After our Sunday afternoon service at church, I had one of our church members ask me a question as a follow-up to what I had preached that afternoon. It is our custom to observe the Lord’s Table on the first Lord’s Day of the month and over the course of the past several months, I have been going through the theological and Scriptural terms that surround our great salvation. These would be words and concepts such as redemption, propitiation, justification, election, and adoption. There are many others that we will be continuing to look at over the course of the next several months. It so happened that this past Lord’s Day, we focused on the Scriptural teaching of adoption and what that means for the believer in Christ.
Paul wrote, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5 ESV). During the message, I focused on what it means to be adopted into the family of God and the blessings that come as a result. This church member, who was thinking through and absorbing all that I was teaching, asked the following question, “Since we are made “sons” of God, does that make us equals with Christ?” His reason for asking was because I had alluded to the fact that while we were made SONS of God, we will never be on the same level with the SON, Jesus Christ. This created some concern on his part because he had always thought just the opposite. This set the stage for a chance to share my answer with him here on my blog. It was a reminder to me of the need for the pastor to also be a theologian. If the pastor isn’t, how is that he can rightly answer theological questions such as this one.
The Biblical teaching of adoption is that all those that are justified are taken in and added to the family of God according to His mercy, grace, and all based upon the sacrifice and redemption of God’s elect by Christ. As members of God’s family, they enjoy all of the privileges that come along with being a member of God’s family:
- They have His name put upon them (Rev. 3:12)
- They receive the spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15)
- They have access to the throne of grace with boldness (Hebrews 4:16)
- They are enabled to cry Abba, Father (Romans 8:15; Gal. 4:5-6)
- They are pitied (Ps. 103:13)
- They are protected (Prov. 14:26)
- They are provided for (I Peter 5:7)
- They are chastened by him as by a Father (Hebrews 12:6)
- They are never cast off (Is. 54:8-9; Lam. 3:31)
- They are sealed to the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30)
- They inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation (Hebrews 1:14)
Based upon this outstanding list of blessings that come to every child of God, we clearly see that our adoption into the family of God is relational. In other words, through our adoption, we are provided the privilege of a relationship with God as our Heavenly Father and it is bases solely on the merits of Christ. In no way are we equals with Christ for we will never be deity and Christ will always remain LORD. Any inclination by Scripture that believers will one day rule and reign with Christ also indicate that believers will be reigning as servants of Christ, still in subjection to Him.
This is a vital focus that must remain in our lives as believers. Terrible heresy can arise with any thinking that veers away from what Scripture teaches in this area. For instance, there are religions that teach that the ultimate destiny of believers is to one day become deity themselves. This is NOT our end result as believers in Christ and ultimately as children of God. It is my hope that this will help to answer questions that others have perhaps had along this same line.