Doctrine of Adoption Defined

I just recently began digging into the doctrine of adoption as I realized that I was very weak when it came to that area of my theology. I have a hard time accepting that God has made me His son and I get to receive the blessings and benefits promised to those who have been given the status of sonship through the grace of Christ.

Two factors in particular in my life have led to this hardness of acceptance for me. The first being that I am very results-oriented. I (wrongly) judge my value and worth by “how well” I’m doing and what I’m getting done. Since I usually don’t live up to my own expectations, I tend to stay down on myself a good bit (again, it’s wrong I know). I desperately need the grace of Christ as much now as I did the day of my salvation! Second would be the way I have witnessed other Christians take the “King’s Kid” mentality to the extreme and attach it to our American sense of entitlement diving off into goofy theologies such as the “Name it & Claim it” mumbo jumbo. Such goofiness completely ignores the lives of Jesus, Paul, the Apostles, the first century church, and.. you get the idea. Back to the topic.

“Adoption is the gracious gift of God in which He confers upon sinners the position of sons and the privileges of sonship.” – David Platt

Anyway, all of this had led to me having a distorted view of this beautiful doctrine and what the Bible really says about us, in this regard, as God’s children. This study has been very beneficial to my soul and I will continue to meditate on it for a long while.

The whole reason for this post was so that I could share a quote from J.I. Packer showing the importance and prominence of this great doctrine of our faith.

“Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification. This may cause raising of eyebrows, for justification is the gift of God on which, since Luther, evangelicals have laid the greatest stress, and we are accustomed to say, almost without thinking, that free justification is God’s supreme blessing to us sinners. Nonetheless, careful thought will show the truth of the statement we have just made.

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 convicts us, guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable, and in lucid moments afraid. We have no peace in ourselves because we have no peace with our Maker. So we need forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world. And this Gospel offers us before it offers us anything else.

But this is not to say that justification is the highest blessing of the Gospel. Adoption is higher, because of the rich relationship with God that it involves. What is a Christian? The richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as his Father. If you want to know 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.” – J.I. Packer


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