The Father’s announcement at Jesus’ baptism commenced the time in His life that
Paul described as the Adoption of sons; a ritual that is somewhat similar to the Jewish
ceremony of the Bar Mitzvah.
Meaning Son of the Commandment, the Bar Mitzvah is celebrated when a boy turns
thirteen. He is then considered responsible for his own actions and is given adult
privileges, such as public spiritual duties. The Bar Mitzvah and its feminine version the
Bat Mitzvah are usually observed with a ceremony followed by a celebration.
Adoption is not mentioned in the Old Testament; however, Paul described the
observance as though it were ancient.
The heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he
be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed
of 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 was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem
them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons
Where adoption (meaning the placing of a son) and the Bar Mitzvah differ is that
adoption pertains only to the heir. In the Old Testament Hebrew community, the oldest
son was the child who carried the birthright (defined - primogeniture, the right of the
eldest son to inherit the entire estate).
In Genesis 25:31, Jacob bought the birthright from his twin brother Esau, who was
the first born, for a bowl of soup. To his dismay, Esau later discovered just how
expensive that meal cost.
The story goes on to tell how Jacob received the blessing from Isaac: “Let people
serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your
mother’s sons bow down to you:” (Genesis 27: 29). In the proclamation of the adoption,
the father would often lay his hand on the heir and pronounce the blessing of the
inheritance of his estate. That blessing also made the son ruler over the family.
When Esau came in later and asked for the blessing from Isaac, he was told: “I
have made him (Jacob) your lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants”
(Genesis 27:37). Through the blessing of Isaac, Jacob was placed as the son of the
inheritance. Through this rite of Adoption, Jacob legally became the lord of Isaac’s
manor and all he possessed.
Jesus understood His rights of Sonship given him by the Father. He later asserted:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) This power, this
authority, came from “the Lord of heaven and earth” (Matthew 11:25) through the
adoption of Jesus. It was signified by the Spirit of God – the Father’s right hand –
lighting upon him and the proclamation from the Father; “This is my beloved son.”
This was the faith that Jesus lived by. He knew that He was the son of God; He
knew He was heir of heaven and earth; He knew He was Master of the Universe.
God had originally reserved that right for Adam.
What is man, that you are mindful of him? Or the son of man, that you
visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels (literally,
for a little while lower than Elohim), and has crowned him with glory and
honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your
hands; you have put all things under his feet: (Psalm 8:4-7).
‘For a little while’ indicates that Adam was being tutored and governed until the
time appointed by the Father, at which time creation was to be given him to rule and
govern. Adam lost his birthright through sin and never received the blessing from God.
It was taken from him and given to Jesus.
Confident in his position as Son of God, Jesus recognized and exercised this power
throughout His ministry. He turned water into wine; raised the dead; caused diseases to
disappear; opened blinded eyes; spoke to winds; walked on water and many other
Jesus understood how nature worked and had the ability to change its laws and
properties at will; the same ability that God the Father possessed as Master of the
You see, Jesus lived by the faith of God. As the heir, Jesus represented the Father
on earth. It was with God’s authority that He performed miracles. When Philip
requested that He show him and the other disciples the Father, Jesus said:
He that has seen me has seen the Father; the words that I speak unto you I
speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
Jesus was saying, as Paul, “I live, yet not I but the Father lives (dwells) in me, and
the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Father.”
The Faith of God
Let’s take a look at “the faith of the Father.” Jesus said “Have faith in God.” (Mark
11:22) In most reference Bibles, there is a footnote on this statement that reads “Or,
Have the faith of God”. He went on to explain that with this faith, even mountains could
be removed and cast into the sea, and whatever comes out of your mouth will come to
pass. This was the faith of Elohim, the faith that Jesus lived by as heir of God; the faith
that Paul lived by through his identification with Christ as a joint heir.
The nature of God’s faith is found in the book of Exodus. When God appeared to
Moses from the burning bush on Mount Horeb and told him to go back to Egypt and
liberate the Hebrews, Moses asked:
When I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God
of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his
name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM
THAT I AM: (Exodus 3:13&14).
“I AM” (Hebrew: hayah, meaning exists, existed, be, become, come to pass)
indicates a past, present, and future tense of the name. In the Amplified Bible, this reads:
“I AM WHO I AM and WHAT I AM, and I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE” (AMP).
