Adoption is very often not included in the "order of salvation." The reason is not that Scripture does not speak of it, but that it is a benefit of justification. It is, therefore, understood to be included in justification.
Indeed, adoption is the first and greatest of the benefits of justification. That our sins are freely pardoned and we made righteous in Christ means that God not only receives us, but receives us as His own dear children.
Nevertheless, Scripture speaks often of our adoption and very often of the fact that we are by grace children of God, and He our Father. It is, then, not inappropriate to speak of it separately.
Adoption, like justification, has several steps. It can be traced back to the counsels of eternity and has its completion in the new heavens and earth. The steps, therefore, are:
(1) God sets His love on us and chooses us from eternity to be His children (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:5). Remember, God does not choose us because we are or will be fit to be His children, but that we may be His children. We are predestinated unto the adoption of sons (Eph. 1:5).
(2)In Christ's suffering and death God provides a legal basis for our sonship, for we would have no right to His fatherly love and care and to dwell in His house without that legal foundation (Eph. 2:13; Gal. 4:4-5). We might think of it this way - that our adoption papers are written and sealed with the blood of Christ.
(3) Through the work of the Spirit we are actually received into God's fellowship and family, and experience His love and care for us (Gal. 4:6-7). Kspeaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit, John 14:18 says literally: "I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you."
It is here that God does a wonder by which our adoption transcends the earthly reality of adoption. God by the Spirit causes us to be born again in His own image and likeness, so that we are like Him, something that can never be true of our adopted children (I Jn. 3:1-2; Eph. 4:24).
(4) "Finally, because "it does not yet appear what we shall be" (I John 3:1-2) there will be in the judgment day what Scripture calls "the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19). Then all will see what we are in Christ and we will be received into our eternal home to dwell there with our Father forever. In that day our bodies will also be redeemed from the presence and power of sin - the "adoption" we still wait for (Rom. 8:23).
Predestinated eternally, prepared in Christ, possessed through the Spirit, and perfected in eternity - what a marvelous and gracious work of God! As John says, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!" (I Jn. 3:1).
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 13
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
State or ProvinceWA