“The Adoption”

Ques. “Explain the use of the word “adoption” in Psalm 8:23 and 9:4, and its meaning there.”

Romans 8:23 reads “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The Christian has already received the Spirit of adoption. He can freely use the most wonderful of all invocations, for he can cry, “Abba Father.” He can address God in terms of the highest, holiest, and most sacred intimacy, and that because the Spirit of God dwells within him; he has been brought into the relation of a child, through faith in “the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” He is in spiritual liberty and can worship the Father in spirit and in truth. But his body is still subject to the common groan of creation, and thus we wait for the redemption of our body. When it takes place, at the coming of our Lord, then our adoption will be complete.

Romans 9:4, “. . . Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption.” Here the adoption applies neither to the soul nor the body of the individual believer, but to Israel as a nation. Other glories attach to the same people, but Israel is God’s firstborn (see Ex. 4:22). It ranks highest in all the families on earth in the mind and purpose of God (see Amos 3:2, and Deut. 32:8). To it belongs the adoption—the place of national sonship. The meaning of the word adoption is sonship—the place of a son. It gives the thought of priority, and rank and position. It is important to distinguish between childhood and sonship in the present dispensation. We are God’s children by being born of Him—and only so—but, as thus born, we are also sons as sealed with the Spirit. John gives us the former and Paul the latter. The word “adoption” is only used five times (Romans 8:1, 23; 9:4; Galatians 4:5, and Ephesians 1:5).