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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adopted as Children of God - Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5

Someone recently asked me if everyone can be a child of God. The Bible says only those who believe in the gospel and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, become sons [children] of God (John 1:12). Only those who believe in the exclusive gospel can be the true children of God (1 John 3:1; 4:10).Therefore, it is important to know that the doctrine of adoption plays an essential function in the work of salvation.

Romans 8:15 resides in the internal transformation of the new creation through the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit in believers. Paul explains believers who are "led by the Spirit are sons [children] of God" (Rom. 8:14). If you have the Spirit, Paul says, then the "Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16). Therefore, people who believe in Christ receive the Spirit of adoption as "children of God" (Rom. 8:15). It is no mistake that Paul identifies believers, not non-believers, as the true children of God.

Galatians 4:5 uses similar Pauline family language, yet he further explains how the Son Jesus Christ came to adopt those under the law, "So you [who are believers] are no longer a slave [as a non-believer], but a son [now a child of God], and if a son [a child of God], an heir of God" (Gal. 4:7). It is very clear that Jesus came to redeem sinners [who are not the children of God] to "receive adoptions as sons" to become the true children of God.

Ephesians 1:5 mysteriously yet richly explains the eternal plans of God the Father in salvation. He predestined us "for adoption as sons" through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul explains in eternity pass God planned to adopt believers "through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." If God loved all people, then how come they are not all reconciled and adopted as God's children? The answer is based on their acceptance of the gospel.

It is interesting to note that these verses actually show how the Trinity works in the doctrine of adoption to transform people into the true children of God. God the Father predestined sinners to become true children of God according to the purpose of his will (Eph. 1:5), through God the Son's redeeming work (Gal. 4:5), by the power of God the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14, 15, 16, 23). To become a child of God, you must believe in the gospel. If you believe in the gospel, regeneration will take up new residency in your heart and after conversion your sin is justified and your adopted into God family. Therefore, you must be adopted to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit to be a true child of God.

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