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The Gospel and Thoughts that Lurk

by Dan Cruver Published Nov 1, 2010

“Christians often find it difficult to believe that God’s unfailing love is real. This is where the knowledge and increasing assurance that we are children of God is a refuge and shield against the attacks of Satan. Just as part of his plan of action in his temptation of Jesus included the issue of whether he was really the Son of God (compare Matt. 4:3, 6), so a parallel issue arises with us. Satan will cast up to us the sins of both the past and the present; he will allure us with temptations to sin to which we may fall in the future, and then lead us to question, the reality of our relationship to God. Can we be God’s children after all when such thoughts lurk in our minds and such deeds lie in our past? (Sinclair Ferguson, Children of the Living God, 27).

If you find that “such thoughts lurk” in your mind, let me encourage you to make it a habit to meditate on God’s commitment to assure you of your sonship and of His love for you as your Father. Consider the lengths to which God has gone to assure us of our sonship:

First, He demonstrates (notice the verb tense of “demonstrate” – cf. Romans 5:8) the commitment of His unfailing love in that He sent His Son into the world to become a curse for us (Galatians 3:13) so that we might receive the gift of adoption (Galatians 4:4-5). God the Father did not wait to address our struggle until after we began to doubt His unfailing love. He was profoundly proactive. He daily demonstrates His Fatherly love for us by what His natural Son, our Elder Brother, did almost 2,000 years ago, namely, die for us (Romans 5:8). Fight the temptation to doubt your Father’s love by daily looking at what your Elder Brother did for you at the cross before it was even possible for you to doubt.

Second, God the Father demonstrates (notice, again, the verb tense) His unfailing love for us by giving us the Spirit of Adoption (Romans 8:15). The Spirit that God the Father has given us—who Himself is co-equal, co-eternal with the Father and Son—is the Spirit of adoption; and one of His primary responsibilities as the Third Person of the Trinity is to take the Gethsemane cry of our Elder Brother, “Abba! Father!” (Mark 14:36), which he cried on the eve of accomplishing our redemption, and lovingly place it in our hearts (Galatians 4:6). The Triune God does not assure us of our sonship from across the universe or even from across the room. As we meditate upon what God has done in Christ for us, He assures us through the Spirit of Adoption’s witness within our hearts that we are indeed the Father’s children. God the Father did much more than merely come alongside us. He sent the Spirit of His Son to actively indwell us that we might be assured that He delights in us as His children. This is adoption’s blessed assurance.


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