“That we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:5

Adoption is a word that carries positive and negative connotations.  On the one hand, there is the good news that a child has been legally brought into what is hopefully a caring family.  On the other hand, there is the sad reality of the reason the child was open for adoption in the first place.  Was it death, a disturbed family situation, or outright rejection?  These are not pleasant thoughts.

The doctrine of adoption in the Bible is different because it is all good news.  The Shorter Catechism defines adoption as “an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into that number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God”  [Answer 34].

     It is sad that there are some unfortunate children who are born in less than ideal circumstances.  In the spiritual sense, all of us are born in sin and into an abusive family where the father of sinners is the devil [John 8:44].  He has no thought for our good and will drive us into sinful pursuits that will eventually destroy both body and soul.

However, there is another family – the family of God – with its all-wise, loving, holy, and heavenly Father.  Just as an orphan cannot force its way into an earthly family without invitation and adoption, neither can we force our way into God’s family.  He must invite us and make us legally part of the household of faith.  Adoption confers upon us all the rights and privileges of “sons of God.”     Jesus said of those who received Him that He would give them “power” (or authority) “to become the sons of God” [John1:1].  How blessed we are to be able to say today, “Our Father, which art in heaven.”  [Matthew 6:9].


John Bunyan, author of the famous Pilgrim’s Progress, which every Christian ought to read, wrote in his testimony, Grace Abounding: “I remember that one day, as I was travelling into the country, and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart, and considering the enmity that was in me to God, that Scripture came into my mind, ‘He (has) made peace by the blood of His cross.’  By which I was made to see, both again and again that day, that God and my soul were friends by His blood; yea, I saw that the justice of God and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss each other through His blood.  This was a good day to me; I hope I shall never forget it.”

It is always a good day when we know that we are at peace with God.  Have you had such a good day?  Have you experienced peace through the blood of His cross?  How fearful to start every day in a state of war with God.

[Dr. Ron Johnstone]


In addition to the tragic loss of Drs. Alan Cairns and Mark Allison, in the past year, we have many men out of the pulpit due to serious illness.  All of them would appreciate your continuing prayers.  Even though you may not know them personally, God does, and He is familiar with your prayers.

These sick ones include the Rev. Paul Fitzsimons and his wife, Pamela.  They spent several years in Jamaica before moving to Mullaglass church in Northern Ireland.  Paul has been out of the pulpit for about a year.

Dr. Lindsay Wilson, the minister of Castlederg F.P.C., is out of action with an unknown illness.  Lindsay is also a medical doctor and has been out of the pulpit for many months.

Rev. Kevin McLeod, minister of Rasharkin F.P.C., took a stroke while travelling in Europe with his family a few years ago.  He is unable to continue with a full-time ministry at present.

Dr. Stanley Barnes, and his wife Ina, are having a battle with the pandemic, but the good news is that they are making recovery progress.  Stanley is retired from Hillsborough F.P.C.  All of these families would greatly appreciate the prayer support of God’s people.


The anniversary meetings of the Port Hope church resume this year after missing last year due to the Covid restrictions. The preacher is Rev. Ryan McKee, the minister of Magherafelt F.P.C. in Ulster.  He will be speaking on the Seven Churches of Revelation.

The meetings will be held Monday to Friday, 25-29 October, at 7.30 pm.  The church is exactly fifty miles from the Toronto church and is easy to find.  Take the 401 east to the “Welcome Port Hope” exit.  Turn right onto Toronto Road.  The church is on the right, about a quarter-mile from the 401.  You will be very welcome at any of the services.