by Mike Ratliff
Qoph. With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise. Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life. They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever. (Psalms 119:145-152)
One of the precious facts about adoption is the endearing act of choosing or selecting the child who is brought into a family and given the same rights and inheritance as a natural offspring. As this adopted son or daughter matures the adopting parents should share this with them because it speaks of an act of choosing them as an object of their love. Good parents love their natural offspring, but the act of adoption adds the element of specifically choosing the child. God's election of His chosen is also an act of adoption. He foreknew those whom He chose by setting His heart upon them as He set into motion the processes of their adoption into His family.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
All in Christ should fall on their faces before Him with their hearts full of thanksgiving as they praise the Lord for this incredible truth. The only way sinners such as you and I could ever be children of God is through adoption. Our spiritual rebirth was of and by the Spirit not of or by anything we did. As God declares us in right standing before Him, our justification, He adopts us into His family.
Those believers who believe the Pelagian, semi-Pelagian, and Arminian gospels cannot appreciate what a special blessing our adoption by God really is. They are convinced they came to Christ by deciding for Christ or choosing salvation over reprobation. The Calvinist knows better. The doctrines of grace make it clear that the act of salvation is a Monergistic work by God. He foreknew those He chose for adoption. Then He predestined them to become conformed to the image of His Son. At the proper time, He effectually called them to believe as He regenerated their hearts so repentance and belief are possible. The sinner, the chosen of God, seeing the enormity of their sin, repents and believes by turning to Christ for salvation. Then God justifies them by declaring them in right standing before Him based upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Then He adopts them into His family. Then He sanctifies the believer in an ongoing synergistic cooperative process to mature him or her unto Christ-likeness. Glorification, the ultimate goal of predestination, awaits them in Heaven with the Lord. (Romans 8:29-30)
Here is another incredible blessing based upon Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:3-10. All whom God foreknew, He also predestined. All whom God predestined, He also calls. All whom God calls, He also regenerates. All whom God regenerates repent and believe. All who repent and believe God justifies. All whom God justifies, He also adopts. All whom God adopts, He also sanctifies. All whom God sanctifies, He also glorifies.
The title of the stanza we are looking at in this chapter is, "Qoph." The first, second, third and fourth lines in this stanza are, "With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O LORD! I will keep your statutes. I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise." All genuine believers are children of God because He adopted them after justifying them. That does not mean we immediately receive all of the blessings of the Kingdom of God while we are still in this physical life. The glorification part of the "Ordo Salutis" awaits us at the final part of our pilgrimage. Since we are heirs of the Kingdom, we are required to mature unto Christ-likeness. This maturity is not automatic. It comes via the sanctification process in which we must cooperate with God by learning to walk the Walk by Faith. This process can seem horrendously painful and never ending at times. God may allow circumstances in our lives in which it appears we are about to be destroyed. To the Soul-led, all of this appears to be costly; therefore, they want none of it. They do not cooperate. They squander their spiritual treasure. However, those who do cooperate by believing God and stepping out on faith will find that their faith grows with its exercise. These are the Spirit-led believers who are maturing unto Christ-likeness. They are building up their godly treasure in their hearts and laying up treasure in Heaven.
All four verses, v145-148, speak of a believer who is stressed out by his circumstances. The stress causes him to seek the Lord as much as possible. He also digs deep into the Word of God. He denies himself sleep so he can spend more time in his pursuit of God. This is how the believer should wait on the Lord in a time of need. If we would do this, our faith would grow along with our humility. Our pride would diminish along with its fruit that consists of bitterness and self-righteousness. This causes our spiritual stamina to strengthen along with our love and trust of the Lord.
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
As a good parent, the Lord does not hesitate to do what is best for His children. We may not perceive that tests and trials are good things; however, God uses them as the means to conform us unto the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth lines in this stanza are, "Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O LORD, according to your justice give me life. They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law. But you are near, O LORD, and all your commandments are true. Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever?" Again, we see that the psalmist is struggling with persecutors. These evil people are the ungodly whom God will judge in His timing. However, right now they are causing stress, pain and suffering in the life of psalmist. In these verses, we see that the psalmist has moved from abject despondency to trusting God in the midst of the pain. He has waited upon the Lord through the fires of sanctification and now we see the resultant spiritual depth coupled with his total trust in the Lord. Where does he learn the wisdom God gives him? He lives in the Word of God so much that he knows he is secure in the Lord no matter what his enemies do.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
God is eternal. All in Christ have eternal life. God is faithful. What He says He will do, He does. What He says He will not do, He does not do. Where do we find these truths about God and His ways? We find them in His Word. As God takes us through the fires of sanctification, we have His Word in which to find His promises, His ways, and the nature of our relationship with Him. I see many believers struggling under the burdens of sickness or loss in complete despondency. As they despair, it becomes evident that they are lacking some spiritual maturity God is developing in their heart through the test or trial through which they are struggling. I interviewed a friend, Rene', from our church whom God took through breast cancer. She survived, but the joy of her heart was the maturing of her spiritual walk God accomplished in her through the trial. Her interview is in the chapter Peaks and Valleys in Walking the Walk by Faith.
Does it seem odd that we are mixing our discussion about our adoption into the family of God with sanctification? We must never forget that our Heavenly Father allows into our lives exactly what He desires to accomplish our conformity unto the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son. He considers all believers to be the brothers and sisters of His Son.
Oh Lord, thank You for adopting us into Your family. Your grace is truly amazing. I pray for those believers who are mired in their false doctrines and thereby spiritual immaturity. I pray that You will raise up your chosen leaders in the Western Church to proclaim the truth. I pray that Your people's hearts will be turned back to You. All for Your glory Lord—Amen!
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™ Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.