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This is unspeakably good news for prodigals (i.e., sinners): The Son of God who became man did not nor does he monopolize his relationship with the Father. Being God, and therefore being in the beginning with God, he had every right to hold us at a distance with his almighty arm. But, stunningly, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit did not choose to bar us from approaching. Within their triune life the One God who is three co-enternal, co-equal Persons had everything that could ever be desired. They were and are a dynamic community of relational perfection who enjoyed unending satisfaction within themselves.

As a result, the Father who sent the Son, the Son who was Sent, and the Spirit actualized the mission of the triune God never thought of those whom they redeemed as mere scheming servants who were ever attempting to get a piece of Jesus’ rightful inheritance. Merely granting us the legal right to become children of God did not sit well with Jesus, as far as he and the other members of the Trinity were concerned.  Inexplicably, Jesus longed and longs to give us all of what he has eternally enjoyed with the Father, namely, unceasing participation within the loving community of the Holy Trinity on the earth that he had created and will one day renew. When Jesus sweat great drops of blood in the Garden, he did so that he might secure for us both the full rights of sonship (co-heirs) and the experiential enjoyment of what it means to be an unceasing object of the Father’s eternal love.

For those who are in Christ Jesus through faith in him, the previous paragraphs are absolutely true for us because of who Jesus is for us as our Elder Brother. The Son of God did not become man or our brother for himself. He had absolutely no need to do so. If all that ever existed in eternity were the Trinity, the word “deficiency” would never had existed. God has no deficiency in Himself; and since the usage of a word determines its meaning, there never would had been an occasion for “deficiency” to become a word.

So, why did the Father send the Son to become man through the agency of the Spirit? Ultimately, Jesus graciously became our brother that he might make his Father known to us. A better way to say this is to say that Jesus became man to know the Father as a man for us. Do not let your eyes glide over those previous five words without pausing to think about them. Without Jesus we were absolutely incapable of knowing the Father. Ever since the Fall, man has entered this world as “sons of disobedience” and “children of wrath.” As such, our first breath of air when we exited our mother’s birth canal on this fallen planet found us incapable of knowing, honoring, or enjoying the Father of the eternal Son. We were lost prodigals from the get-go.

Without the for us (or the for you) of who Jesus was/is and what Jesus did/does there is no good news. As Robert T. Walker has written, “The person of Christ is not just God acting for our salvation, it is God acting as man for us” (Incarnation: The Person and Work of Christ, xlv; italicized emphasis mine). The for us of the Gospel means that Jesus is the Gospel and the heart, soul, and body of our adoption as sons. He was a man for us that we might be sons of God with him.

The above art is by the excellent Chris Koelle. Chris and I are both members of Downtown Presbyterian Church.

Thank you for reading. Please check out Together for Adoption’s new book, which is available for purchase at Amazon, Cruciform Press, and elsewhere.

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