Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

The Wednesday Word: The Open Hands of Jesus

You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing (Psalm 145:16).

What a powerful verse! Christ´s hands are opened for the daily supply of our needs. An opened hand signifies favour, a closed one, the reverse. So, here´s the truth of the matter, the opened hands of Jesus give all manner of good things to His people. May we continually believe and enjoy this excellent truth.

Think of the times His hands were used for blessing. Here are but a few.

Matthew 14:31, Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him,…

Matthew 8:3, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Mark 1:41, Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him.

Luke 5:13, And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

As our great High Priest, the Lord Christ has all the blessings His people shall ever require, and liberally showers them upon us (Ezekiel 34:26).

As the Hymn writer said,

“There shall be showers of blessing:

This is the promise of love;

There shall be seasons refreshing,

Sent from the Saviour above.”

God is the abundant giver. He gives freely, liberally and without rebuke. He is not in the business of putting us down. He is the Master of encouragement not discouragement. He knows our weakness. He knows our needs and He supplies.

Yes indeed, God is the abundant giver.

He gave Forgiveness;

He gave the New Birth;

He gave Sanctification;

He gave Life;

He gave Eternal Life;

He gave Victory over the grave;

He gave Adoption;

He gave an Everlasting Inheritance;

He gave us all when He gave us Jesus.

God can give us no greater gift than that of Himself and that gift came to us in Christ. Christ is, therefore, the divine treasure house in which the unsearchable riches of Yahweh are stored for His people (Ephesians 3:8). All the abounding grace, all the precious promises and all our royal privileges are treasured up in Him. “For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19).

He is the Giver. His hand is so large, that it contains all things we can possibly need. Like water in a desert oasis, everything that grace touches flourishes.

“His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,

His power no boundary known unto men;

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus

He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

We read, “You open your hand, they are filled with good;” (Psalm 104:28)

That´s generous grace!

He says, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10)

That´s generous grace!

“To him that has, more shall be given” (Matthew 13:12).

That´s generous grace!

We see instances in the Word of God of people desiring too little. There was a man who was told to shoot arrows, but he stopped too soon, and lost part of the blessing (2 Kings 13:18). May we never be like that. Jesus’ hands are giving and filled with blessings for His people. May we never cease to believe that.

If I can borrow a military term, Jesus is our Commissar. We, His army, are feeble and faint in ourselves, but with Jesus as our Provider we will certainly prevail and overcome.

Lastly, the hands of Jesus are open to crown His people. Think about it, hands are needed to perform a coronation. At present, those hands are crowning us with “loving kindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4) and soon will place the crown of glory, life and righteousness upon our heads (1 Peter 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).

He will soon be back.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

Duty of Gratitude for Divine Grace: Blessings of Grace: Adoption- Book Seventh- Chapter 3- Section 3

Book Seventh




In adoption, as practised among men, an individual receives the son of another into his family, and confers on him the same privileges and advantages, as if he were his own son. In this sense, God adopts all who believe in Jesus Christ: “We are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.”[99] “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.”[100] This blessing of grace rises higher than justification. Though a judge may fully acquit one who is arraigned before him on a charge of crime, he does not confer, on the man so acquitted, any of the privileges or advantages which belong to a son. But the believer in Jesus is permitted to regard God, not only as a justifying Judge, but as a reconciled and affectionate Father. The problem, how he can be put among the children,[101] has been solved. Though once afar off, he has been brought nigh by the blood of Christ, and made of the household of God.[102]

Among the privileges and advantages which adoption secures, we may enumerate the following:

1. The love of God, as a kind Father, is secured to believers. The Scriptures frequently exhibit the love of God to his people, under the figure of a Father’s love to his children: “As a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”[103] “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give good things to them that ask him.”[104] “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.”[105] Corresponding with this encouraging and delightful exhibition of God’s love, is the confidence with which the believer in Christ is inspired to approach his heavenly Father: “Because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into yours hearts, crying Abba, Father.”[106] Hence Christ habitually spoke to his disciples of God as their Father, and, before he left them, said, in language full of endearment and encouragement: “I ascend to my Father and your Father:”[107] and hence he taught them to say, in their daily prayers: “Our Father, who art in heaven.”[108]

