1. GOD’S CHILDREN
a. When and how do we, who are naturally “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), become children of God? John 1:12, 13; Romans 8:15.
“The dearest gift that heaven itself had to bestow has been poured out that God ‘might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ By that gift men are uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin to become children of God. Says Paul: ‘Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.’ ”— Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 739.
“Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.”—Steps to Christ, p. 52.
b. After being adopted as God’s children, what should be our experience? Galatians 5:16; Colossians 2:6.
“Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, ‘I am Christ’s; I have given myself to Him;’ and ask Him to give you His Spirit and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself to God, and believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him.”—Ibid.
2. CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S CHILDREN
a. How does the Bible describe the true children of God? 1 John 3:1–3; 1 Peter 1:13–16.
“The apostle [Peter] sought to teach the believers how important it is to keep the mind from wandering to forbidden themes or from spending its energies on trifling subjects. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 518.
b. What fruits should be revealed in the life of God’s children? Galatians 5:22, 23; Romans 8:16, 17.
“There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely. . . .
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 67-69.
c. How does Paul explain the fruit of the Spirit—pure unselfish love known as charity? 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.
“Love ‘rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.’ This love ‘never faileth.’ It can never lose its value; it is a heavenly attribute. As a precious treasure, it will be carried by its possessor through the portals of the city of God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 319.
3. GUIDED AND EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
a. What does the Holy Spirit do for God’s children? Romans 8:26, 27.
“Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man’s behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as does Christ, who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hearts, drawing out prayers and penitence, praise and thanksgiving. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit’s striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart.
“The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned.
“Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving, must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. The fragrance of this righteousness ascends like a cloud around the mercy seat.”— Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 344.
b. If we maintain a consistent connection with Christ, what does He promise to do in our behalf? Philippians 1:6; 1 John 2:1.
“We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No; Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”—Steps to Christ, p. 64.
4. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR HIS CHILDREN
a. How does God’s wise providence guide everything in regard to His children? Romans 8:28.
“The Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of Christ abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Saviour, who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil, for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him except by our Lord’s permission, and ‘all things’ that are permitted ‘work together for good to them that love God.’ Romans 8:28.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 71.
“Study the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of men who sought to do them harm; but He caused all these devices to work for good to His servants who amidst trial and conflict preserved their faith and loyalty.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 487.
b. While God knows the future of everyone, what does He predestinate for the life of His children? Romans 8:29; John 1:12.
“Wonderful possibilities are provided for every one who has faith in Christ. No walls are built to keep any living soul from salvation. The predestination, or election, of which God speaks, includes all who will accept Christ as a personal Saviour, who will return to their loyalty, to perfect obedience to all God’s commandments. This is the effectual salvation of a peculiar people, chosen by God from among men. All who are willing to be saved by Christ are the elect of God. It is the obedient who are predestinated from the foundation of the world.”—The Gospel Herald, June 11, 1902.
c. Explain the step-by-step process performed in our behalf. Romans 8:30.
“Calling and justification are not one and the same thing. Calling is the drawing of the sinner to Christ, and it is a work wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the heart, convicting of sin, and inviting to repentance.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 390.
5. A SONG OF VICTORY
a. How does God’s word assure us of victory—and how was this made possible? Romans 8:31, 32.
b. What does God do for us when we are connected with Him? Romans 8:33–39.
“In the courts above, Christ is pleading for His church—pleading for those for whom He has paid the redemption price of His blood. Centuries, ages, can never lessen the efficacy of His atoning sacrifice. Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but His love is that of an elder brother; so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 552, 553.
“When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself. Satan will constantly present allurements to induce us to break this tie—to choose to separate ourselves from Christ. Here is where we need to watch, to strive, to pray, that nothing may entice us to choose another master; for we are always free to do this. But let us keep our eyes fixed upon Christ, and He will preserve us. Looking unto Jesus, we are safe. Nothing can pluck us out of His hand. In constantly beholding Him, we ‘are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 3:18.”—Steps to Christ, p. 72.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When we are adopted into God’s family, what change occurs?
2. Describe the characteristic fruits of adoption into His family.
3. Explain the activity that the Godhead is now carrying out in our behalf.
4. Why do we not need to be stressed when faced with unexpected difficulties?
5. What happens when we keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus?