met every demand is professionally shady.”

“The ad features several people who survived abortions, a part of the population whose voices are rarely heard, so what bigger stage to allow them to speak than on a Super Bowl commercial?” Gillet continued. “In an era where voices that have previously been silenced are allowed to be heard, this particular rejection by Fox Sports seems like a more calculated decision to deem abortion survivors worthy of being ignored.”

She also announced her group has already started discussions with CBS for airing a commercial in the network’s presentation of the Super Bowl in 2021.

Watch Faces of Choice’s television commercial below: 

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, weighed in on the issue, warning families they might want to have their remote control ready.  A commercial for Sabra hummus will feature a pair of drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

“This year, families may want to rethink their plans, or at least keep the remote close at hand. I’ve learned that on Sunday, Fox plans to broadcast a commercial featuring drag queens. I hope I don’t need to explain to parents why their young children might be troubled or confused at the sight of men dressed up as women,” he said in a statement.

“It amazes me that Fox would choose to transform the Super Bowl from a family-friendly event into an opportunity to promote a gender ideology that goes against the most basic biological realities, as well as the sincerely held religious beliefs of millions of Americans. To say I’m disappointed would be a huge understatement,” Dobson added.

“What’s worse, news reports suggest that Fox has refused to approve a pro-life commercial produced by Faces of Choice for Super Bowl Sunday, one in which abortion survivors tell the world that they are precious human beings who deserve a chance to participate in the ultimate contest – life,” he continued. “So there you have it. Fox has said ‘yes’ to drag queens and ‘no’ to abortion survivors. Celebrating sexual fantasy while denying the value of every life… could the soul of America be any more lost?”

“I urge you to make your voices heard. Contact Fox and demand that they prioritize family entertainment and the value of life over harmful gender ideology and sexual fantasy. Also, please consider signing the My Faith Votes petition in support of Faces of Choice,” Dobson noted.

“There is such a thing as truth. Let’s stand for it,” he concluded.

The last time a commercial with a pro-life message aired in the Super Bowl was ten years ago. The commercial featured then-college quarterback Tim Tebow, whose mother rejected a doctor’s advice to have an abortion after she contracted amoebic dysentery. The ad sponsored by Focus on the Family did not include the words “abortion or pro-life” in it. However, CBS received furious responses from pro-choice groups over its decision to air the commercial.

Did you know?

God is everywhere—even in the news. That’s why we view every news story through the lens of faith. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust.

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2020/january/dr-dobson-asks-why-fox-says-yes-to-drag-queens-no-to-abortion-survivors-in-super-bowl-ads/


VIDEO The War to Destroy Christian America

David Horowitz’s new book examines the secular left’s dark agenda.

 

Mar 6, 2019 Mark Tapson

Today, the free exercise of religion has ceased to be a guaranteed right in America. Instead, it has become a battlefield. – David Horowitz

For years, Morris County in New Jersey had been giving historic churches money to make repairs under an historic preservation program. In 2015, the State Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer funds should not be used to repair places of worship. A challenge to this ruling recently went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that “[b]arring religious organizations because they are religious from a general historic-preservation grants program is pure discrimination against religion.” This “would raise serious questions under this Court’s precedents and the Constitution’s fundamental guarantee of equality.”

This seems like a relatively minor, local issue but it is yet another instance of the fierce conflict referred to in Horowitz’s quote above. As the Freedom Center’s founder notes in his brand new book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, we are engaged in “a war against this nation and its founding principles: the equality of individuals and individual freedom. For these principles are indisputably Christian in origin. They are under siege because they are insurmountable obstacles to radicals’ totalitarian ambition to create a new world in their image.”

Those totalitarian radicals are today’s progressives. “Since its birth in the fires of the French Revolution,” Horowitz writes, “the political left has been at war with religion, and with the Christian religion in particular.” He knows this from personal experience. As a “red-diaper baby,” he learned early on that his parents and their leftist friends were true believers in a faith, but not one concerned with the fate of souls. The label “progressivism” masked their true religion, which was Communism, and their “cause was the salvation of mankind” – but “they thought of themselves as the redeemers, not God.”

