The Christian believer regards it as a most comforting Gospel revelation that in Christ Jesus God from eternity has adopted his chosen saints to be his dear children. It was definitely a manifestation of Christ’s sincere love for his disciples when he called them his “friends” (John 15:14); but the terms “sons and daughters,” which Scripture ascribes to Christian believers, imply far greater privileges than does that of friend. In his well-known monograph The Reformed Doctrine of Adoption, R. A. Webb writes of God’s gracious adoption of believers as his dear children: “When we approach Him in the intensity of worship, we gather up all the sweetness involved in Fatherhood and all the tenderness wrapped up in sonship; when calamities overcome us and troubles come in like a flood, we lift up our cry and stretch out our arms to God as a compassionate Father; when the angel of death climbs in at the window of our homes and bears away the object of our love, we find our dearest solace in reflecting upon the fatherly heart of God; when we look across the swelling flood, it is our Father’s House on the light-covered hills beyond the stars which cheers us amid the crumbling of the earthly tabernacle” (p. 19). It is from the viewpoint of its ineffable solace that the Christian believer gratefully considers the biblical doctrine of adoption.
Definition of Adoption. A. H. Strong briefly defines the doctrine of adoption under the general theme “Restoration to Favor” in connection with justification and reconciliation as follows: “This restoration to favor, viewed in its aspect as the renewal of a broken friendship, is denominated reconciliation; viewed in its aspect as a renewal of the son’s true relation to God as a father, it is denominated ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more