New Citizenship, New Bodies, A Secure Inheritance

By Dr Paul M Elliott

Part three of a series. Read part two.

We come now to our last question: What does adoption promise the believer in the life to come? To answer that question it is important for us to understand one other element in the kind of legal adoption that the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians.

That final important element has three aspects: inheritance rights, citizenship rights and responsibilities, and the restoration of the marred image of God.

A Rich Inheritance

Under the Roman law that Paul is using as his metaphor, the adopted son was given the right to the Father’s property. He was given an inheritance. The father’s property was his by right of adoption. And that is true for us. We have an inheritance. Our inheritance is our Father’s property — all the riches that are in Christ Jesus. The spiritual riches of life in Him now, and the riches of the new heavens and new earth in the life to come. And the Holy Spirit, Ephesians chapter one tells us, is the guarantee or the down-payment of that inheritance.

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New Privileges, New Relationships, New Responsibilities


By Dr Paul M Elliot

Part two of a series. Read part one.

What does adoption mean for the saints during this present life?

A New Relationship with God the Father

First, we have a new relationship with God the Father. Because of what Christ has done, God the condemning Judge is now God our loving Father. He is not only “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” as Scripture tells us in several places, but He is the God and Father of us all, Paul tells us in Ephesians chapter four, because we are in Christ. When Jesus met Mary Magdalene after His resurrection He said to her in John chapter 20, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Scripture tells us that because of our adoption, God our Father is now approachable. Through the intercession of the risen Christ, seated at His right hand, we have access to the Father. When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught them to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” And so the writer to the Hebrews tells us, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” God our Father wants us to come to Him. He wants us to fellowship with Him. He wants to care for us. He hears and answers prayer.

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What Does It Mean to Be Adopted by God?

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.

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