Who and what exactly is that? GOD; … the Supreme Power of heaven! There is none
higher. He has always existed and always will. God was saying, “This is who and what I
am, who and what I have always been, and who and what I will always be. I can be
In a dispute with the Pharisees about His relationship with the Father, Jesus made
the statement: “… verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) The
Pharisees tried to stone Him for these words because He used God’s name to identify
When standing before Pilate, the Jews accusation was: “… he said also that God
was his father, making himself equal with God … by our law he ought to die, because he
made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7) Jesus didn’t make Himself the Son of God,
the Father made that proclamation three years earlier. Jesus simply was who He was.
His faith rested in the faith of God and His relationship with God as His Son.
Jesus knew who He was; the Father knew who He was; all angels and demons
knew who He was; for God had introduced Jesus as His Son from the heavens for all to
hear. As Son, He was given a name: “which is above every name: That at the name of
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under
the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
As it was with God, Jesus’ name defined His authority. In fact “name” and
“authority” can be used interchangeably in this verse: “God had given Him an authority
which is above every authority: That at the authority of Jesus, every knee should bow …”
The adoption pertains to the heir, which Jesus was and is. How then did Paul, and
subsequently all believers, fit into the adoption? Through the concept of identification
introduced by Christ, a new term had surfaced in the relationship with the Father; that of
“joint-heir”. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote:
You have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit itself (Himself) bears witness with our spirit, that we are the
children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs
with Christ (Romans 8:15-17).
When I first realized what those scriptures truly meant, there was an awakening in
my heart: A new realization of exactly what happened on the day I confessed Jesus as
Lord. I became a son of God, with all the rights and privileges that Jesus had.
Another startling realization occurred to me that I hadn’t previously understood.
Here is a passage in the book of Acts that is both enlightening and humorous:
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over
them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure
you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. And there were seven sons of one
Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit
answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? And
the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them,
and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and
wounded. (Acts 19:13-16).
As I began to study the subjects of Sonship and the Spirit of Adoption, I realized
the significance of the evil spirit’s response; “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are
you?” How could he have known Jesus and Paul? Had he run into them in the past?
Possibly. Had he heard stories of them while possessing the unfortunate man? No doubt.
In truth, however, the evil spirit’s knowledge of them came through an introduction by
Following His baptism – according to Matthew’s gospel – Jesus was led by the
Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. His very first attempt to stop Jesus was
to question His Sonship with the Father. “If you are the Son of God …” Satan taunted.
Mark’s Gospel also recorded that, after those events, Jesus went into Capernaum
and entered the synagogue. He was immediately met by a man with an unclean spirit
who: “… cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, Jesus of
Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know you who you are, the Holy One of
God.” (Mark 1:24)
How did Satan know that Jesus was the Son of God? How did the evil spirit know
that He was the “Holy One of God?” They knew for God had just proclaimed “THIS IS
MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED!” Those words were heard
by every spiritual being in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. Suddenly, Satan and
every evil spirit became aware of Jesus and His relationship with the Father.
Paul became a son of God at his spiritual baptism. He had received the Spirit of
Adoption. God the Father stood in the heavens and cried “THIS IS SAUL OF TARSUS,
MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED!” All angels and all demons
heard those words; and all eyes were upon Paul. This explains how the evil spirit, who
stripped and spanked the sons of Sceva, knew Jesus and Paul. They had been introduced
as the Fathers Heirs at their baptism – Jesus’ baptism by John, Paul’s by the Holy Spirit.
Not only did Satan and his evil spirits know Paul, they also feared him as much as
they did Jesus; for he, as joint-heir, possessed the same authority. This is astonishing!
But it’s exactly what happens when every man or woman is born into the Kingdom of
You have been proclaimed a beloved son or daughter of God. Satan knows you.
He knows of your potential. As he did with Jesus, Satan will do everything possible to
tempt you to question your new identity. He realizes that only by keeping you blind to
your position in the family of God can he reduce the threat that you bring to him.
Paul stated: “you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,
Father.” (Romans 8:15) Abba suggests endearment and affection for the parent. God
called us His beloved children; in reciprocation, we can claim: “this is my beloved