2. The discipline of God, as a kind and wise Father, is secured to all who believe in Jesus: “Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”[109] “We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live?”[110] “For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.”[111] Inestimably rich is this blessing of divine discipline. Let the wealthy and noble of the earth rejoice in the advantages which give them distinction among men, and supply them with the means of carnal enjoyment; but let the afflicted believer in Jesus, rejoice in the lot which God has assigned him, because it has been chosen for him by a Father who knows what is best for him, and who loves him so tenderly as to withhold from him no good thing. Having all good in heaven and earth at his disposal, he has selected that portion for each of his children on earth, which will best promote their highest interest.

3. Believers in Christ are made heirs of God: “If children, then heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”[112] God, the creator of all things, is the proprietor of all things, and his adopted children are made heirs to this vast estate. “He that overcometh, shall inherit all things.”[113] “All things are yours, and Christ is appointed heir of all things; and believers are co-heirs with him.”[114]

The inheritance of God’s children, is frequently represented as a kingdom: “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[115] “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom.”[116] The adoption of believers does not take full effect in the present life: “We are waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the body;’ “waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”[117] Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom; and, therefore, this vile body must be changed, and fashioned like the glorious body of Christ, before we can receive the glory and joy which God has prepared for us. Yet the title to the inheritance is made sure, since we are co-heirs with Christ; and the promise and oath of God, two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,[118] give to the heirs of promise, the strongest possible assurance, that they shall receive the inheritance: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”[119] Though now in exile, and pilgrims and strangers in the earth, perhaps despised and forsaken, we are the children of God, and heirs of an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Even now, whatever may be our poverty, affliction, or reproach, we are the objects of our Father’s care, and he gives us, as an earnest of the future inheritance, so much of it in present enjoyment, as he sees to be best for us. All things within the boundless dominion of Jehovah, work together for good, to them that love God.[120]

[98] John i. 12; Rom. viii. 17; Gal. iii. 26; 1 John iii. 1, 2.

[99] Gal. iii. 26.

[100] 1 John iii. 1.

[101] Jer. iii. 19.

[102] Eph. ii. 13, 19.

[103] Ps. ciii. 13.

[104] Matt. vii. 11.

[105] Matt. vi. 32.

[106] Rom. viii. 15.

[107] John xx. 17.

[108] Matt. vi. 9.

[109] Heb. xii. 6.

[110] Heb. xii. 9.

[111] Heb. xii. 10.

[112] Rom. viii. 17.

[113] Rev. xxi. 7.

[114] 1 Cor. iii. 22.

[115] Luke xii. 32.

[116] Matt. xxv. 34.

[117] Rom. viii. 19.

[118] Heb. vi. 18.

[119] 1 John iii. 2.

[120] Rom. viii. 28.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2-Chapter 7-Adoption

September 25, 2015 Leave a comment


There are no superfluous words in the Word of God. Every Bible term has its own distinct meaning and must not be confounded with any other term. The words regeneration, justification, and adoption, while closely related, express distinct ideas and aspects of salvation.

There are only five uses of the word adoption in the New Testament. The term is used only by Paul in Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians. In these five references there appears to be three different applications of the term. In #Ro 9:4 the application is to Israel as a nation. In this case adoption did not mean salvation, for in the context Paul prays for the salvation of Israel. The nation had been adopted, but most of the individuals within the nation had neither been regenerated nor justified. By adoption Israel had been separated from other nations and brought into the peculiar relation to God as a son. “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (#Ex 4:22). “Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead” (#De 14:1); “Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?” (#De 32:6); “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn” (#Jer 31:9); “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (#Ho 11:1).

There were elect individuals within the elect nation. When Elijah made intercession against Israel, complaining that he was left alone and in danger, God corrected him, saying, “I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal” (#Ro 11:4). And Paul adds, “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (#Ro 11:5).

