By Dr Paul M Elliot
Part one of a series. Read part two.
This precious doctrine is often neglected in contemporary preaching. In a three-part series we shall examine three related questions: How are believers adopted by God? What does adoption mean for the believer’s present life? What does adoption mean for the life to come? We’ll also examine some current false teachings about adoption.
A Key Passage
One of the key passages that presents this wonderful doctrine is Galatians 3:26-4:7 —
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ [this speaks of Spirit baptism, not water baptism] have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.