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The Holy Spirit in Acts

This year, Pentecost is on May 28–that’s just a couple of days away! A few weeks ago, we previewed the background of Pentecost and how it started after the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, Moses interceded on their behalf, and God’s covenant with them was renewed (Exodus 34:22). If you didn’t get a chance to read this post, I recommend taking the time to review it.

Jesus dominates the Gospels, but the Holy Spirit dominates the book of Acts. He unveils Himself as the comforter, helper, teacher, and miracle worker. Jesus knew that just as He had walked in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church must also be clothed with the Spirit. He told His disciples that they must wait in Jerusalem to be baptized in Holy Ghost power.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to give the disciples power to be witnesses of Christ throughout the earth. The word power here is dunamis, which means “miracle–working power” or “inherent strength or ability to perform effectively.” It is the living and abiding presence of the Holy Spirit which overflows and uses men and women to be powerful and skillful in word and deed.

As witnesses, the disciples could perform the miraculous and have the ability to live moral, clean lives. The signs and wonders would win others to Christ and give full assurance of the gospel message. The power of the Holy Spirit would also cause the new converts to endure and be strong in times of severe suffering and weaknesses.

In Acts 2:1 we have the feast of Pentecost, which is also known as the Feast of Weeks. There were three major feasts that were held in Jerusalem and attended by thousands of Jewish males annually: the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), the Feast of First Fruits, and the Feast of Tabernacles. At these great Jewish feasts, as many as 180,000 men came to Jerusalem to worship.

It was during Pentecost that the 120 tarried in the upper room in Jerusalem for the enduement of the Holy Spirit that Christ had promised. The King James version of Acts 2:3 says, “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them” and a great and mighty wind filled the room. As they began to speak with other tongues, a universal sign of the New Covenant was given. God had judged the Tower of Babel by confusing their tongues. At Pentecost, He brought unity through the speaking in tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecost marked a new beginning of the work of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit now abides in all Christians on a permanent basis as opposed to just visiting or empowering a select few.

The glory had fallen on the temple in Solomon’s day, and at Pentecost the glory fell upon the New Testament Church. John the Baptist had foretold this event when he said there would come one after him who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just for one man (see Joel 2:28); it was meant for the entire Church. The gift of the Holy Spirit is as extensive as the gift of salvation. Not only is His infilling for the entire Body of Christ, but Scriptures bear out that there is more than one filling. Acts 4:8 and 31 says that both Peter and the others who had been in the upper room and were baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, were “filled” with the Holy Spirit. There is an initial baptism, and as the believers continue in Him, there are special fillings or anointings for special occasions.


When Peter stood up to preach, he was anointed for that occasion. When the disciples prayed and asked for boldness, they received an anointing for boldness. The three words that are the keys to the book of Acts include logos, which occurs 35 times in Acts and means “the Word of God”; onoma, which means “name” and is used to refer to the name of Jesus approximately 33 times in Acts; and pneuma, which means “breath,” “spirit,” or “soul” and is used 53 times in Acts to denote the Holy Spirit. These are also the keys which unlock the door to the power of God in our lives today.


Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. Peter had told them that the promise of the Holy Spirit was for those “whom God has given to those who obey him” (Acts 5:32). Ananias and Sapphira chose to disobey the Holy Spirit and lie to Him. Acts 5 shows us that the Holy Spirit has feelings, and, like Jesus, He is acquainted with grief (see Psalm 78:40; 95:10; Isaiah 53:3; 63:10; Micah 2:7).

The Holy Spirit has power and authority just as the Father and the Son have power and authority. He is to pervade our entire lives. Ananias and Sapphira tried to separate their spiritual life from their financial dealings. Lying to the Holy Spirit is the same as lying to God. Peter’s discerning of spirits, or word of knowledge, was also a manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit revealed Himself as the Spirit of Wisdom in Acts 6:1–3. The Grecian and Hebrew Christians were at odds and the Holy Spirit gave wisdom to the disciples to resolve the situation. Guided by the Spirit, the disciples directed the church to elect seven men who were full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom to serve the people, thus putting an end to the conflict. Each time we see the Spirit’s wisdom in Acts 5 and 6, we also see an increase of the Word of God and its effect (see Acts 6:7).

