10 Things You Should Know about Spiritual Adoption

Sam Storms: As glorious and wonderful as is the physical birth of a new-born baby, it pales in comparison with the spiritual re-birth of a person and the new life in Jesus Christ that they receive by God’s mercy and grace. I don’t mean to downplay the beauty of physical birth. It is truly a miracle and puts on display God’s creativity and power. But the second birth, being born again, as the NT describes it, is greater still. Physical birth only gives us physical life. Being born again gives us eternal life as the children of God. So let’s look at ten things we all should know about what it means to be an adopted child of God. (1) Although we should be careful when we compare the goodness of God’s gifts, I believe that spiritual adoption is near the top of the list. This isn’t in the least to slight justification or forgiveness or the indwelling presence of

read more 10 Things You Should Know about Spiritual Adoption

J. I. Packer on the 6 Things You Should Tell Yourself Every Day

Justin Taylor: Spiritual adoption is a big deal for the practical theology of J. I. Packer. In Knowing God J. I. Packer writes: If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. He says that if he were to focus the New Testament message in three words, he would choose adoption through propitiation. “I do not expect,” he writes, “ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.” How would Packer summarize the whole of New Testament teaching? a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator. He summarizes the whole of New Testament religion as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father.

read more J. I. Packer on the 6 Things You Should Tell Yourself Every Day

Adoption: A New Father and a New Heart

  Donald Macleod: Martin Luther, whose tormented conscience and anguished thinking launched the Protestant Reformation, once remarked, “If the doctrine of justification is lost, the whole of Christian doctrine is lost.” It is hardly surprising, then, that there is voluminous Protestant literature on justification. The doctrine of adoption, by contrast, has been largely neglected. Yet the two are inseparably linked. Grace Beyond and Above Which is not to say that they are identical. Adoption is a grace beyond and above justification. In justification, God acquits sinners of all the charges against them. Indeed, he goes further still and declares that in Christ their righteousness meets the highest possible standards. They are as righteous as Christ himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). There is not a stain on their characters. At this point, in normal human systems of justice, the accused is then simply free to go, and both he and the judge hope they will never see each other again. But the

read more Adoption: A New Father and a New Heart

Adoption in Context

This is not for the theologically faint-of-heart! Essentially, we are to see Jesus, in his eternal sonship, as the ultimate expression of relating to God, both as its perfect template (for creation) and practical example (in incarnation). Through union with him we share in that ideal filial relationship. Wonderful! Tony Reinke posts: J. I. Packer rather famously wrote, “were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that” (Knowing God, 214). Adoption is precious, and that line from Packer is worth memorizing. But there’s a much broader historical-redemptive context for understanding our adoption as David B. Garner explains in his excellent chapter, “The First and Last Son: Christology and Sonship in Pauline Soteriology,” published in Resurrection and Eschatology (P&R, 2008). Here is Garner’s thick-and-rich-like-dark-chocolate conclusion. Best enjoyed in small bites: Behind the creation of the

read more Adoption in Context

Why Adoption Is a Higher Blessing than Justification

J. I. Packer: Paul teaches that the gift of justification (i.e., present acceptance by God as the world’s Judge) brings with it the status of sonship by adoption (i.e., permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father, Gal. 3:26; 4:4-7). In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the childless rich. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ (John 1:12). The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s now (Rom. 8:17, 38-39). Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and

read more Why Adoption Is a Higher Blessing than Justification

How the New Testament Describes Salvation

Dane Ortlund writes: Here are the more important ones, noting which sphere of life from which they are drawn. Justification – the lawcourt metaphor (Rom 5:1; Titus 3:7) Sanctification – the cultus metaphor (1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess 4:3) Adoption – the familial metaphor (Rom 8:15; 1 John 3:1–2) Reconciliation – the relational metaphor (Rom 5:1–11; 2 Cor 5:18–20) Washing – the physical cleansing metaphor (1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:7) Redemption – the slave market metaphor (Eph 1:7; Rev 14:3–4) Purchase – the financial transaction metaphor (1 Cor 6:20; 2 Pet 2:1) Wedding – the marriage metaphor (Eph 5:31-32; Rev 21:2) Liberation – the imprisonment metaphor (Gal 5:1; Rev 1:5) New Birth – the physical generation metaphor (John 3:3–7; 1 Pet 1:3,23) Illumination – the light metaphor (John 12:35–36; 2 Cor 4:4–6) New Creation – the redemptive-historical metaphor (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15) Resurrection – the bodily metaphor (Eph 2:6; Col 3:1) Union with Christ – the organic or spatial metaphor (Rom 6:1–14; 2 Tim 1:9) Inexhaustible richness. Luther was right– If a person

