The doctrine of the believer’s adoption into God’s family is rich with assurance of the continuing love and commitment of the Heavenly Father. We may define adoption this way: Adoption is the gracious act of God by which He places the believer in Jesus Christ into His family, giving him the full rights and privileges of mature sonship.
From this blessed position in the family of God flow 4 grace-supplied privileges.
- We are delivered from the penalty of the law. Galatians 4:4-5 teaches us that at the very perfect time—God’s time—the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. He did this “so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross for our sins was fully accepted by the Father as the demands of His righteous law were fully met. As a result, those who find refuge from the condemnation of the Law in the “accepted One” find themselves fully accepted by the Heavenly Father as members of His cherished family.
- We receive the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance. Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that at the moment we believed the gospel we were sealed in Christ “with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” The Holy Spirit, who right now indwells us, is God’s down-payment on His own promise. As fully mature adopted sons we are the rightful heirs, in Christ, of an unspeakable inheritance. The Holy Spirit’s presence is proof.
- We are placed into a family where we do not naturally belong. Ephesians 2:3 teaches us that before we were regenerated by the Holy Spirit and faith came from the hearing of the gospel (Rom 10:17), we were “children of wrath.” Now, according to 1 John 3:2, “we are children of God.” No longer are we “children of the devil” (1 Jn 3:10), but fully accepted and adopted sons and daughters of the King of Kings. We belong to Him. We belong in His family.
- We have an intimate father-child relationship with God. Romans 8:15 teaches us that we “have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but [we] have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’” As a result of this relationship:
- We are invited to pray and to call Him ‘Father’ (Matthew 6:9).
- We receive His compassion (Psalm 103:13-14).
- We are assured of His love as He disciplines [trains] us for righteousness (Hebrews 12:5-10).
- We are forgiven, released from the punishment of our sins (Matthew 6:12).
Of our ongoing need of forgiveness, Wayne Grudem writes, “This daily prayer for forgiveness of sins is not a prayer that God would give us justification again and again throughout our lives, for justification is a one-time event that occurs immediately after we trust in Christ with saving faith. Rather, the prayer of forgiveness of sins each day is a prayer that God’s fatherly relationship with us, which has been disrupted by sin that displeased him, be restored, and that he relate to us once again as a father who delights in his children whom he loves.”
Our adoption by God in Jesus Christ is one of the most comforting doctrines in the Word of God. If you are born again, take time to consider the richness of your position before God, as His child. Remember Christ. Remember the love of the Father in sending His Son. Remember the love of the Son in giving Himself as our ransom. Remember the love of the Holy Spirit who has sealed you—for God—unto the day of redemption (Eph 5:30).