While justification borrows the language of the courtroom to help us understand God’s work of salvation, adoption uses the language of family to help us see that behind all of God’s saving work is a deeply relational and personal motive of love. God tells us that when we trust in Jesus, God adopts us as his sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:5). More than anything else this should convince us of God’s love. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1). Justification gives us a new legal status. Adoption gives us a new family and a new father. This is another expression of our union with Christ.
Because Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, as we trust in him, we receive his status as a child of God. John 1:12 says that to all who receive Jesus, to all who believe in his name, “he gave the right to become children of God.” In Christ, we are not forgiven servants. We are given all the rights and privileges of natural-born children. We are adopted and welcomed into the warmth of relationship with God as our loving Father. Romans 8:15–16 describes the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of adoption” who enables us to cry to God as our Abba—an intimate Hebrew term akin to dad. It combines intimacy and respect. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit “that we are children of God.”
~ Excerpted from Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.