The 2001 Commentaries

Adoption as God’s Sons

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Throughout the Christian Era Scriptures (NT) we read of the hope that some had of being adopted as sons of God and ruling with Jesus. When does this ‘adopting’ actually happen, what are its results, and how can we know if we’ve been adopted by God?
Well, notice Paul’s words at Romans 8:15:

‘And you didn’t receive a spirit of bondage to fear again; you received a spirit of adoption, by which we can call out, Papa! Father!

From this we can see that such individuals first received God’s Spirit or Breath, and then it ‘adopted’ them as God’s sons.

What we know as a fact, is that in the days of the Apostles, whenever Christians received God’s Holy Breath, it was manifested in ways that others could actually see.
And this adoption appears to have imparted the value of a spiritual life to the individual.
For, notice that Paul also referred to such ones as being a ‘new creation’ at Galatians 6:15, where he wrote:

‘Circumcision isn’t anything, nor is uncircumcision.
Rather, [what matters is becoming] a new creation (gr. kaine ktesis)!’

Then, after a person received this adoption, he or she was said to have become a fellow ‘heir’ with Jesus.
As Romans 8:17 says:

‘And if we’re [His] children, we’re also [His] heirs…
Yes, heirs of God and heirs with the Anointed One!’

Heirs of what?
You will find this discussed in the linked document, God’s Promise of an Inheritance.

Are there any special requirements for receiving spiritual adoption?
Notice that Paul added at Romans 8:17:

However, we have to suffer together so we can also be glorified together.

History tells us that suffering a violent death or being greatly persecuted for their faith was true of all the Apostles, and many (if not all) of the rest of the adopted sons from the First Century down to this day.
So we might ask:
Is such violent physical suffering required for all that have this hope?

Well, consider what Revelation 6:11 says:

‘Then they were each given a white robe and they were told to take it easy just a little while longer until the full number of their fellow slaves and brothers was filled (who were going to be killed, as they were).’

Yet, nobody can say for sure that all who are adopted as His sons must suffer greatly, for this is in the hands of God.

When does this ‘choosing’ happen?
It appears as though it doesn’t necessarily happen at the time of baptism.
For example;
In the case of the first gentile converts to Christianity (Cornelius and his family), such selection (if we can assume that receiving God’s Breath or Spirit was an indication of their being chosen) happened even before they were baptized!
On the other hand;
On Pentecost of 33-CE, many individuals received God’s Breath long after they had been baptized.

Notice that Galatians 3:26, 27, says:

‘The fact is, you’re all sons of God because of your faith in the Anointed Jesus.’

Therefore, it appears as though ‘becoming one’ with or ‘being in’ Jesus and becoming ‘sons of God’ occurs whenever God selects them. However, it is possible that their actual adoption comes upon the death of their fleshly bodies.
Paul seems to have indicated this when he wrote at Romans 8:23, 24:

‘Those of us that have received the first fruitage of [God’s] Breath groan within ourselves as we await the adoption and [payment of] the ransom to free our bodies.
Yes, this is the hope that’s saving us!’

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