In “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (#Ro 9:8) Paul says that the children of the flesh are not the children of God, by which he means, that one is not a child of God because of his fleshly descent from Abraham. #Mt 8:12 says that “the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” #Mt 21:43 tells us that “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you (Nation Israel) and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” This nation is identified in #1Pe 2:9 as a holy nation, which means that it is a spiritual nation in distinction from the fleshly descendants of Abraham.

In #Ro 8:23 “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” the word adoption is used with reference to the body and is called the redemption of the body. The body as such is not yet adopted. When the body of the believer is redeemed or adopted the people of God will then be publicly manifested as sons of God: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (#Ro 8:19).

In the other three references the application seems to be to the believer as such without any distinction between soul and body. They refer to the adoption of persons. In “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (#Eph 1:5), we are told that we were predestinated unto the adoption of sons, which means that adoption was according to God’s eternal purpose of love. In eternity past God determined to adopt us as sons. Adoption rests upon redemption, that is, upon blood atonement. In #Ro 8:15 “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” , we find that the believer is given the Spirit of adoption by which he instinctively cries, “Abba, Father.” The apostle uses the double form for Father: “Abba,” his mother-tongue, and Pater (Greek), the tongue of the learned. “Abba” is used to denote the filial spirit of the adopted son. In using this word, Paul alludes to a law among the Jews which forbad a servant to call the head of the house, Abba, which meant father.

The custom of adoption prevailed among the Romans, Greeks, and other ancient people, but not among the Jews. There are three cases of adoption mentioned in the Old Testament: of Moses: “And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water” (#Ex 2:10); Genubath “And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house: and Genubath was in Pharaoh’s household among the sons of Pharaoh” (#1Ki 11:20); and Esther “And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter…Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the king, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her” (#Es 2:7,15), but they all occurred outside of Palestine-in Egypt and Persia, where the practice of adoption prevailed. And in the New Testament the idea occurs only in the epistles of Paul to churches beyond the border of Palestine. As a Roman citizen, and a man of travel, the apostle would be familiar with the customs of the Romans and others. And so he borrows the idea and applies it to the act of God and Christian experience.

Adoption may be defined as that aspect of salvation in which God, by a legal process, makes one His son who by nature is not His son. Adoption, in itself, is nothing more than the legal act of a court, but when God adopts a son He gives to that son a subjective experience, a filial spirit, the feeling of a child-the feeling which cries Father. Here is where adoption and the new birth come together. The new birth expresses the origin and quality of spiritual life, while adoption expresses a legal relation between the believer and God. We shall consider adoption in its relation to the doctrines of justification, regeneration, and resurrection. These are separate and distinct blessings possessed by all who have believed to the saving of the soul. May we consider:


Both terms are forensic or judicial. They are court terms. Justification expresses the legal act by which the guilt of sin is removed, and the believer is reckoned righteous before God. Adoption expresses the legal act by which one outside the family of God is brought into the family as a son. Adoption expresses a relationship not even implied in justification. When a court justifies a person, that person does not by that act become a son of the judge. Another process of law is necessary if he is to become a son of the judge. To make the accused his son, the judge would have to do more than merely acquit him and set him free. Justification frees from condemnation; adoption makes one a son in the eyes of the law. Justification is the act of a merciful judge setting the prisoner free; adoption is the act of a generous father, taking a son to his bosom and endowing him with liberty, and a heritage. Let us next consider:


Both regeneration and adoption express relationship, but they are not identical. Regeneration is the biological term and involves a change of nature; adoption is a legal term and denotes a change of position. Regeneration speaks of relationship by birth; adoption speaks of relationship by law. Regeneration confers the nature of sons; adoption confers the name of sons. Regeneration gives a meetness for the inheritance; adoption gives a title to the inheritance. The believer is in the family of God by a twofold process: birth and adoption. In regeneration the Holy Spirit made us alive; as the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Spirit enables us to pray and to cry, Abba, Father. In regeneration the Holy Spirit makes us a child of God; as the Spirit of adoption, He gives us the cry of a child, which is the evidence of life. All real prayer, acceptable worship, and godly living is in the energy of the Holy Spirit; the flesh profiteth nothing. And now let us think of:


