I've been reading a great new work by Joel R. Beeke, He's the pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation. He's also the President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. So Professor Beeke stays pretty busy!
He's written a great book on the Puritans and the doctrine of adoption, Heirs with Christ is written in a somewhat academic style, some of the original writing style of the Puritans is used but can be understood pretty easily.
There's a great quote from Thomas Watson on the introductory page, it taken from his work "A Body of Divinity" from 1845;
"We have enough in us to move God to correct us, but nothing to move him to adopt us, therefore exalt free grace, begin the work of angels here; bless him with your praises who hath blessed you in making you his sons and daughters."
What a moving thought! Nothing in us to move God to adopt us, nothing! What a picture of incredible God glorifying grace!
In the Foreword Dan Cruver, the Co founder of Together for Adoption describes adoption this way, " Earthly adoption is horizontal. It is one human being establishing a relationship with another human being. Heavenly adoption is vertical. It is the eternal God graciously establishing a relationship with fallen human beings, creatures who are by nature "children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3)
In adopting us as his children, it establishes our identity. It's central to who we are, we enjoy all the rights and privileges of the relationship that God the Father enjoys with his eternal Son. as Cruver states, "This is an amazing reality and eternal privilege."
The Puritans tend to take a bad rap in general, just as much so when it comes to the doctrine of adoption. However as Beeke points out in the beginning of chapter two, "The Puritans were fond of stressing the transforming power, superlative value, and surprising wonder of adoption. They spoke often of it's greatness, excellency and comprehensiveness." Puritan writer William Perkins puts it this way, a believer should esteem his adoption as God's child as greater than being "the child or heire of any earthly prince [since] the son of the greatest Potentate may be the child of wrath: but the child of God by grace, hath Christ Jesus to be his eldest brother, with whom he is fellow heir in heaven; he hath the Holy Ghost also for his comforter, and the kingdom of heaven for his everlasting inheritance." Perkins goes on to state how few people realize this experientially. We are indeed children of the living God, we have an inheritance that far outweighs any earthly treasure, we have Christ himself living in us. I liked what William Perkins says in regard to this, "At earthly preferment's men will stand amazed; but seldom shall you find a man that is ravished with joy in this, that he is the child of God."
I'm looking forward to delving even deeper into this marvelous work by Joel R. Beeke, and I'm looking forward even more to delving deeper into this incredible doctrine of adoption. Speaking of that, please check out the great teaching by C.J. Mahaney on the subject of God's love toward us in adopting us as his children, you can check it out over at C.J's blog http://www.sovereigngrace.com/
Being an adopted child myself, I find this book has been an incredible comfort and encouragement in seeing God as my eternal Father, Pick up a copy of "Heirs with Christ and revel in the truth of God's adoptive grace. A great place to pick one up is over at http://www.monergism.com