Type to search

Adoption: What are we to believe about ours as believers? 

Gary Googe Apr 08

Adopting someone into a family was different in the apostle Paul’s day than it is in ours.  You can get a little glimpse of that in the movie Ben-Hur where the actor Charlton Heston, who plays Judah Ben-Hur, is adopted as an adult by the Roman fleet admiral whose life he saved in a sea battle.  History tells us that at that time it was customary for EVERY child to be adopted, usually at the age of fourteen. Until then the child was normally treated well, but much like a household slave with few privileges.  However, at the time of adoption that status changed significantly.  Being formally “adopted” he gained sonship.  The child then suddenly stepped into a position of privilege he’d never known before.  It is that manner of adoption that Paul has in mind when he speaks of it concerning us in his writings.  The main idea is when a person gets saved today, they then enter into a position of privilege being “adopted” as sons OF GOD.  The apostle Paul mentions this several times in his letters.  He relates this principle to both God’s people Israel as well as to us today.  We’ll note first his comment as this principle related to Israel in times past.  They, too, enjoyed a position of privilege in their relationship with God that Gentiles didn’t have.

Romans 9:3-4

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; [Emphasis added]

This is telling us that as God’s people, Israelites were the beneficiaries of being His covenant people, having a system of law and a specific manner of life and worship, along with many wonderful divine promises of future blessings.  Paul speaks of all this as it pertained to Israel in his letter to the Galatian believers.

Galatians 4:1-6

1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant [DOULOS = slave or servant], though he be lord of all;

2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.

Then Paul goes on to talk about the position of privilege God provided through Christ that we have entered into today as members of what is called the Body of Christ.

3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:

4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. [Emphasis added]

What a blessed people all believers are today! They just need to read and study the Pauline epistles to learn about it and all the spiritual blessings that now belong to us. As Gentiles we have come into ownership of the spiritual blessings [not the material ones] that belonged to Israel.

Romans 15:27

27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. [Emphasis added]

For more information about these spiritual blessings we now have in Christ, please see my article about them.  

Blessings: What are now ours in Christ?

Altogether we have so very much in SPIRITUAL blessings.  In this case, it is said that we’ve been adopted by God Himself into a position of honor with many privilegesOf course, today, we as believers are not Israel in any way.  They had their blessings, but today we have ours.  Among other blessings, we have become what is known as members of the Body of ChristWe have this intimate union with Him like no other people in the past.

1 Corinthians 12:27

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. [Emphasis added]

We have been united to be one with Him forever.

Ephesians 5:30

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [Emphasis added]

Among other things, this union with Christ, this intimate relationship we have with Him, provides complete security.  Even if for some crazy reason we were to deny Him and our relationship with Him, we remain in a position of complete security now and forever.  Regardless of any sin or foolish thing we may do, we are secure in our relationship with Christ.  This in no way gives us a “license to sin” as we please but the best of reasons to serve Him with thanksgiving.

2 Timothy 2:13

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. [Emphasis added]

This union that makes us one with Christ involves blessings even beyond anything God ever provided for the people of Israel.  Every spiritual blessing that belonged to Christ now belongs to us today.

Ephesians 1:3

3 Blessed be [we salute] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [Emphasis added]

We’re not to be looking for material blessings for our faithfulness but focusing on the spiritual ones we already have and can enjoy now and forever.  For more information about these spiritual blessings we have in our relationship with Christ today, please see my article about this.

Blessing: Does God promise material blessings for godly living?

Our objective today is to learn to be spiritually minded rather than carnally minded.  To be carnally minded is to live by the dictates of the people of the world and our sinful nature.  Now that we’ve been adopted into the family of God, we need to take on a likeness of our Savior in our manner of life.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

12 Now we [as believers] have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14 But the natural man [the unbeliever] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15 But he that is spiritual [believers functioning under the influence of God’s Word] judgeth [ANAKRINO = discerns or has good judgment about] all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16 For who [among unbelievers] hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we [as believers who know His Word] have the mind of Christ. [Emphasis added]

Our adoption into the family of God is but one of these blessings that is ours to know and appreciate.  Again, they are blessings that are ours now and foreverUnlike temporal things, these are ours permanently.  It was in eternity past that God predetermined that He would provide these blessings for all who would freely accept His provision for their salvation.

Ephesians 1:3 again, plus 4-6

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

For more information about predestination, please see my article about it.

Predestination: Does God predetermine who’s going to Hell?

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. [Emphasis added]

As a believer in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for your salvation, never think for even a second that you’re somehow no longer accepted by Him.  We are one with Him now and forever as His adopted children.

Before our salvation we lived in a state of alienation and bondage to sins of one kind or another.

Colossians 1:21

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled. [Emphasis added]

But now we are free to serve God who provided us with our freedom.

Romans 8:14-16

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [Emphasis added]

God is now our heavenly Father.  Before our salvation and adoption, we were said to be children of Satan.

John 8:44

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. [Emphasis added]

We, of course, also still have a sinful nature.  But the day will come when our release of that will come, when we’re given a brand-new sinless body in which to dwell forever.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUO = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

This means we’ll eventually be delivered from our present body that will eventually die.

Romans 7:24-25

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

He then answers his question.

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. [Emphasis added]

We are told that all creation groans for the day in which all this will occur.

Romans 8:22-23

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 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. [Emphasis added]

Verse twenty-three assures us that the ultimate phase of our adoption will be us gaining a perfect resurrection body with all the wonderful features of our Lord’s resurrection body.  Oh, happy day that will be!


Indeed, as adopted children of God we now occupy a position of privilege. Certain things are now ours but only positionally.  But the day will come when we’ll get to experience it all in a body like that of our Savior. We’ll then get all the blessings we’ve been promised.  Our position of being adopted as children of God occurred at the point in time when we were first saved, but certain other blessings, like that of a new body and our entrance into our new home in Heaven, are still yet to come.  Any way you look at it, we’re a blessed people and the best of it all is yet to come.  Meanwhile we’re to do all we can to lead others into this blessed position by faithfully presenting the gospel of salvation to people in our life.

Share this article:
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop

    Contact 4Us/2Us

    [super_form id="692"]

    Support Our Ministry


    Your gifts will be a part of the means by which this ministry is supported and sustained.

    Our objective is to give people the truth they need by which to gain salvation and to grow spiritually.

    We very much appreciate your part in this great work.

    Donation amount
    Donation frequency

    Don't worry - your information is safe with us!