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Monday
Dec282009

Theological Term of the Week

adoption
An act of God whereby he makes believers members of his family and gives them all the privileges of children of God.

  • From scripture:
    In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6 ESV)
    For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…. (Romans 8:14-17 ESV)
  • From The Savoy Declaration, Chapter 12:
    Of Adoption:

    All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth in and for his only Son Jesus Christ to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry, Abba Father; are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.
  • From Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray, Part 2, Chapter 6:
    Could anything disclose the marvel of adoption or certify the security of its tenure and privelege more effectively than the fact that the Father himself, on account of whom are all things and through whom are all things, who made the captain of salvation perfect through sufferings, becomes by deed of grace the Father of the many sons whom he will bring to glory? And that is the reason why the captain of salvation himself is not ashamed to call them brethren and exult with joy unspeakable, “Behold I and the children whom God hath given to me” (Heb. 2:13).
  • From Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem:

    [One] privilege of adoption into God’s family, though we do not recognize it as a privilege, is the fact that God disciplines us as his children. “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:5-6, quoting Prov. 3:11-12). The author of Hebrews explains, “God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? … he disciplines us for our good that we may share his holiness” Heb. 12:7, 10). Just as earthly children grow in obedience and righteousness when they are disciplined properly by their earthly fathers, so we grow in righteousness and holiness when we are disciplined by our heavenly Father.

Learn more:

  1. Tim Challies: The Essential: Adoption
  2. Bob Burridge: Adoption
  3. James Montgomery Boice: Adoption
  4. Herman Ridderbos: Section 35. The Adoption of Sons (scroll down)
  5. Rev. Angus Stewart: Adoption: A Biblical and Theological Exposition of a Neglected Doctrine
  6. R. W. Glenn: Adoption (mp3)
  7. Joel Beeke: Our Greatest Privilege (mp3)

Related terms:

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. I’ll give you credit and a link back to your blog if I use your suggestion.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

I suggested this to my pastor 20+ years ago! This is fantastic! Thank you so much and God bless you! :)
~Laurie in Gilroy, California

January 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

I'm glad you like this feature, Laurie. :)

January 22, 2012 | Registered Commenterrebecca

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