read more How the New Testament Describes Salvation

Thomas Watson on Adoption

For Ellie-May, and her new parents, Hannah and Ashley. “Extol and magnify God’s mercy, who has adopted you into his family; who, of slaves, has made you sons; of heirs of hell, heirs of the promise. Adoption is a free gift. He gave them power, or dignity, to become the sons of God. As a thread of silver runs through a whole piece of work, so free grace runs through the whole privilege of adoption. Adoption is greater mercy than Adam had in paradise; he was a son by creation, but here is a further sonship by adoption. To make us thankful, consider, in civil adoption there is some worth and excellence in the person to be adopted; but there was no worth in us, neither beauty, nor parentage, nor virtue; nothing in us to move God to bestow the prerogative of sonship upon us. We have enough in us to move God to correct us, but nothing to move

read more Thomas Watson on Adoption

That sons of men could become sons of God

…the work to be performed by the Mediator was of no common description: being to restore us to the divine favour, so as to make us, instead of sons of men, sons of God; instead of heirs of hell, heirs of a heavenly kingdom. Who could do this unless the Son of God should also become the Son of man, and so receive what is ours as to transfer to us what is his, making that which is his by nature to become ours by grace? Relying on this earnest, we trust that we are the sons of God, because the natural Son of God assumed to himself a body of our body, flesh of our flesh, bones of our bones, that he might be one with us; he declined not to take what was peculiar to us, that he might in his turn extend to us what was peculiarly his own, and thus might be in common with us

read more That sons of men could become sons of God

Justified or Adopted? Which Is Greater?

CJ Mahaney has some helpful posts on the believer’s adoption. Here’s a great quote from J.I. Packer he includes: That justification—by which we mean God’s forgiveness of the past together with his acceptance for the future—is the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel is not in question. Justification is the primary blessing, because it meets our primary spiritual need. We all stand by nature under God’s judgment; his law condemns us; guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable, and in our lucid moments afraid; we have no peace in ourselves because we have no peace with our Maker. So we need the forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world; and this the gospel offers us before it offers us anything else… But contrast this, now, with adoption. Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into

read more Justified or Adopted? Which Is Greater?

Sons and Daughters by Adoption

“Extol and magnify God’s mercy, who has adopted you into his family; who, of slaves, has made you sons; of heirs of hell, heirs of the promise. Adoption is a free gift. He gave them power, or dignity, to become the sons of God. As a thread of silver runs through a whole piece of work, so free grace runs through the whole privilege of adoption. Adoption is greater mercy than Adam had in paradise; he was a son by creation, but here is a further sonship by adoption. To make us thankful, consider, in civil adoption there is some worth and excellence in the person to be adopted; but there was no worth in us, neither beauty, nor parentage, nor virtue; nothing in us to move God to bestow the prerogative of sonship upon us. We have enough in us to move God to correct us, but nothing to move him to adopt us, therefore exalt free grace; begin

read more Sons and Daughters by Adoption

“Reciprocal Love”

Dan Cruver, of ‘Together for Adoption’, writes: Whenever we think of our union with Christ adoption should be in our thoughts as well. After all, we are sons of God by virtue of our union with the Son of God. That’s why after writing that we’ve been “predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ,” Paul adds that this gracious provision from God the Father was given to us “in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:5-6). Here’s the beauty of seeing the relationship between union with Christ and adoption: our union with Christ brings us to share in the greatest benefit of our adoption, namely, the reciprocal love between the Father and the Son.  As T.F. Torrance has written: “Through union with Jesus Christ we are drawn by the Spirit of the Father and of the Son into the Communion of the Father and the Son” (The Christian Doctrine of God, 42). (Via: Gospel Driven Blog)