The body is redeemed in the resurrection, but resurrection and adoption are not the same. Adoption, when applied to the body, involves a resurrection, but a certain kind of resurrection; the resurrection of the redeemed body. Resurrection simply expresses the thought that the body will be raised from the dead, while adoption speaks of the nature of the resurrected body. It will be a redeemed or glorified body—-a body fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ. The body of the lost will be raised: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust” (#Ac 24:15), but it will not be adopted—-it will not be a glorified body.

In civil adoption, the adopting party usually has regard for actual or supposed qualities in the child which appear good or agreeable; Scriptural and spiritual adoption into the family of God is wholly of grace through the merits of Christ. In civil adoption, the adopting father imparts his goods and gives his name to the adopted child, but he cannot impart to it his own nature. In spiritual adoption, God makes those whom He adopts not only partakers of His name and blessings; He also imparts to them His nature, changing them into His own blessed likeness in Christ, to Whose image they are ultimately conformed.

Among the Romans there was a twofold adoption, one private, the other a public affair. The adopting party would make the child his own by due process of law, but in a private way, then later it would be made public. Believers are the adopted sons of God now, but it will not be publicly manifested until the Lord comes for them and they are manifested in glory.

Since this article has not attained the usual length, we shall go on to make some general remarks. The doctrines we are now publishing will appear to the secularist as impractical in view of the present distress throughout the world, when men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things coming on the earth. We may be reminded of the deterioration in human relations, involving both nations and individuals. We are being told that the human race is about to destroy itself in nuclear warfare, and that such doctrines as we are publishing have no practical value in preventing the threatened holocaust. To such reminders and objections, it is sufficient to reply, that our articles are dealing with the individual’s relation to God, and involves his eternal welfare. This present order of things, however bad, will ultimately come to an end, and the eternal order will be fixed for all men, either in terrible torment or in ineffable glory and happiness.

The individuals relation to God is of paramount importance, for the reason that the violated law of God is the only source of real and eternal danger. Salvation is deliverance from sin, and sin is unspeakably dangerous because it is against God. To be rightly related to God through Christ means everlasting life. To be delivered from the curse of the law of God means eternal safety. To be a child of God is to be an heir of God, and to have the promise of a home in the Father’s house of many mansions. Physical death is to be the lot of all while the Lord is away. Human weapons of destruction are limited to the killing of the body, while God, the Judge of all the earth, is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

To have right relations with God is to be rightly related to everybody and to everything. To be rightly related to God puts everything else in its proper perspective. To be right with God guarantees glory in the end. None can really hurt whom God blesses.

“Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.

“Here I’ll raise my Ebenezer,
Hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

“Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

“Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.

“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”

C. D. Cole-Definitions of Doctrine-Volume 2-Part 2

Chapter 36-Adoption

September 3, 2014 2 comments


ADOPTION is that privilege, bestowed upon those who are united with Christ, and justified by faith, by which they are admitted into the family of God, adopted as his children, and made joint heirs with his own Son.

In the strict sense of the word “Son,” this title can be given only to the Eternal Son of God, who is the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), and is exclusively “the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance.” (Heb. 1:3).

But others are called participatively sons of God, as probably the angels (Job 1:6; 38:7), as Adam (Luke 3:38), and as Israel (Ex. 4:22; Hosea 11:1; cf. Rom. 9:4). The sonship of angels and of Adam, manifestly proceeds from their creation by God in his image, and likeness. That of Israel, however, is to be ascribed to the typical relation which that nation occupied to the true people of God. The application to Christ in Matt. 2:15, of the sonship declared of Israel in Ex. 4:22, and Hosea 11:1, together with the adoption to which Paul refers, Rom. 9:4, shows, that Israel’s sonship, like Israel’s election, was but a type, the fulfillment and reality of which were to be found only in the antitype. So far as Israel itself was concerned, the title could mean no more, than that that nation had been chosen by God to be outwardly his people, the depository of his holy oracles, and the means through which his salvation would come to man. John 4:22.

