Thank God for what He has done for us: Sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to save us; and adopting us – placing us – as His fully accepted and established sons! (Eph 1:6) But surely there must be a price for what our heavenly Father has provided for us through our adoption. We were clearly not adopted because we are worthy or deserving.

A. THE PRICE OF THE FREE GIFT

We can be thankful that our adoption does not depend upon our worthiness! For which of us is truly worthy of God’s love and tender mercies? “…For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23; see also verses 10-18).

All of humanity is totally lost in our sins and under the just and righteous condemnation of God’s wrath (Eph 2:3; 5:6; Col 3:6,7). Mankind can do nothing to save himself (Eph 2:8,9; Rom 3:20; Gal 2:16). Who, then, can save us? And if they are able to save us, are they willing to save us?

God’s just condemnation of sin requires that His justice be satisfied before His mercy can be bestowed. God’s judgment on sin is absolutely fixed. “The soul who sins shall surely die” (Ezek 18:4,20). The penalty for our willful choice of sin is death.

Yet God’s heart has also never wavered from His absolute love for humanity, who are made in His image (Gen 1:26,27) and for His glory.

God’s perfect holiness and justice demand the righteous condemnation and punishment of our sin. Yet the Bible makes clear that God’s love and compassion for us are great and everlasting (Jer 31:3; Lam 3:22,23; Rom 8:37-39). What then can God do?

THE FATHER’S ETERNAL PLAN FULFILLED

From the moment of Adam and Eve’s rebellion and fall into sin, God in His omnipotent wisdom and great mercy knew what He would do (see Genesis 3). One of the five New Testament passages that speak of our spiritual adoption also reveals this eternal plan of the Father: “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 [the just condemnation of sin], that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4,5).

John the apostle wrote it this way: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

As pastors and leaders of the Church of God, you know that God did not send His Son to earth for just a visit or to give us some new thoughts about religion. Instead, God sent His Son for the express purpose of dying (Acts 2:23; 3:18; see also Hebrews 2:9). Christ died – gave His very life – in our place. He willingly took onto Himself the just condemnation of our sin – suffering and taking the penalty of death in our place (2Cor 5:21).