by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 10 October 2, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
1901 ASV Translation:
15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
I. The "Spirit of Adoption".
A. The reference to "adoption".
1. The word translated "adoption" literally meant "to establish as a son" when it was coined. It is not used in the Septuagint (according to Theological Dictionary of the New Testament) and its biblical meaning is determined by its use in the New Testament.
a. According to Romans 8:23, the meaning of "adoption" is given as "the redemption of the body", an obviously future event for which we wait with "groaning" anticipation.
b. According to Galatians 4:5, the purpose of redemption was to give those formerly under the Law the privilege of being "adopted as sons". It is crucial that we see that in this particular context there is a deliberate contrast between a "child" and the "adoption as a son" because this means that "adoption" is altogether the wrong word to use in the English language for one reason: it brings with it the notion that the person "adopted" is not a normal offspring of the father who "adopts". This is not Paul's sense in Galatians 4:5, nor in Paul's "theology". On the "theological" level, the only solution to the pollution of man is "regeneration" (a new birth, a re-creation that separates a person from the Adamic nature and Sin). Then, in this text, the issue is that one is a "child" of the Father, but is too immature to be given the privileges and responsibilities of an adult heir so that the "child" is "under tutors and governors" until such time as the Father determines that His "child" has matured sufficiently to be given actual authority and privilege and can be counted upon to function legitimately in the execution of the duties of overseeing the possessions of the Father. Thus, the issue of "adoption" is the issue of being determined to be sufficiently "adult" to be a good manager of the inheritance. This has nothing to do with whether the person is begotten by the Father; it has everything to do with whether the person is mature enough to be entrusted with the inheritance. Thus, Paul's claim in Romans 8:14 that the "sons" of God are those being led by the Spirit of God is distinct from the concept of being one "born" of God, but too immature to be regarded as a "son" (a mature adult). In the Bible, a "son" is an "image-bearer" and no one reflects the image of God unless they are "led" by the Spirit of God to put to death the deeds of a self-indulgent body so that the "image" of God can be seen in a godliness of character and action.
2. The "adoption" does not actually occur until the redemption of the body (8:23), so we have the "firstfruits" of the "Spirit of Adoption" as a provision to move us toward the goal of maturity that will be "finalized" when we are "bodily" redeemed. We are being schooled to become administrators in the Kingdom of God (reigning with Christ) and our lives in this world are the classroom. What maturity we achieve in this life will be "sealed" for all eternity when we die and when our bodies are raised to immortality and we are brought before Christ for His reward of our lives. Thus, it is of utmost importance that we strive for maturity now because eternity will be ours atthelevel of our development in this world. It will be a shame for somuch abundance of God in eternity to never be ours because we were too willing to be comfortablechildren in this world.