Friday, July 1, 2011

Big God, Big Words: Adoption

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then, heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we might also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15-17, ESV)

Adoption is
"the act of God's free grace whereby believers are received into the number of, and have a right to all the privileges of, the Son of God." (8)
It goes on to note:
1. Adoption is an act, not a process. It is completed at once and is conferred equally upon all believers in Christ.
2. It is a gracious act (Eph. 1:4, 5; 1 John 3:1), carried out on the merit of Christ's redemption (Gal. 4:4, 5).
3. It is a forensic act, dealing with the legal right and status of the justified (John 1:12; Rom. 8:17) It is not to be confounded with regeneration, which describes an actual moral change whereby, being born of the Spirit (John 3:3, 5), we "are made partakers of the divine nature."
4. Like justification, it is a direct result of our union with Christ.
5. It is received by faith (Gal. 3:26) and exalts to the highest liberty (Gal. 4:7) and dignity (Isa. 43:4; Heb. 12:23, "firstborn," Rom. 8:17). 
6. It always results in glorification (Rom. 8:16-18). "Adoption ends in coronation" (Thomas Watson). (9)

Today's definition comes from Dictionary of Theological Terms: A Ready Reference of Over 800 Theological and Doctrinal Terms. Expanded Third Edition by Alan Cairns (2002).

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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