As Horowitz demonstrates in his slim but compelling and disturbing new volume, the left’s ruthless antagonism toward Christianity stems from its own arrogant determination to shape the world according to atheist Karl Marx’s utopian vision of perfect equality and social justice (with Edenic environmental harmony thrown in for good measure). “Those who believe they are changing the world, or saving the planet, or transforming the human race,” Horowitz writes, “are intoxicated with self-aggrandizing pride.” Those afflicted with this arrogance, such as the so-called New Atheists like political comedian Bill Maher, condemn the violence and bigotry spread in the name of religion (especially Christianity; Islam is usually off-limits to condemnation partly because it shares an anti-Western animosity with the left, and partly because open criticism of Islam tends to get the critic targeted for death). But they “are blind to all the positive influences religion has had on human behavior, and they ignore all the atheist-inspired genocides of the last 250 years,” Horowitz writes. He rightly points out that the danger lies not in religion but in human nature; it is our flawed humanity that sometimes poisons religion, not the other way around.

The left, however, is loath to acknowledge this because human nature is messy and incompatible with their utopianism; thus it must be either ignored, denied, or forcefully molded to fit the glorious collectivist dream. Similarly, our nation’s Christian roots must be denied or cut off to pave the way for the realization of that dream. Horowitz explains, for example, that “America is the logical, if not inevitable, development of the Protestant Reformation,” which “led directly to the principle at the heart of the Declaration of Independence, that ‘all men are created equal’ and endowed with rights by their Creator – rights no government has the authority to deny.”

But the statist left demands this authority for itself, so it seized upon the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to undermine American religious traditions, and found a willing instrument in an activist Supreme Court: “In one despotic decision after another, the Supreme Court inflated the Establishment Clause while letting all the air out of the Free Exercise protection. Again and again, the High Court jammed its radical redefinition of the First Amendment down the throat of an unwilling, unready society.”

“Once the left had built a wall of separation between church and state,” Horowitz continues, “it had to change history and make the past conform to the present.” Thus, for example, schools and textbooks began to reflect a de-emphasis on our Christian roots, such as referring to the early Pilgrims as merely “settlers” or “European colonizers.”

Horowitz identifies the weaponized Supreme Court as the principal villain in this drama:

In case after case – religious expression in schools, contraception, abortion – the Supreme Court handed down a string of earthshaking decisions founded on the flimsiest and even bogus constitutional reasoning. The unintended consequence of these decisions was to place the Supreme Court on the front lines of an epic culture war. It was not merely a war between left and right, but between secularism and religion, especially the Christian religion. The secular left had discovered an all-powerful instrument – the Supreme Court – with which it could impose its radical, anti-Christian agenda on an unwilling nation.

The cast of characters in Dark Agenda includes the rabidly anti-Christian activist Madelyn Murry (later O’Hair), who filed a lawsuit against school prayer which Horowitz calls “the Fort Sumter of the war over religious liberty.” Murray shrewdly found an ally in the Supreme Court, and the rest is history: “A circus put on by a calculating, truth-challenged anti-American crackpot, egged on by ACLU radicals, provided an opportunity for eight lifetime political appointees, elected by no one and accountable to no one, to reinterpret the Constitution, overturn nearly two centuries of precedent and tradition, and change the life of a nation.”

Horowitz also tells the tale of eugenicist Margaret Sanger, a feminist icon who declared in her manifesto Woman and the New Race that women could be liberated from what feminists perceived to be the bonds of motherhood by means of “reproductive freedom,” and may, “by controlling birth, lift motherhood to the plane of a voluntary, intelligent function, and remake the world.” [Emphasis added] Sanger strove to implement her aims by promoting the previously socially unacceptable tools of contraception and abortion.

Horowitz describes how, in order to get the Supreme Court to legalize abortion, feminists sought a sacrificial lamb, a woman whose case would be compelling enough to assure legal victory. That lamb was Norma McCorvey, manipulated into serving as the “Jane Roe” of the immeasurably damaging Roe v. Wade decision (McCorvey never actually had an abortion and became an anti-abortion advocate).

The cast also includes Horowitz’s friend Christopher Hitchens, the New Atheist author of God is Not Great; constitutionalist Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, infamously demonized by Ted Kennedy and the anti-Christian left; Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker the left tried to destroy because he refused to compromise his Christian beliefs by baking a wedding cake for a gay couple; and of course, former president Barack Obama, whom one faith-based website declared “America’s Most Biblically Hostile U.S. President.”

