Our Present & Future Adoption as the Sons of God

Galatians 4:4,5; John 1:12,13; Romans 8:23

When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Son of God became a Son of man, that the sons and daughters of men might become the sons and daughters of God Almighty. The privilege of adoption is entirely owing to Jesus Christ; He gave this power to them that believe on His name.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): To them gave he power to become the sons of God.” This expression means “He gave them the privilege of adoption into God’s family.”―The word “power” in this sentence requires careful guarding against misrepresentation. It means, as the marginal reading says, “right, or privilege.” It does not mean strength or ability. It does not mean that Christ confers on those who receive Him a spiritual and moral strength, by which they convert themselves, change their own hearts, and make themselves God’s children.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): This is an act of pure grace. No man can ever have a “right,” in himself, to become adopted.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): If the cause of adoption be inquired for, it must be said to have been the mere mercy and goodness of God.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): Our right and title to spiritual adoption, and the privileges thereof arise from our union with Jesus Christ; we being united to the Son of God, are, by virtue of that union, reckoned or accounted sons, Galatians 3:26, “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.” The effect of saving faith is union with Christ’s person, and the consequence of that union is adoption, or the right to the inheritance.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Now what does this term “adoption” mean?

C. H. SPURGEON: Adoption is that act of God whereby men, who were by nature the children of wrath, even as others, and were of the lost and ruined family of Adam, are from no reason in themselves, but entirely of the pure grace of God, translated out of the evil and black family of Satan, and brought actually and virtually into the family of God.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): And the agent that brought you into this family is the Holy Spirit.

JOHN CALVIN: Having been engrafted into the body of Christ, we are made partakers of the Divine adoption, and heirs of heaven.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): The moment they believe, they are sons.

C. H. SPURGEON: They take His name, share the privileges of sorts, and they are to all intents and purposes the actual offspring and children of God!

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): So now we are the sons of God. But―“waiting for the adoption?” Why then should we wait for what we have already?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The Apostle Paul is the only writer in the New Testament that uses the term “adoption.”―And there is no doubt at all that he borrowed the term from Roman law and jurisprudence. It is a term, and an idea that the Jews knew nothing about at all; it was in no part of their legal system―quite foreign to the Jew. But it was a term with which any Roman was familiar; and the Apostle Paul, had been born a free Roman citizen, and had lived in that atmosphere. In Roman law, adoption secured for the adopted child a right to the name and the property of the person by whom he had been adopted—an absolute legal right.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Adoption, amongst the Romans, was two-fold; first, private, in the house, and afterwards public, in the forum. The former of these every believer has received already through the operation of the Spirit of God upon his soul: but for the latter he waits till that period when God shall come to gather together His elect from every quarter of the world.

MATTHEW HENRY: The privileges of their adoption shall be completed in the resurrection of the body.

MATTHEW POOLE: Now we have the right, but not the full possession, of our inheritance: the apostle himself explains his meaning in the next words: “The redemption of our body”—our perfect deliverance from sin and misery; this phrase is used in other places; see Luke 21:28, Ephesians 4:30. But why of our body, and not of our souls? Because their souls would be in actual possession of the inheritance before that day.

ADAM CLARKE: They who believe in Christ with a heart unto righteousness are freed from the bondage of their sinful corruption, and brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God; and they look forward with joyous expectation, waiting for the general resurrection, when their bodies also shall be redeemed from corruption, and the whole man—body and soul—shall be adopted into the family of heaven.

CHARLES SIMEON: That is the period when the body will enjoy the redemption that has been long since possessed by the soul; and a blessedness will be then imparted to the whole man, of which his present most exalted happiness is but an earnest and foretaste. Now the believer knows that period shall arrive: and he longs for it, and “groans within himself,” through the ardour of his desires after it. Even here his anticipations of it have been sweet, infinitely beyond the powers of language to express―“a joy unspeakable.” What then shall the full possession be in the complete enjoyment of his God? From the private adoption, by the testimony of the Spirit, he has been almost wrapt at times into the third heaven, notwithstanding the clog which his body has imposed upon his soul. What then shall the public manifestation of this honour in the presence of the whole assembled universe be, when his “redeemed body” shall possess all the purity and perfection of his soul?

C. H. SPURGEON: We do not know the greatness of adoption yet. Yes, I believe that even in eternity we shall scarcely be able to measure the infinite depth of the love of God in that one blessing of “adoption by Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”

CHARLES SIMEON: I wonder not that Paul “groaned” in this body, being burdened; yea, that he “groaned, earnestly desiring” to be clothed upon with his heavenly house, namely, with his body in its renovated and perfect state, 2 Corinthians 5:2-5. This ought to be the state of every true believer; and it will be in proportion as he lives nigh to God, and has “his conversation in heaven.”


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