The sonship ascribed to the believer in Christ, will be best understood by considering its gracious origin, its peculiar nature, and the wondrous blessing which it confers.

I. Its Gracious Origin

1. It is not due to any natural relation, either originally possessed, or restored through justification.

2. Nor does it arise from any new image or likeness of God, which has come through regeneration.

3. It is the simple gift of God’s love to those who by faith are brought into union with his proper Son.

4. It is an act originating entirely in the good pleasure of God. Eph. 1:5.

5. It is due, meritoriously, only to the work of Christ. It could be founded thus upon nothing else.

6. It is conferred like justification upon all who by faith receive Christ. John 1:12.

7. It is bestowed at the beginning of the Christian career, when there could be no ground for supposing it due to the character or acts of the recipient.


II. Its Peculiar Nature.

If what has been said shows that the gift of sonship to the believer is a gracious act of God, that fact will appear more plain as we study the peculiar nature of that sonship.

1. It is an act by which God chooses to take those who are not his children, and to make them such by adopting them into his family. Because of this they “are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Eph. 2:19.

2. As they are united in this sonship with his own Son, who “is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation,” (Col. 1:15), “the beginning of the creation of God.” (Rev. 3:14), so does their sonship partake of the nature of his not in its divine relations, but in those by which he is also, even in that human nature, the Son of God. Luke 1:35.

3. It is an everlasting sonship; because its continuance depends not upon what they do, and are, but upon what he has done, and is.

4. It is one in which Christ Jesus “is made unto us wisdom from God and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Cor. 1:30. Thus are all their deficiencies removed and exchanged for the glory of his abundant fulness.

5. It is one in connection with which is fulfilled the prayer of Christ, “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in us; . . . . “that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one.” John 17:21-23.

6. To such a perfection of sonship do they consequently attain, that not of, nor through themselves, but solely through Christ Jesus, do they thus become “partakers of the divine nature,” (2 Pet. 1:4), attaining as near as creatures may, to the position and character of proper sonship to God.


III. Its Wondrous Blessings.

The blessings connected with this sonship are scarcely less wonderful than is its nature.

1. Intimate fellowship with Christ and God. “Wherefore,” says the apostle, “thou art no longer a bond servant, but a son.” Gal. 4:7. “No longer,” said Jesus, “do I call you servants; . . . but I have called you friends.” John 15:15.

2. The guidance of the Holy Spirit; “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Rom. 8:14.

3. The witnessing presence of the Holy Spirit: “the Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God.” Rom. 8:16.

4. The conscious recognition in our hearts of God’s relation to us as Father. “God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Gal. 4:6; also Rom. 8:15.

5. “If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” Rom. 8:17.

6. Unknown glory in future likeness to Christ: “it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him.” 1 John 3:2.

7. The inheritance includes all things: “he that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Rev. 21:7; cf. 1 Cor. 3:21-23.


IV. It Differs From Justification.

It has been contended that “adoption cannot be said to be a different act or grace from justification.” [Dabney’s Theology, p. 627.] “It appears to me,” says Dr. Dick, [Lect. 73, Theol., vol. 2, p. 224,] “to be virtually the same with justification, and to differ from it merely in the new view which it gives of the relations of believers to God, and in the peculiar form in which it exhibits the blessing to which they are entitled.” Turretine says also, “that adoption is included in justification as a part which, with the remission of sins, constitutes this whole blessing; nor can justification be distinguished from adoption, unless so far as it is taken strictly for the remission of sins; whilst in its own formal conception it includes also acceptance unto life which flows from the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.” Turretine’s Theol., B. 16, c. 6, sec. 7.