Today, after eight years of Obama’s relentless castigation of Christian institutions and individuals as bigoted (Horowitz even provides a timeline of hostile acts toward people of Biblical faith during Obama’s tenure), President Donald Trump has been embraced by the religious right despite Trump’s problematic personal character because, as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council put it, “My support for Trump has never been based upon shared values; it is based on shared concerns.” Predictably, in its obsessive hatred for Christianity and for the upstart political outsider who “stole” the White House from progressive icon (and Saul Alinsky protégé) Hillary Clinton, the left set out to delegitimize Trump by claiming the religious right’s backing is grounded in racism.

This critical front of the culture war that has riven our country still rages. David Horowitz’s Dark Agenda is a must-read for every citizen who wants to understand, and to fight back against, the radically secular drift of our country and the assault on America’s core values, traditions, and freedoms.

Mark Tapson is the Shillman Fellow on Popular Culture at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2019/03/war-destroy-christian-america-mark-tapson/


David Horowitz: The War to Destroy Christian America


In The Fullness Of Time

What Christmas means for us now and in the age to come


BY CHARLES F. STANLEY

 

One of the wonders of the Christmas story is the detail Scripture provides. It’s tempting to limit the scope of God’s plan, reducing it to nativity plays or tidy scenes on greeting cards, but we should never overlook the bigger picture of what He was doing in the world at that time. The apostle Paul sums it up in one verse: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Let’s step back and examine that first Christmas from God’s perspective.

 

How did He bring it all together to accomplish His divine purpose? Take a look at Galatians 4:4-7: “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

 

“But when the fullness of time came.” We might easily pass over this phrase, which feels abstract and difficult to grasp. But it’s important because it signifies that there were key events and much preparation behind the exact timing of Jesus’ birth.

Some people think that God is up in heaven watching and reacting as human history unfolds, but that notion is contrary to Scripture. Psalm 103:19 says, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” Nothing surprises Him or is out of His control. In fact, before the heavens and earth were created, God’s plan to reconcile humanity was already in place (1 Peter 1:19-20).

Before the heavens and earth were created, God’s plan to reconcile humanity was already in place.

The Scriptures chronicle the working of God’s hand as He sovereignly brings events into alignment with His will. Genesis 3 explains that reconciliation with God is needed because the entire human race has been corrupted by Adam and Eve’s sin. Yet immediately after confronting them, the Lord promised to bring deliverance through the seed of a woman (Gen. 3:15). Then He chose Abraham as the ancestor of the One through whom He would bless the entire world (Gen. 12:1-3). From among Israel’s 12 sons, He chose a ruler to come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). Centuries later, God selected David to be the one through whom a King would arise, whose kingdom would never end (2 Samuel 7:16). As the time of Christ’s coming drew near, the Lord used a Roman emperor named Caesar Augustus to send Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill His prophecy that the King would come from this small town (Micah 5:2). Then, Jesus arrived in the fullness of time.

 

“God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” From an earthly perspective, Jesus’ birth seemed ordinary, but in reality He was sent from God. He had no earthly father but was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Mary was told by an angel that her baby would be called “the Son of the Most High” and would rule on the throne of David forever (Luke 1:32-33). Although Jesus was truly God, He was also truly human. That’s why Isaiah describes this event as both the birth of a child and the giving of a son (Luke 9:6).

Although Jesus was truly God, He was also truly human.

The virgin birth was essential for the incarnation. Jesus was the promised “seed of the woman” who would crush Satan’s head and reconcile mankind to God (Gen. 3:15). This victory required the Son of God to be fully human while at the same time having no sin nature, and then to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.

 

“Born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law.” What does it mean to be “born under the Law”? Although this phrase describes the Jewish people, who as a nation were under obligation to obey the Law of Moses, it can also be applied to all of us because we all fall short and are under God’s condemnation.

Yet Jesus perfectly obeyed the law of God in word, thought, and deed. Thus having shown full obedience to His Father by living a perfect life, He was able to become the spotless Lamb of God—the one who could bear the sins of mankind. And in so doing, He was able to redeem those who believe in Him and trust in the sacrifice He made on their behalf.

 

“That we might receive the adoption as sons.” This is the glorious reality for everyone who has been redeemed by Jesus Christ: We become children of God and members of His family. Through salvation, we who “were by nature children of wrath” have become the beloved children of God (Eph. 2:3) and are placed under His divine protection and provision.

Adoption gives us a new name and identity in Christ, a relationship with God the Father, a new companion in the Holy Spirit, and a family of brothers and sisters in the church. As a result, we are now called to live a new way—to walk as children of Light, learn what is pleasing to God, and abstain from the deeds of darkness He hates (Eph. 5:8-11). Although we may stumble along the way, we never have to fear that we’ll be thrown out of the family. Our heavenly Father may discipline us, but He will never revoke our adoption.