The Holy Spirit aided these men in the time of trials and caused them to look to Christ instead of their circumstances. In Acts 7, Stephen rebuked his listeners for resisting the Holy Ghost. They responded by stoning him. But, being full of the Holy Spirit, Stephen looked up and saw Jesus. He became the first martyr, full of the Holy Spirit, with his last view on this earth of Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of the Father, waiting to receive him.


Philip was also full of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 8). He ministered to the Samaritans and a tremendous revival occurred when Peter and John prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit. The word here for receive is lambano, which indicates that as the disciples laid hands upon them, one–by–one they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

This filling of the Holy Spirit was such an outward manifestation, that, Simon, a new convert who recently had been a part of the occult, wanted to buy the power to pray for people to receive the Holy Spirit. Philip was then led by the Spirit to minister to an Ethiopian eunuch. After baptizing the eunuch, “the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away” (Acts 8:39) and he was later found at Azotus and in various other cities.

There are various works of the Spirit here. We see men filled with the Spirit. We see men directed of the Holy Spirit. Phillip was caught away by the Spirit in much the same way Ezekiel was. The Holy Spirit is ever the same in the Old and New Testaments.

In Chapter 9, we have evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit drawing Paul and sending an unknown believer to him—not from Jerusalem or one of the original apostles, but Ananias who was responsive to His voice. Ananias laid hands on Paul and he was filled with the Spirit. We know certainly that Paul spoke in tongues because later he says, “I thank my God that I speak in tongues more than all of you” (1 Corinthians 14:18).

Again, we see the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individuals and throughout the churches in Acts 9. The Church walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit and was multiplied. Wherever the Holy Spirit is, there is life and multiplication. The more the Spirit is poured out, the more life, blessing, and multiplication there is.


The outpouring of the Holy Spirit changed the direction of the Church. He broke down the walls of prejudice and brought unity in the book of Acts. The Samaritans, whom the Jews considered less than dirt, received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Jews viewed the Gentiles as dogs, but God sent Peter to preach the Gospel to them and the Holy Spirit baptized them in His power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles was God’s seal that they had already believed in Christ.


In Acts 11 a prophet is moved by the Holy Spirit to prophesy things to come. In Acts 13, we see more of the fulfillment of Jesus’s command that they would be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Here, the Spirit separates Barnabas and Saul for the work that He called them to do, and they were sent forth in Holy Ghost power.


Although He is often symbolized as a dove, the Holy Spirit can also bring judgment. On the island of Cyprus, a sorcerer tried to withstand Paul, but filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul spoke words of judgment against him.

We also see a fresh filling of joy which accompanies the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. Of course, one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy. How beautifully the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit are shown in this book. In the Jerusalem Council, we see the Holy Spirit bearing witness and the council receiving the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s word of wisdom through Peter and James brought the believers into one accord (see Acts 15:8–9,12–29). Of course, the Spirit’s presence in their midst was sufficient for any problem and they were willing to give him credit for it.

In Acts 16, we see the wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit in Paul. His tour goes through Galatia to Troas. The Spirit not only led him, but He also stopped Him when he was going in the wrong direction (see 16:6–7). God directs His children. Being led by the Spirit of God is a charismatic mark of the Spirit–filled believer.


The power of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts comes when it is needed. In Acts 19:6, we have the third occasion when tongues was specifically mentioned in the book of Acts. This occurred 20 years after Pentecost. The speaking in tongues and prophesying in Acts 19 were outward evidences of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. These visible signs were just as important then as with the 12 disciples and other believers on the day of Pentecost. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we see an outpouring of the Word in Acts 19:10 (KJV), “. . . so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” In Acts 19:20, we see a revival broke out: “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” Special miracles began to come to pass. It seems that more and more people were responding directly to the Holy Spirit. As a result, more and more miracles were coming to pass.


We can be led by the Holy Spirit, and we can also be bound by Him. The Holy Spirit brings boldness and victory, but we have to become His willing prisoners. We have to accept the boundaries and constraints He sets forth because they are necessary for His purposes. We know this from Acts 16:6–8.

