I decided to read through What the Bible Teaches, by R.A. Torrey again. It’s a great book – you can download a free PDF here – so we’re doing a little Bible study every Thursday. The collection is here. Subscribe over there to make sure you don’t miss anything, but come back and add your voice in the Comments! >>>
The term “adoption” is only used four times in scripture:
Romans 9:4 –
…who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises;
Romans 8:15, 23 –
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” … Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Ephesians 1:5 –
… having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according t the good pleasure of His will,
Galatians 4:5 –
… to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
It’s interesting that the term never appears in the Old Testament. Adoption is a miracle of the New Covenant in Christ.
We know that Jesus is “the only begotten Son” of the Father. The rest of us are adopted, and only through faith in Christ. We like to say, sometimes, that all people are God’s children, but are they? Jesus is the only one with the right to call God His “Father,” by birth. The rest of us are granted that right by His mercy and grace, through faith in His sacrifice, as adopted sons and daughters.
But without that faith, we aren’t adopted. Which would mean that not everyone actually is a child of God.
A creation of God? Yes. Loved by God? Absolutely.
But a child has rights and privileges of relationship that others don’t have. Torrey comments:
“Regeneration is a change of nature. Adoption is a change of position or relation.”
He lists four results of adoption, as indicated by these four passages of scripture:
- God sends the Spirit into our hearts (Galatians 4).
- We are delivered from bondage and fear (Romans 8).
- We are delivered from the bondage under the law to serve in the freedom of sons (Galatians 3 and 4).
- We are made heirs of God with Jesus (Romans 8).
Adoption may be a huge reason that the New Covenant is called the “better” covenant.