Although we may stumble along the way, we never have to fear that we’ll be thrown out of the family.

But the plan isn’t completed yet. One day Jesus will come again at God’s ordained time for His return. Then He will “transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” (Phil. 3:21) and take us home to the Father’s house (John 14:3). This is when we, along with all our brothers and sisters in Christ, will enter into the fullness of our adoption and receive our imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance that has been reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). So this year, let’s look beyond the marvelous details of the Christmas story and anticipate our glorious destiny upon His return. What a celebration that will be.

 

REFLECT

Have you ever tried to plan a big event? If so, you understand how complicated it can be. Every step needs to be completed in a precise way, by specific people, at the right time. Now consider the details and timing with which God brought His Son into the world. It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Yet God in His sovereignty and omniscience orchestrated His plan perfectly, without any confusion or worry.

Could you possibly doubt that God is doing the same in your life? As you look back, can you trace His hand guiding, protecting, and providing for you? Think about the events that led to your salvation. What situation did He use to open your eyes? Did the Lord place certain people in the right place at just the right time to help you understand how to be saved? Since God did so much to bring you to salvation, won’t you trust Him to lead you the rest of the way?

If you are an adopted child of God, you are in an enviable position—even if your circumstances tempt you to believe otherwise. When life gets difficult and painful, remember that you aren’t fully home yet. A glorious future awaits!

 

PRAY

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be my Savior and for adopting me as Your child. Teach me to live in a manner worthy of my new identity so that I may bring honor to Your name. Help me to fix my hope completely on the grace that is mine when Christ returns rather than on my own expectations for this life. Amen.

 

MEDITATE

 

PRACTICE

Living in the reality of our adoption as God’s children can be challenging because our focus and affections are easily drawn to earthly things. When that happens, we sometimes forget our Father’s loving care for us and lose sight of His glorious promises.

What can you do to begin living according to your identity as a child of God?

  • Read Ephesians 1:1-14 and meditate on all that is yours as His adopted child.
  • Evaluate whether your life is a reflection of your new identity as God’s child. What do you need to change in order to live in a way that honors Him?
  • Read God’s Word, looking for details about your glorious heavenly future, and let it motivate you to live for eternity rather than for the things of this world.

 

Illustration by Simon Pemberton

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/the-pulpit/in-the-fullness-of-time

What Happens In A Tsunami?

 

October 31, 2019 hepsibahgarden

When a tsunami strikes, it brings along terrible destruction — uprooting trees, buildings and whatsoever that comes in it’s way. The huge floods of water sweeps the land clean of everything it had once.

Well, we’ve seen or rather even felt the after effects of a tsunami in the natural.

Nevertheless, can you just try and think of how a tsunami of God’s love poured into our little hearts would be like!! It’s just mind-blowing because all those who have experienced the tsunami of God’s love, have failed to convey their feelings verbally♥️ The whole experience of being filled with God’s love passes all understanding and is known as the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The fountain of Living Water that is, the Holy Spirit, sheds His love into our hearts and fills us with His joy. This means when we ask God sincerely for His outpouring of love, what really happens? Floods of revival enters us and we feel completely free and clean inside.

The Spirit of God does a clean sweep of our hearts so we can rebuild our lives in Him. Most don’t understand that and don’t know what to do after the Holy Spirit works in them. What should one do? Forgive all immediately. If you feel you need to ask someone forgiveness, go ahead and ask. Fill your heart with the Word of God so the Holy Spirit continues to work in fullness.

Now is the time of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time of revival for every Christian. Now is the time to build our life in the faith of the Son of God. May God revive, restore, renew and refine us for His eternal glory.

Be blessed 💕

Original here

VIDEO An Adoption Story

 

Thank you for considering adopting a child from foster care. The willingness of people like you to help Arizona’s children is part of what makes our State great! There are many Arizona children waiting to be part of a family. Please watch the video below to learn about one child’s journey.

Arizona’s Children Waiting for Adoption

Children come into foster care through no fault of their own.  They come into care because their parents are not able to safely care for them, not because of something they have done.  When a child first comes into foster care, the goal — or case plan — is typically to reunify the child with their parent once it is safe to do so.  But sometimes parents are not able to provide a safe environment for their children.  As a result, the Court determines it would be better for the child to find an adoptive home.

Adoption is the legal process of becoming the parent of a child. It includes all of the rights and responsibilities of being a parent, just as if the child was born to you.  As an adoptive parent, you will have the opportunity to provide a safe, loving home to a child who has experienced neglect and/or abuse.  But you won’t just change their lives; they will change your life forever!

MEET THE KIDS

Thank you for visiting the Arizona photolisting website to learn more about our wonderful children. Some of the waiting children have special educational, emotional or medical needs; this information is confidential and does not appear in their profiles. More detailed information about the children can be shared with adoptive parents as they complete the adoption preparation process.

Photolistings like the Children’s Heart Gallery and AdoptUSKids are very effective tools for finding families for waiting children. Unfortunately, they can also makes the children vulnerable to negative intrusions into their lives. Please help us protect them. If you recognize any of these children or see them in your community, we ask that you respect their privacy.

  • Visit the Children’s Heart Gallery(link is external), featuring Arizona children who are free for adoption and want a forever family
  • Search Arizona Children on AdoptUSKids based on the characteristics of the child(ren) you would like to adopt.
  • Begin the process to become an adoptive parent by watching our Orientation Videos on our foster care page.  While foster care and adoption are different, the videos provide a good overview of the process for both, as well as giving you information about the needs of our children.
  • Contact Us by email if you have additional questions.  If you prefer to talk with someone, please call us at 1-877 KIDS-NEEDU (1-877-543-7633).  We’re happy to talk with you during business hours, or you can leave us a message and we’ll call you back.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REQUIREMENTS TO ADOPT

Who may adopt in Arizona?

What is required to adopt in Arizona?

Do I need to be certified to adopt a relative?

How is an adoptive home for a child selected?

How do I begin the process to be certified to adopt a foster child?

https://dcs.az.gov/fosteradoption/provide-permanency-child-through-adoption


Hands make heart shape

 

VIDEO A.G. Bill Barr: ‘In the Framers’ View, Free Government Was Only Suitable and Sustainable for a Religious People’

By CNSNews.com Staff | October 14, 2019

Attorney General Bill Barr at University of Notre Dame Law School, Oct. 11, 2019. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Bill Barr spoke at the University of Notre Dame Law School on Friday, saying that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution believed that a “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.”

“In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings,” Barr said. “Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

“And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills,” he said. “They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

Watch video here

“In short,” he said, “in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles.”

Here is the transcript from the part of Barr’s speech where he said that the Framers believed that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people:”

“So, the founders decided to take a gamble, and they called it a great experiment. They would leave the people broad liberty, they would limit the coercive power of the government, and they would place their trust in self-discipline and virtue of the American people. In the words of Madison: ‘We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves.’

“And this is really what they meant by self-government. It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

“But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves, freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values. And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being.

“In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had discipline to control themselves according to those controlling principles

“As John Adams put it: ‘We have no government armed with a power which is capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.’

“And as Father John Courtney Murray observed: The American tenet was not ‘that free government is inevitable, only that it is possible, and its possibility can be realized only when the people as a whole are inwardly governed by the recognized imperatives of the universal moral order.’”

https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/bill-barr-framers-view-free-government-was-only-suitable-and


Bill Barr Flames ‘Unremitting Assault’ On Religion, Traditional Values During Notre Dame Visit

Kevin Daley | The Daily Caller October 13,, 2019

Concerted attacks on religious liberty have triggered a moral upheaval that contributes to deadly social pathologies, Attorney General William Barr said Friday at the University of Notre Dame.

“The imperative of protecting religious freedom was not just a nod in the direction of piety,” Barr said. “It reflects the framers’ belief that religion was indispensable to sustaining our free system of government.”

The attorney general said numerous measures of social decline are rising as religion recedes from public life, citing higher instances of drug addiction, mental illness, and suicide. Those outcomes are not random, but the fruit of a dedicated campaign against orthodox religious belief, Barr added.

“This is not decay,” Barr said. “This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

Barr said state governments and municipal agencies have been at the vanguard of that effort, noting the board of education in Orange County, California, recently decided religious dissenters may not excuse their children from portions of the school curriculum broaching LGBT issues. Schools are the usual forum for attacks on religious liberty, Barr said.