As Paul made his journey to Jerusalem, he went in the Spirit (see Acts 20:22). He wanted to go to Rome and then to Spain. He went to Rome in chains as a prisoner, but more than that, he was a prisoner of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moved upon people to warn him about going to Jerusalem (see Acts 21:4,10–11). If Paul had gone to Jerusalem, ignoring all these warnings, the Judaizers would have taken his arrest as a judgment of God. This would have certainly brought great confusion to the Church. But the Spirit bore witness to Paul and the Gospel he preached through this Spirit manifestation.

The Spirit is the protector and unquestionably the guide of the Church. The book of Acts shows us that all believers are to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, empowered by Him, taught to be His disciples, and directed and constrained by Him. Every believer is to be a witness by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the picture of the Church in the book of Acts.

Next Monday, I’ll be answering some questions about being filled in the Spirit and praying in tongues.

2023-05-04T13:21:01-06:00May 22nd, 2023|

Pentecost Is Coming

The feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits all happened within eight days in the spring. Fifty days from the Feast of First Fruits to Pentecost–there are seven Sabbaths in between–takes us into fall, harvest time. So, Pentecost is during the fall harvest time and means “fifty days after” (Leviticus 23:15-16).

During the Feast of First Fruits, they waved a single loaf of bread, but during Pentecost they waved two loaves of bread. Because of the harvest, they had the grain, therefore they could make bread. Why would they wave two loaves? Jesus wants old covenant and new covenant people. He loves both Jews and Gentiles–Jesus makes one new man. Pentecost celebrated us all coming together as one–in Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit is in the Feast of Pentecost, and it affects both the Jew and the Gentile–it affects you!

The very first celebration of Pentecost was in Numbers, when Moses was given the Law for the Israelites, but it was actually not a good celebration. God wrote the Ten Commandments on two tablets for Moses to give to the people so they could live a long and happy life in the promised land. Sadly, when Moses came back to reveal the law to the people, he found them involved in sin and worshipping a golden calf.

When Moses saw this, he was so angry he threw down and broke the Ten Commandments at the foot of the mountain. That day, judgment came down on the people on the Feast of Pentecost, and 3,000 Israelites were killed (Exodus 32:27-28). It shouldn’t have been that way, but the people had turned their backs on God and missed what He had for them. Moses went back up on the mountain and interceded on behalf of the people and pleaded with God not to destroy them. Moses, as mediator, stood between God and the Israelites. He went and again got two more tablets of commandments and came back to call the people to repentance. Because of the intercession of Moses, the Israelite’s repentance, and God’s forgiveness, the presence of God came back, and He led them into the promised land. God looked for a man to stand in the gap for His people, and Moses stood in that gap, just as Jesus did for us.

In the New Testament, Jesus was involved in Pentecost. After He rose from the dead and went back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Pentecost was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on God’s people, sent by Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came with a rushing, mighty wind, fire fell, and people began to speak in tongues. Three thousand did not die as on the first Pentecost, but instead, 3,000 were saved (Acts 2:41)! God always intended for people to be saved and anointed with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, because though the Law brings death, the Spirit brings life (2 Corinthians 3:7-8).

When you get spirit-filled, you enter into an astounding dimension of power. At Passover they were filled with the Lamb; at Pentecost they were filled with the Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 3:18-20, we see that we can be transformed to another level of glory by the Spirit–this is true for every believer–to experience the power of the Holy Spirit! With Pentecost came power; and the demonstration of healing and miracle came after Pentecost through the disciples and the rest of the body of Christ. What has Jesus always wanted? A demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit!

2023-05-04T13:19:56-06:00May 8th, 2023|

Freedom from Insecurity

There is such sweet security in knowing the completeness of your position in Christ. Yes, insecurity seems to strike at the most uncomfortable times, and often through the most unlikely situations. But your revelation of the total process of redemption, both sonship and placement through adoption, will free you into the security of who you are.

