You are at: 1way2God.net   >  Christian Resources   >  Theology   >  Adoption
   
 
 

Adoption Into God's Family

Summary:  (top)

The New Testament clearly associates adoption with conversion, indicating that God makes us to be His children as a response to our saving faith. Results of this adoption include: a relationship with God as 'our Father in Heaven'; being led by the Holy Spirit; being disciplined by God, and; enjoying a relationship with other believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is also seen that there will be more privileges of adoption in the future (when Christ returns) for at this time all believers will receive resurrection bodies for the Kingdom of Heaven.

     Contents

Introduction:  (top)

Adoption into God's family is an immense honour that can only occur after the faith and repentance of conversion, and is separate to the right legal standing before God in justification. Adoption has to do with our relationship to God and others, and in adoption we are given many undeserved blessings that we will enjoy forever (literally).

The Biblical Teaching:

Adoption in the Bible:  (top)

The following are examples of the teaching of adoption in the Bible:

  • "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
  • "... those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:14-17)
  • "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:1-2)

When Adoption Occurs:  (top)

The New Testament clearly associates adoption with conversion, indicating that it is a response of God to our saving faith, and so occurs (immediately) after an individual truly accepts Christ as Lord and Saviour.

  • "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
  • "Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:23-27).

The Privileges of Adoption:  (top)

   A relationship with God as 'our Father in Heaven':  (top)

The Bible frequently tells us that as believers, God is our Father in Heaven, caring for us and loving us in the same manner as a good father ought. This relationship means that we have an inheritance in Heaven, because we have become heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ

  • Jesus taught His disciples to pray: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..." (Matt.6:9)
  • "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:32-33)
  • "... those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Rom. 8:14-17)
  • "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.' So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." (Gal. 4:6-7)

   Being led by the Holy Spirit:  (top)

The Spirit of God works within us so that we desire to live godly lives, pleasing to our Heavenly Father:

  • "For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God." (Rom. 8:13-14)

   Being Disciplined by God:  (top)

While this particular privilege of adoption may not be considered as such by some, it is indeed a privilege, for God knows what is best for His creation, disciplining where necessary, 'that we may share in His holiness'. It is important to understand, however, that discipline does not necessarily refer to punishment. Discipline is simply God acting in our lives to discipline us in whatever way is best, be it through suffering (for "suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" [Rom. 5:3-4]), or through joy and peace.

  • "...the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (Heb. 12:6 cf. Pr. 3:12)
  • "Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" (Heb. 12:7)
  • "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." (Heb. 12:10)

   The Relationship with Other Believers:  (top)

  • Many times, the New Testament refers to Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ: "I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ..." (1 Cor. 1:10; see also James 1:2; Matt. 12:50 et. al.)
  • The church was often pictured as a family: "Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity." (1 Tim. 5:1-2)
  • We are to imitate God, as a child is known to imitate their earthly father: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Eph. 5:1-2)

Through adoption, we enjoy a relationship with other believers as brothers and sisters, and with God as our Father in Heaven. Therefore we should heed the words of 1 Timothy 5:1-2: "Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity."

Adoption Yet To Come:  (top)

It must also be noted that there will be more privileges of adoption in the future, when Christ returns; for at this time all believers will receive resurrection bodies for the life to come:

  • "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (Rom. 8:23)

Related Links


 
 

~ View printer-friendly version of this page ~

This page last updated: 31 July 2009
This site last updated:

Copyright 1way2God.net, 2002-2008.