The position taken by these writers is a contrary extreme to that which some have held, viz.: that justification consists only of pardon. It is not to be doubted that justification is more than this, and includes restoration to the favor of God, and to eternal life. But these might have been bestowed without conferring upon the justified the peculiar blessings contained in Adoption. “Adoption,” says Buchanan [on Justification, p.262], “is distinct in some respects from justification. For although both denote a change in relation, it may be affirmed that, according to Scriptures, pardon, acceptance, and adoption, are distinct privileges, the one rising above the other in the order in which they have been stated; — that if it be conceivable that a sinner might have been pardoned, without being accepted to eternal life, it is equally conceivable that he might have been both pardoned and accepted, without being adopted as a son; — and that, while the first two first properly belong to his justification, as being both founded in the same relation,–that of a Ruler and Subject,–the third is radically distinct from them, as being founded on a nearer, more tender, and more endearing relation,–that between a Father and his Son.”

Dabney argues that there is no difference between the two because the “instrument is the same–faith–and because the meritorious ground of adoption is the same with that of justification, viz.: the righteousness of Christ.”

But these facts, which are admitted, are due to another, which is that the faith by which we are justified is one which secures to us union with Christ. It would not necessarily follow that this union confers upon us only a single blessing or a number of blessings which may be combined together under one name. We can only learn this by examination. If, therefore, it shall appear that there are distinctions between the accompanying blessings, to the extent that these exist must those blessings be regarded as different.

That there are distinctions appears to be plain from the following considerations:

1. The Scriptures speak separately of justification and adoption, and do not state that the latter is, in whole, or in part, the same as the former.

2. Justification is ascribed to the righteous character of God as it formal ground. In it he is only gracious in accepting and providing a substitute. Adoption is expressly referred to the love of God. 1 John 3:1. The fact that these cannot be interchanged, and justification referred to love, or adoption to justice, shows a decided distinction between them.

3. While there is a change of relation in each of them, in justification it is a change of relation to the law, and only through that to the lawgiver and judge; in adoption it is a change of relation to the family of God and thus to God as the Father.

4. While faith is that through which each is attained, in justification it is a condition precedent to a forensic act which we are assured that God will do because of righteousness as well as faithfulness (1 John 1:9); while in adoption it is merely receptive of Christ, securing that union through which the paternal love of God flows freely on no other ground than faithfulness to his promises.

5. The act of justification is never ascribed to the Son, and is seen to be plainly a prerogative of the Father as God; but it is said of the Son that “as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. In some sense, therefore, which is not true of justification, adoption is connected as a gift with the Son as well as the Father.

The above considerations are sufficient to show that there is a real basis of distinction between Justification and Adoption, and that the latter is not included in the former. They are separate effects which flow from the union with Christ attained through faith; because of which we are made partakers of all the benefits of his meritorious work. Justification is one of these; and by it we obtain pardon, and favour with God, which is eternal life. Adoption is yet another which confers upon us the especial privilege of children and heirs of God. It is no more to be confounded with justification than is sanctification, which is also an effect of the same union with Christ, for, although its distinctions are not so many, nor so broad, yet to the extent that they exist, they are as real.

“This closer and more endearing relation to God, which is constituted by Adoption, is necessary, in addition to that which is included in our Justification, to complete the view of our Christian privileges, and to enhance our enjoyment of them, by raising us above the spirit of bondage which is unto fear; and cherishing the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. It is necessary, also, to explain how the sins of believers are not visited with penal inflictions, properly so called, but are nevertheless treated in the way of fatherly chastisement; and, still further, to show that the kingdom of heaven hereafter will not be bestowed as wages for work done, but as an ‘inheritance,’ freely bestowed, on those, and those only, who are ‘joint heirs with Christ.'” Buchanan on Justification, pp.263, 264.


Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

The Communion of the Blood-Part 2

December 25, 2013 1 comment

The Wednesday Word: The Communion of the Blood-Part 2


The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16


The Father, in choosing the method of putting away our sins, chose the very best He had, the blood of His own Son. It is by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus that we are cleansed from our complete catalogue of sins. By the blood of Christ, our spiritual sin stain is taken away and its tortured recollection destroyed. That’s why we read in Hebrews 9:13, “How much more shall the blood of Christ … purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Jesus really died at Calvary. In John 19:34 we read that one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out. Christ Jesus really was dead! There, at the cross, Christ Jesus died that we might live. In addition, by His blood, we come, not only into life, but into communion with God. In the Greek, the word communion is “Koinonia”. It is a beautiful word that means, among other things, fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation and intimacy. And this communion, this ‘Koinonia’ comes through the blood.