From the very rich to the very poor, in all segments of society, insecurity is a leveling agent; it is no respecter of persons. As young children, perhaps we carried what were called “security blankets.” Into circumstances both new and frightening we carried them as warmth of the familiar in strange and unknown surroundings. But we outgrew those security blankets. Some of us outgrew teddy bears, some of us outgrew sucking our thumbs. But all of us know the pangs of insecurity.

God wants to surround you with a security blanket that will free you from the fear of insecurity. He wants you secure in the assurance that He has taken care of each part of your life: past, present, and future. I once received a letter from a woman who testified of the security which God filled her life with. I thought, “Dear Lord, how we all need what this woman has.”

She reminded me, “You gave a teaching on David’s wife, Bathsheba, and how she was forgiven after committing adultery — and is even in the lineage of Jesus Christ! Her son, Solomon, even said, ‘She’s a virtuous woman.’ ”

The woman writing said, “That story relates to me. My unbelieving husband left me and our three young children for another woman. Shortly after, in my hurt and disillusionment, I thought nothing of getting involved with another man — even though I was a Christian! I soon found I was pregnant, but he was nowhere around. I didn’t want to add the sin of abortion — murder — to my already-existing sin of adultery. I decided to keep the baby.”

The woman repented of her sin and promised that she would raise this child according to the admonition of His Word. But she said, “After having this new baby I just kept worrying about what to tell my other children. How could I cover up my sin of adultery? I thought the other children would hate me and the baby.”

But the Lord showed her, “Your past is over. Your children will not turn against you.” He comforted her. She wrote in her letter, “I can now rest peacefully in the security that my children will rise up and call me a blessed, virtuous woman because of the security God has given me in His Word.”

She is secure about her past, she is secure about her present, and she is secure about her future. The heartwarming part of her story is the end, for she and her husband were reunited in the Lord and in their marriage. They are a family again and serving Him today. She is a secure woman who found the substance of her security in God’s Word. He has a security blanket for every area of your life too, but God’s security blankets are only for believers.

Look around. You’ll see unbelievers everywhere grabbing every available security they see; money, people, you name it.  They’re looking for security in all those things, but outside of God, security eludes them. They’ll try Eastern philosophy, but it only makes them ask more questions; they have no answers. They’ll try drugs or alcohol, but eventually they sober up again. Only Jesus Christ can bring the peace of security because Ephesians 2:14 says, “He Himself is our Peace.” He is our security.

Jesus Christ has given you security because He made peace between you and God. He gave you something very special: first, He gave you regeneration, which is the new birth which makes you God’s son. But you are more than a son, for the Bible says you were also adopted.

Most Christians know that they have been born‑again, and they understand that Jesus has given them new life. But few realize that adoption is a separate process. You have been adopted, and that is where your security comes in:

Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:1–5)

You were in bondage before you received the precious gift of salvation through Jesus’s shed blood. When you were born‑again you were “redeemed,” or purchased back for God’s possession. Sin no longer rules as your master, you now belong to God and you are His child. But you have more than just a title. Galatians 4:5 says that Jesus redeemed us who were under the law for one reason: “That we might receive the adoption as sons.”

You receive the name, “Child of God,” but it is your adoption by the Father which places you as His child. In the Old Testament when a son was adopted, as Abraham adopted Ishmael, specific customs were observed. You see, although Ishmael’s father Abraham was a free man, his mother was a slave. Legally, although he was a son, he was still a slave. In order to be a true son, he had to be adopted.

We receive the blood of Jesus to become God’s children. But we must also have the adoption which places us in our legal position. Ishmael could only enter into the privileges and authority of a son through adoption.

An adopted son would receive all the authority that his father had and would legally be a son. The son would be equal to the father. In the same way, the  Pharisees were outraged that Jesus called God “My Father,’’ because He was equating Himself with God.

In Paul’s generation, Romans practiced adoption of sons. Until age sixteen they were placed under the discipline of tutors. Upon coming of age, the sons celebrated an adoption ceremony which symbolically bestowed the same privileges of their fathers on them. Each boy would now be considered mature enough to handle the responsibility of the position, authority, conditions, and blessings of being a son.

When slaves were owned, but there were no children, a master might watch for a slave who would be worthy of becoming his heir. He would look among his slaves and ask himself, “Who is aggressive? Who is loyal and faithful? I shall adopt that person as my own.”

