Do you remember the first gift you received?. My earliest memory of receiving a gift reaches back to a Christmas when our family lived in Chicago. Christmas can be a wondrous time of giving and receiving.
God, the greatest of givers, has given two gifts that must be received.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
First, God gave His Son to be the Savior of the world.
Jesus fulfilled prophecy, But when the fulness of the time was come, as the Son of God, God sent forth his Son, yet as the Son of man, made of a woman, perfectly fulfilling the law, made under the law, to be the Redeemer, To redeem them that were under the law.
This portion of the passage emphasizes the gift of Jesus. John 3:16 specifically states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave the gift of Jesus to the world. But not everyone in the world benefits from this gift because not everyone has received this gift.
How do you receive Jesus? “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). You receive Jesus by believing on Him. When you depend on Jesus by taking Him as your Savior, you receive Jesus.
Second, God gave His Spirit to the redeemed to impart the life of the indwelling Christ.
Jesus redeemed us that we might receive the adoption of sons. The new birth and the truth of adoption are related, but not the same. When you believe in Jesus, you are born again. When you are born again, you are also adopted in as a mature son with all the access rights to the inheritance of the Spirit. But you must access what you have been given.
Adoption highlights God’s second gift. Not only did God send forth His Son, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
If the first gift of Jesus given to the world must be received for each individual to benefit from the gift, then it follows the gift of the Spirit must also be received by those who have been given the Spirit in order to fully benefit from His indwelling presence. The Spirit indwells all believers, but not all believers in Jesus have received the Spirit to benefit from His leadership and power. All the redeemed have been given the Spirit sent into their hearts, but not all have received this precious gift.
How do you receive the Spirit and thus receive the adoption of sons? The same way you received Jesus—by believing. When you start depending on the Spirit to lead and empower, you have received the Spirit. This reception is a definite start that opens the way for a daily continuing. It’s the life of Spirit-dependence.
Peter told his convicted audience to repent, get baptized on the basis of forgiveness of sins, and then “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Paul later confirmed this truth in writing to the Galatian believers who had reverted to flesh-dependence, that they were justified that they “might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14).
Two great gifts. Have you received Jesus? Have you received the Spirit?
John Van Gelderen