Families in the world have names. Family names have reputations attached to them. Although reputations cannot accurately reveal true character, people hold opinions, for better or worse, of others.
The name, “Adam,” is forever tainted by the memory of the first man’s insurrection against God his Creator. All people are in Adam, share in his sin, and suffer with him in death (1 Cor 15:22).
The two sons of Adam, Cain and Abel (Gen 4), reveal two lineal descents: righteous and unrighteous. The nature of both sons of Adam was revealed by their service and worship of God. One was accepted by God because of acceptable sacrifice and the other was not acceptable to God. Abel could not propagate posterity because Cain murdered him. God replaced righteous Abel with righteous Seth.
In the centuries between Seth and Noah, men multiplied. The treachery of Cain’s progeny persisted until only one family of the righteous remained on the face of the earth (Heb 11:7). Surely, without God’s providential protection and way of salvation, the unrighteous would have fully devoured the righteous. God preserved His elect, who preached righteousness to people (2 Pet 2:5), who had no will nor ability to heed the call to repentance. There was no grace from God for the unrighteous, nor salvation from the Great Flood of God’s righteous wrath (Gen 9). Simply put, the unrighteous were under their father (Jn 8:44), the devil, who has no plan of salvation for the children of devil because Satan, too, is under the wrath of God. He is the spirit that works in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2).
The sons of Noah believed their father, who believed God. The seed of the adversary was in Adam’s family, however. Ham, the son of Noah, proved himself to be wicked by his evil actions. His offspring was cursed, and the multiplication of the unrighteous unbelievers again plagued the righteous (Gen 9).
God chose His righteous ones in eternity past, those who would call upon the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32). They are manifested in every generation, as an unbroken line. God has always, faithfully preserved this remnant of people for Himself (Rom 9:27; 11:5). These bear witness of the one true God being the true and spiritual Israel of God (Is 49:3, 6; Rom 9:6), gathered from every nation tribe and tongue (Rev 5:9; 7:9). These are called by a new name when they are transferred from the rebel family of Adam to the holy family of Christ Jesus (Is 62:2; Col 1:13).
The reason for the name change is the change in family. These righteous ones, saved from the wrath of God (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Thess 1:10; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10), are given the right to be called, “children of God (1 Jn 3:1, 10).” These elect, redeemed souls not only believe in the name of Christ (Jn 1:12), but they are given His Name.
The name, “Christian,” signifies the inseparable union the child of God has with her Elder Brother. She also has His Spirit living in her (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 4:6; 2 Tim 1:14). Thus, she is taking on Christ’s nature, his mind, His affections along with His right standing before his Father, who has become the Father of all those in Christ. We pray, “Our Father…”
The legal proof of sonship is the permanent presence of God the Holy Spirit in the heart (Rom 8:9, 11; Heb 13:5), whose evidence is observed by the words and works of the one claiming Christ as Lord. The apostle Paul wrote, “Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).” This is a reality because it is the Spirit of Christ sent from the God-man on the throne of God (Jn 14:17; 15:26), who has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18).
The Spirit of adoption is the transfer agent, who causes the son of Adam to become the son of God. The Spirit initiates this judicial act of God at the regeneration (1 Pet 1:3), the spiritual birth of the believer in Jesus (Jn 3:1–8). The continued application of benefits, secured by the meritorious works of Christ, is also the Spirit’s prerogative.
Sonship is an act of transformation (Rom 12:2). The object of the transformation is the saint, who is being made holy by the Spirit’s instrumentation of the Word of God (Jn 17:17). Like a sword in the Spirit’s hand, the Bible performs its good work (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). This work is a cutting away of the attachments to the world. It is the meticulous crafting of the new man, the new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
The child of God, in name, must grow up into that name, which is above all other names (Eph 1:21; Phil 2:9). The character of the adopted child must properly reflect the family name. The name is righteous. The position is righteousness. The imputation of righteousness is why the child can claim his new family. The righteous ones live by faith in the Son of God who has begun this good work in His people; and he will finish it, as He wills and does His good pleasure to bring His sons to glory.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 22, 2022