Sometimes that person was a fully-grown adult, but they were still adopted. Then in the custom the master would say, “I have chosen to adopt you. You will be my child and carry my name, so from now on you are a son, not a slave.”

Then at the completion of the ceremony the slave who was now a son would say, “Abba,” to his new father; he was saying, “You’re my dad.”

As a born-again Christian, God is not just some big master who is trying to whip you into shape. He is your dad, and you are His child. He has adopted you in order to bestow on you every privilege and condition that a son could possess.

My husband and I have an adopted son, so I began comparing natural adoption to supernatural adoption. I thought, “When people adopt children they often choose according to a child’s appearance or abilities.”

I can tell you what happened to us when we first saw Mike at three-years-old. We fell in love with him. My husband said, “I can’t go home without him.”

We adopted Mike spontaneously. We saw him, we wanted him to be our child, and we took him home; it was that simple. We brought him home with us even before the legal work was completed on paper. But your adoption was not spontaneous, for Ephesians 1:4–5 tells you when the Father made plans to adopt you:

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

He says, “I wrote your plan of adoption even before the world was created.”

You were not predestined to be saved; that was your own choice. But your predestination is found in your adoption. God says, “Everyone who is saved I adopt so they can benefit from the privileges of being in my family.”

God predestined your adoption, and it gave Him good pleasure. He took joy in preplanning you to be a joint heir with His Son, Jesus.

Have you ever wondered why God would want more children? After all, he had the best didn’t He? He said about Jesus, “This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

But Hebrews 2:10 tells us: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all thing and by whom are all things, bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (emphasis added). God wants a big family! He doesn’t just want one or two; for it is His will that not one person would perish, but that He could save every person (see 2 Peter 3:9).

God wants to bring many sons (and daughters) into His glory. He desires to bring you into all the privileges that Jesus Christ obtained through His sufferings. Some people say, “Oh, there will be glory when we get to heaven.”

But God wants us to have glory now. You are His child, and He wants to be your dad while you are living on this earth, and Jesus suffered and shed blood in order to accomplish that work.

When we saw Mike we said, “He is so beautiful and so charming. We want him to be ours.” Most people do adopt by sight. But when God looked at you, did He say, “You are a knockout! My, you have a sweet disposition, you would fit right into my family?”

Or did He say, “Your IQ is exceptional. I need smart people in my family?”

No, God did not choose you according to your looks or IQ. He was not concerned with what you could offer Him. The Bible says that man was polluted with sin. That doesn’t sound very enticing. Ephesians 2:12 says, “You were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

God was looking for some people who were hopeless. He was looking for you: “Their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18).

God did not choose you because of your IQ; your understanding was darkened. He didn’t get you because you finished college; you were ignorant. He didn’t pick you out because of your beautiful eyes; you were blinded to spiritual things. God adopted you because He loved you. He didn’t have an adoption list that said, “I only want sweet ones.” He said, “I want anyone who will come to me.” He wants to be your dad. He wants you to know within that He is your loving Father: “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ ” (Galatians 4:6).

It wasn’t easy for Him to make you His child. You see, adoption costs money. Today if you adopt a newborn baby, typical costs include the mother’s hospitalization, legal fees, furniture, clothing, food, and then you keep on paying to raise the child. A baby is very expensive to adopt. In the same way when the Father adopted you, He really had to pay.

You were so dark and polluted with sin that someone had to die in your place to clean the slate for you. The only one who would — and could — take your place in death was the very child whom God loved the most: His only Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, but He came down and became the Son of Man. You are a son or daughter of man. But through Jesus you became a son or daughter of God. And unlike natural adoption, you even aspire to look just like your Father.

When we adopted Mike, he didn’t look like us. Oh, occasionally someone will say, “Mike looks just like you.” That really flatters me because to be honest with you, Mike is better looking than us. He really doesn’t resemble either Wally or me.

Now if you look at our natural-born child, Sarah, she looks just like her father; if you’ve seen Sarah, you’ve seen Wally. But usually adopted children do not look much like you. And as far as having your behavioral characteristics, they may pick those up along the way, but they are not inherited.

