Who are you? How do you answer that question? How you answer that question says much about you. Who are you? As we continue in our series on the order of salvation, we will look at one of the benefits of justification. Last month we defined what justification is, in brief, being made right with God. However, if we leave it there we will have a stunted view of justification. There is much more to it than being counted righteous before God, even as wonderful as that may be, Jesus has secured even more than that for us through the cross. In securing our justification Christ subsequently secures our adoption. Galatians 4:4-7 reads, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
No longer slaves born under the law, we are now, through Christ, counted as sons and daughters of God. Think back in the order of salvation that we have looked at so far. Everything we have looked at so far, effectual calling, regeneration, conversion, faith, repentance, and justification have led us to this point of adoption. You can trace these in John1:12-13, But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Part of being born again is being born into the family of God. Think about it carefully here, believers are counted as the children of God. That title doesn't apply to the unbeliever. We are children of God by adoption, not children by nature. Adoption is a legal act whereby a child is taken into a family into which they were not naturally born. When Paul was writing Galatians, he was thinking of the example of the Roman practice of adoption. In Rome an adopted child was given all the rights and privileges of a natural born child. However, there was something different about an adopted Roman child. In Rome the natural born child could be disinherited and disowned; the adopted child could not be disinherited or disowned. Our adoption as the children of God is part of His eternal decree as we are told in Ephesians 1:4-5. This is truly awesome news!
The Westminster Shorter Catechism is always a good place for us to check out when we are talking about theology because it gives us quick and pithy answers to our theological questions. “What is adoption? Adoption is an act of God's free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.” Think about what that adoption means. Think about the amazing blessings that are ours through Jesus Christ. We are sons and daughters of God by grace through faith in Jesus. This is all part of God's initiative in saving a people for Himself. It is all part of the plan of salvation. That is a lot to think about, it is a lot to be thankful for, it gives us every reason to praise the Lord.
1John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Which sets us up for next month when we look at sanctification. We have a reason to be thankful! Happy Thanksgiving!