This is the 11th in a series of excerpts from the new MBC resource, “What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation,” available at mobaptist.org/apologetics.
Adoption is an act of God making born-again believers members of His family. The Greek word for adoption stems from two words: huios, meaning “son,” and thesis, meaning “a placing.” Thus, the word huiothesia conveys the idea of “placement into sonship.” This biblical term is meant to include both males and females.
From a first-century legal perspective, adoption meant taking a person from another family and making him or her legally a child in a new family. The son’s or daughter’s former relationships were severed, and the adoptee became a member of the new family under the father’s authority.
The New Testament concept of adoption is more sublime since it brings God and redeemed people into an everlasting relationship. Believers in Jesus are both born again and thus reckoned as children, and adopted into God’s family with the full benefits and responsibilities of adults.
Here’s how it works: In regeneration, the Holy Spirit makes us spiritually alive. That is, we are born again, or born from above (John 3:3-8). God considers us as newborn babes and addresses us as children. In adoption, the Spirit brings us into such a relationship with God that we are not only His sons and daughters, but joint heirs with Jesus, having the full privileges of adults.
The apostle Paul penned his letter to the Galatians for several key reasons: 1) to defend his authority as a true apostle of Christ; 2) to affirm the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith; and 3) to illustrate that the Christian life is to be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, not through self-imposed bondage to the law. Throughout this epistle Paul declares that there is true freedom in Christ.