But how do we come into contact with the blood? How do we obtain the benefits of His death? Romans 6:3 gives us the answer. It says, “…. that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death?” When a person is baptized into the Lord’s death, it is there that he meets with the benefits and blessings purchased by the blood of Christ.

Some groups erroneously teach that Water Baptism is the means of obtaining the benefits and communion of His death. It is only by their baptism, they say, that we can obtain forgiveness of sins. They cite the instruction given to Paul in Acts 22:16, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.” However, they totally ignore that Paul had already, by this stage, given evidence of his conversion and regeneration by calling Jesus the Lord (Acts 22:10), by spending his time in prayer (Acts 9:11) and by having been filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-18). They claim that, although it is the blood of Christ that washes away sins, the only way to access the effects of the blood is by their baptism. If these rascals are to be believed, then we need to stop singing, “There’s power in the blood” and start singing, “There’s power in the tub!”

But how then are the benefits of Christ’s death to become ours? How are we baptized into Christ? Here’s the answer. It is by faith alone! And where do we get this faith? It is the free gift of God. We can’t earn it or deserve it, we simply receive it!

Have you trusted Christ alone to have your sins washed away? If you have, you are already baptized into Christ. If you haven’t, then you still are carrying every sin that you have ever committed. That means that when you die, there’s nothing left for you but the Lake of Fire. You may have been baptized in a church building, but if you are not trusting in Christ alone you are not baptized into Christ. If you are not trusting in Christ alone, you are still in your sins. The shed blood of Christ is of no benefit to you! Why don’t you, right now, call on the Lord and ask him to save you? Why don’t you trust Him, right now, and receive Him and His salvation for yourself? Our God is wonderfully gracious. He will welcome you. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

And that is the Gospel Truth



Miles McKee

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

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The Communion of His Blood

December 18, 2013 2 comments

The Wednesday Word: The Communion of His Blood


The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16.


It is marvellous to be acquitted, accepted and adopted into the family of God, but quite another matter to be continually conscious of these gospel benefits. Unfortunately, we often live our Christian lives as though the blood had not been shed. We remain fearful of God and continue to be bound and intent on securing His favour by our performance. It’s no wonder then that we lack joy. It’s no wonder then that we need confidence. It’s no wonder then that we are often weak and ineffective in our Christian service.

In His thoughtfulness, however, the Lord has left us the ordinance of Communion (The Breaking of Bread). This marvellous memorial can be a wonderful help to us. It informs our conscience that the Shepherd has already laid down His life for the sheep. It is as we break the bread, the emblem of His body, and drink the wine, the emblem of the blood, that we declare our union and loyalty to Him. As we, by faith, grasp that which the blood has accomplished, we enter into renewed communion (koinonia) with the Master. We are not merely commanded to gaze upon the emblems, but to eat the bread and drink the wine. He has set us apart unto Himself, and each time we break bread we see this afresh and declare the same.

No one has ever been as loyal to His people as has Jesus. He loved his own and loved them unto the end (John 13:1). He has rescued us and paid for us with His own blood. He has cared and provided for us out of His abundance. What immense loyalty!

Throughout history, certain leaders have inspired great loyalty amongst their followers. For example, in Scotland, in 1745, after the battle of Culloden in Scotland, the defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie went on the run, trusting his life to eight of his followers. Although there was a large reward out for his capture, these eight men loyally protected their young champion. When the Prince finally left from the west coast towards the Hebrides and exile, Hugh Chisholm, one of the eight, shook hands in farewell. From that day forward he never once shook hands with his right hand, but always with his left. He explained that he would never give the hand he had given to his King to another man.