But when you get adopted by your heavenly Father it’s even better. He makes you look as beautiful as He is: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The Holy Spirit, who looks just like the Father, has come to live inside your spirit. He bears witness that God is your Father. He makes your actions resemble the Father’s, and He gives you God’s characteristics. Why? Because He cries, “Abba, Father.” “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children
of God” (Romans 8:16).

Your heavenly Father has already made the provision to deal with your sinful past. He has destroyed it through the blood of Jesus, and now He has made you His child. You can be very secure about your past because God says, “You aren’t a slave to sin anymore. You are mine.”

Now that He has taken care of your past, He also wants to meet every need in your present life on earth. Your adoption has many benefits for you today. I asked, “Lord, what do we receive through adoption?”

Number one, you receive an inheritance: “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). There is that predestination again. God said, “I have not only predestined your adoption; I have also planned ahead for you to receive your inheritance.”

We were slaves to sin with nothing coming to us but hell. In fact, when we were sinners, we probably remember having a lot of hell here on earth. We were slaves to Satan. A lot of people say, “I’m just doing my own thing.” But they aren’t doing their own thing — they’re doing Satan’s thing, and he is a hard master.

When we were born‑again and left slavery behind for sonship, we received the inheritance of all that Jesus obtained through suffering and death. He doesn’t want you living as a slave. You see, there is a difference between a slave and a servant. A slave has no choice to obey; but a servant of God obeys him out of love. We serve him from a motivation of love because he is such a loving Father. He has given us everything that belongs to his firstborn Son: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). And again, “If children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

A very special part of your inheritance is that not only were you freed from slavery to sin, but you were also freed from the bondage of remembering it. The sin nature enslaved you. People say, “I can’t help myself; I just keep failing in life.” Why is that? It is because slaves are in bondage to their masters. But you have been given a new nature in your adoption and inheritance, a nature which brings total liberation: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (Romans 8:15).

Now let me ask you a question. How can you be insecure about your present with God as your dad? He’s such a great dad; He granted you freedom for your spirit which in turn frees you from the bondage of sin.

But if He paid this expensive price for your freedom, why are so many Christians still bound to insecurity? There are many who are secure about one area of their lives, but very insecure about something else. I remember having an insecurity about getting married. When I first started to date, and it wasn’t until I was sixteen, the young man was almost seven years older than I. My mother was very concerned about it; she said, “He’s going to want to get married, and you just started dating. You have college and your whole life ahead of you.” Then she told me, “You think that since nobody had dated you before this, that this man might be the last one to come along. But that is not true.”

What is fear about not getting married? That is an area of insecurity. Any fear that you get in is a bondage, and insecurity is nothing more than fear. It keeps you from trusting the one who has everything that you need. But you have the Spirit inside telling you, “Dad has your provision.”

I can tell you from my experience that Dad brought me the best husband, and it was at exactly the right time. If God planned for your adoption and inheritance before the foundation of the world, don’t you think He has what you need today? As an adopted child of God, you have true security.

As you start trusting Him for the privileges of adoption, you can be sure that the world will not understand at all. They’re busy worrying about everything:

“Aren’t you afraid of getting cancer?”

“Did you know that the divorce rates are up?”

“Aren’t you afraid about nuclear war?”

The world is bound by a cord of fear and insecurity. As an adopted child of the heavenly Father, your trust is an enigma to all who are spiritually blind: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” (1 John 3:1).

Christians are really strange ones in the world’s eyes. Once a man asked me, “Most women who get in the ministry end up with broken marriages. What makes you think yours will be different?”

I said, “Don’t ask what — ask who. The same God who set me apart for the ministry is well able to make my marriage sweeter every day.”

He can do the same for your marriage, too, or for any area of your life. Look to Him. He is more familiar to you than even the best natural father could be. But there is another condition to your inheritance, and it goes along with all of the blessings; that condition is called chastening.

“For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:6–8)

Discipline is a condition that comes with adoption. If you think you’re going to get away with everything, you’re not. First Peter 2:16 tells us that we are not to use our freedom as a cloak of wickedness, but as servants of God. You have been made free from sin, and chastening is a part of staying free of it.