In that connection, the attorney general noted the Department of Justice recently intervened in a dispute between a gay teacher and a Catholic high school near Notre Dame. The case arose when the Archdiocese of Indianapolis directed Cathedral High School to dismiss a teacher in a public, same-sex marriage or forfeit its Catholic affiliation. The high school did so. The teacher, Joshua Payne-Elliott, sued the school in turn.

The Justice Department filed a statement of interest in the case Sept. 27, arguing that the lawsuit suppresses the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association, and impermissibly asks the court to interfere with internal church matters.

“The First Amendment precludes this court, a state actor, from cooperating in plaintiff’s attempt to stifle the archdiocese’s First Amendment right to expressive association,” the filing reads. “The First Amendment also precludes the court from entangling itself in a quintessentially ecclesiastical question: whether the archdiocese properly interpreted and applied Catholic doctrine. The First Amendment commits that question exclusively to the ecclesiastical tribunals of the church.”

Anti-Barr demonstrators picketed near the Notre Dame campus during the attorney general’s visit, according to the South Bend Tribune. Some protesters blew whistles in reference to a whistleblower complaint from the intelligence community concerning President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden’s business interests in Ukraine, and suggested Barr could support that effort. Hunter, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma Holdings.

The attending controversy prompted Notre Dame Law School Dean G. Marcus Cole to issue a statement defending academic freedom.

“Notre Dame Law School will neither endorse nor condemn invited speakers,” Cole said. “An institution of higher education must be a place where controversial ideas and points of view are expressed, heard, and discussed. This is such a place.”

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Kevin Daley of The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Original here



 

 

Here We Go Again

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

September 30, 2019

 

 

How long would you sit through a horror film before you got up and left?  Would you sit through the same horror film so many times that you would you be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Some people have reoccurring dreams where they keep falling. For some, those dreams of falling are so real that they are afraid to go to sleep.

No one is immune to fear or worry. Those who learn to make their fear work for them are more successful and go on to experience the beauty of peace.

There are those who prey upon others by bullying and inciting fear in weaker people feeding their victims’ fears. The bully exploits the fears of others.

The Domestic Violence bully exploits the fears of their victims and cuts off avenues of escape which only heighten the anxiety level of the victim. The Domestic Violence bully claims victimhood and tries to silence the actual victims by fear and intimidation.

The Domestic Terrorist bully exploits the fears of a community or nation, while claiming victimhood and trying to silence the actual victims. Domestic Terrorists employ dangerous methods which can injure or kill large groups within the community.

Life can be frightening enough without having bullies of any kind added to the mix. The fear the bullies cause add stress to our lives that we did not need.

There are days that we just feel stressed from too many things to do and with not enough time to accomplish it all.  When the threat is even less obvious, we might feel restless, bored, or antsy (Nothing good is on TV). Perhaps we find ourselves procrastinating to avoid a certain task or encounter (I’ll pay the bills tomorrow), or we find ourselves compulsively driven to finish projects, accomplish goals, or meet deadlines (I can’t relax until I get this done). Fears inhibit our ability to begin or complete tasks big or small, which can exacerbate the situation raising the anxiety level.

Fear is an emotion that typically occurs when we perceive a threat to our personal well-being. Sometimes, it can prompt action against the threat. Fear is a common emotion experienced by most people at some point or another; it’s considered to be a normal, natural part of life.

However, fear can lead people to experience a wide array of physical and mental changes, and irrational or intense fear may interfere with a person’s happiness, sense of security, and ability to function effectively.

Fear can lead you to avoid actions or events. This fear can keep you in the prison of avoidance.

Fear can lead to self medication to suppress the fear, pain, and anxiety. Ironically sell medication can spiral down to addition and death.

Sometimes the assistance of a professional is required to get back on track.

Fear can be tamed.

Fear takes energy.

Fear can be a positive motivational factor.

There are plenty of people and groups who play on our fears and want to turn us in a certain direction. Advertisers often create a need, present their solution and push for a sale.

For three years we have witnessed a group people trying to convince us that up is down and down is up. Now that their scheme is unraveling they are flailing. As they unravel, often times they resort to incoherent and irrelevant arguments.

Lifeguards can tell you the most dangerous person to rescue is a drowning person who is flailing.

It remains to be seen how much collateral damage the drowning group trying to play on our fears will cause this time. They remind me of a two year old throwing a tantrum in a supermarket isle. Good parents know the remedies available. One could only hope they would become penitent children avoiding being fired.

Taming your fears and overcoming worry includes just saying NO to bullies.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/10/04/here-we-go-again/