So it is with us and King Jesus. We will never give our hand to another. As we come to remember Him at the Table, we remember that which He has accomplished on our behalf. We remember how he was wounded and chastised for us. We remember that He identified with us and our guilt. We remember that He came to seek and to save that which was lost and, in His majestic faithfulness, we remember that He finds all whom He seeks. May we never give our hand, loyalty or allegiance to another King.

As we come to the Table, we come, not as holy men and women. We come, rather, to remember, the One who bled and died for wretches such as we. As believers, met together in the name of Jesus, we have all things in common. We share a common guilt, a common ruination, a common rescue and a common redemption through the same blood. We have all been common recipients of the glorious deliverance accomplished by the blood.

As we take the bread and wine, we by faith remember that His blood has cleansed us, His righteousness has covered us, His strength defends us, His love comforts us and His Spirit energizes us.

And that’s the Gospel Truth



Miles McKee

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

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Question 35-Puritan Catechism

September 5, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 3Q. What are the benefits which in this life do either accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?

A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, (Romans 5:1,2,5) are assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17) increase of grace, perseverance in it to the end. (Proverbs 4:18; 1 John 5:13; 1 Peter 1:5)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 33-Puritan Catechism

August 22, 2013 4 comments

CharlesSpurgeonQ. What is adoption?

A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, (1 John 3:1) whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God. (John 1:12; Romans 8:17)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Question 31-Puritan Catechism

August 8, 2013 2 comments

SpurgeonQ. What benefits do they who are effectually called, partake of in this life?

A. They who are effectually called, do in this life partake of justification, (Romans 8:30) adoption, (Ephesians 1:5) sanctification, and the various benefits which in this life do either accompany, or flow from them. (1 Corinthians 1:30)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Gospel Adoption

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Adoption

It’s good to have all charges against us dropped and even better to be declared righteous, but it’s best to have been adopted as children of God. And that’s exactly what has happened to us as a result of the gospel. We are now children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26). As we look at gospel adoption, we realize that grace has outdone sin, for it has lifted us much, much higher than the place from which we fell.

‘Adoption’ is a legal term derived from Roman law. There were often two stages to this ancient legal process. In the first stage, a Roman nobleman would identify a child he wanted to adopt and would clothe him with robes appropriate for his new status. The second step came later; it was the public acknowledgment of the adoption whereby the adopted person entered into their full and active rights as a member of the nobility. Just as there was a season during which the privileges of adoption were not fully seen, it is not yet fully seen what we are in Christ. However, there is coming a day when all will be revealed. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2).

We have been adopted by the Father! Indeed, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called Sons of God” (1 John 3:1). But why did He do this? Why did He adopt us? The answer is simple and yet at the same time profound. He adopted us simply because He wanted to adopt us, He exercised His free will in the matter. We know this because the Bible says, “Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1:5).

The privilege of adoption makes us sons of God. Every morning when you look in the mirror you encounter royalty. Oh yes I know that you also encounter a wretch, however, “You are no more a servant but a son and an heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7). This is remarkable, for it means that, as His child, the Father loves us just the same way He loves Christ! It’s not, therefore, a presumption for you to say (and to keep saying), “The Father loves me.” The fact is, and I don’t want to sound irreverent, He’s crazy about you! It’s hard for us to believe, isn’t it?

Too often we don’t feel loved because we feel unlovable. We have, as some call it, ‘an orphaned heart’! But the more we know the gospel, the more we will realize that we don’t have to feel loved. We need to stop trying to feel His love and begin to believe His love. We are His blood bought children, we are in Christ, and we have been loved from before time! Being adopted means that, in and through Christ, we have been given the rights of sons of God; the Father loves us as he loves his only-begotten Son. We are now children of God, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

If we are in Christ, we will have all things with him. If we are his, we shall share the crown with him. If we are in Christ, we as adopted children will receive the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12).

This is remarkable, we who were once heirs of hell have now been adopted and made Heirs of Heaven.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles McKee,

Minister of the Gospel