The first time Mike really misbehaved, we had to spank him, and it wasn’t easy. Wally cried, and said, “I don’t know how I can do this.”

But Mike needed the correction, just as you need Dad’s correction. A once-popular theory was that God’s correction came through sickness and physical affliction. But would you correct your child in that manner? Of course not! That would be child abuse, and it is illegal; how could we ever imagine that God would discipline us in that manner? If you read Hebrews chapter 12 you discover that the correction of God comes through His Word. In His Word is the discipline for those whom He loves. A loving parent would never let his child do everything he wanted. Would you allow your children to run out in the streets to play just because they want to? “Oh, let him play with the electrical outlets; he’s just expressing himself.”

You’d better start expressing yourself, or that child is going to get hurt! It’s the same way with God. The Father who created you knows what the best plan is for your life. He wrote the instructions; now it’s up to you to read His Word and find out what they are. It’s the same way with equipment that we use. If I bought a kitchen appliance, it won’t work to full capacity unless I understand the instructions for use. When you willingly come under the authority of your Father’s discipline, you will work for Him to your fullest capacity.

Another part of adoption is the forgiveness and cleansing that is included in your inheritance. A natural father might condemn you for something: “You’ll never amount to anything. You’re a real problem.” But God says, “If you do sin, and you confess it, then I am faithful and just to forgive you” (1 John 1:9, author’s paraphrase).

God will never bring up a past sin that has been forgiven. And because He forgets that sin, He has installed in your new nature the ability to also forget it and leave it alone: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).

You need more than an inheritance for your present; you need a new nature to have the inheritance. You need more than forgiveness; you need cleansing inside. Now God says, “I have equipped you with the nature of adoption, so I’m giving you the inheritance that goes with it.”

God has given you that inheritance for right now. He wants you to be secure in your present life. He wants you to be able to say, “I’m secure about myself; now I want to minister the same security to others. My needs are met, so I want to meet others’ needs.”

What good would an inheritance be if you didn’t get it until after you died? Your inheritance is for right now, to take care of your present. But if you are concerned about your future, God’s adoption has secured that part of your life also.

You see, when you were adopted, you were also given a seal within. In natural adoption after the papers are legally complete, a seal is placed on them saying, “This is official in the eyes of the law.”

In the eyes of God, your seal of salvation is official, and it is your promise of eternal life. Just as our son’s name became Hickey, your “name” became “Saved,” and it is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Now you have the Spirit inside which will translate you into the glory of your future inheritance: eternal life with your Father.

In the future, even your physical body will be restored into the fullness of adoption. You can be secure about your past through repentance; and you can be secure about an inheritance for the present. But you have a promise of redemption for all eternity: “We also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23).

You have the promise of physical transformation coming where your body will no longer be under the wear and tear of this world. Jesus has adopted all of you, and the restoration leaves you lacking nothing in future results.

First John 3:2 tells us that although God has given us security for our earthly lives, our future adoption even surpasses that. It outweighs the advantages of earthly kingship: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

You and I, although we receive glimpses in His Word, have no idea of the tremendous fullness of what lies ahead. We will rule and reign with Jesus because of our seal of adoption. And when Jesus appears in glory, you will receive the fullness of revelation of Him. You have a glorious transformation ahead.

When we adopted Mike, my husband told him, “A lot of people have children they don’t want. Many children aren’t planned. Some people want boys, but they get girls. But we looked at a lot of children and babies; we chose you. You are a chosen one.”

And today Jesus says to you, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you” (John 15:16). You are a chosen one, part of a chosen generation. But even better, you chose Him back. He didn’t choose you because you were worth it; He chose you because He loves you.

Now every time you enter into your security by faith, you are really saying, “Abba, Abba.” Every financial or physical miracle in your life is the Spirit crying within you, “God, you are my dad.” Every restoration in your life is created because you listened to the Spirit of God within you as He whispered, “Son.”

I pray that you discover how to walk in the security of the knowledge that God’s adoption brings to your past, to your present, and to your future.

The above is excerpted from Freedom from Bondages.

2023-05-04T13:22:11-06:00May 1st, 2023|
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