As an adopted person this particular passage has always intrigued me. But recently I have been even more reflective.
. . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Gal. 4:5
Last year just after my 59th birthday my biological family had the records open and made contact. I have three wonderful brothers who come with nieces and nephews not to mention cousins, it’s like being re-adopted. All this has made me think of what it means to be part of a family. There are some odd personal things; like I now have two brothers named David, my biological brothers and I all hate sweet potatoes and yellow squash, and my biological brothers and I can finish each others sentences, in spite of not having known each other.
Then there are traditions and customs that bind the family together. In my biological family I have little in common, no common history, no common stories. My guidelines, principles and rules come from the parents that raised me. Which brings me to my point, what does adoption of sons mean?
There is this teaching in theology called Justification. (See Also: Chapter 11 of our doctrinal statement on Justification) It is the explanation on how we have come to be adopted into God’s family and how one is given the grace to be considered justified before God.
And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. Rom. 5:16
The problem is in the dispensational teachings that that we are under grace and that the Law has passed away, which is now taught in this post modern church have gone too far, and has lead the people into believing that they have no responsibilities to God.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? Rom. 6:1
I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose. Gal. 2:21
You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” Mark 7:8
They misunderstand what it means to be adopted.
We don’t think about it much because the Old Testament does not use the word adoption but God chose Israel to be His son.
And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my first-born son, Ex. 4:22
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. Deut. 7:6 (c.f. Hos. 11:1; Rom. 9:4)
It is an act of grace on God’s part that He sovereignly chooses His own. This adoption symbolizes our new relationship as a justified member of our new spiritual family. [John 17:23; Rom. 5:5-8; 2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13]
We become children of the living God. [1 Pet. 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15]
What makes Hebrew Roots or Messianic different is that we then ask, How then are we to live?
Adopter or adoptee?
The post modern church gives lip service to the teaching of Adoption but practices it in reverse as if believers are the adopter and not the adoptee. They insist that God must conform to their culture and traditions and refuse to adopt His culture and traditions, preferring to call His teaching “Jewish” instead of “Biblical.”
The regular churches have decided to take their old pagan traditions and change the names to Biblical ones. The Messianic Hebrew Roots movement sees this as a departure from the true teachings of the Bible. We have decided that if we are adopted sons of Abraham we should learn the traditions and customs of our new family. We no longer wish to be partners with those old traditions handed down by our pagan ancestors. These ancient traditions came from the worship of demons. We no longer want to commune with demons through maintaining the customs and traditions of our former families.
No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 1Cor. 10:20 -21
. . . but now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits, whose slaves you want to be once more? Gal. 4:9
See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. Col. 2:8
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, Col. 2:20
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1John 4:1
Human traditions can have spiritual deception in them. The Messianic /Hebrew Roots community seeks to identified and removed these deceptions or spirits from our lives.
The source of all things must be determined. If they source from the Word of God, one can be fairly certain that they are of God. If they source from the Babylonian Mystery Religions they are suspect.
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1Cor. 6:12
If it is not helpful why indulge in it? We seek to walk with Messiah not some long forgotten pagan god renamed and mix into our dogma.
So you see that it is men of faith who are the sons of Abraham. Gal. 3:7