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Summary: We come into God’s family by Spiritual birth. But the instant we are born into the family, God adopts us and gives us the position of an adult son.

THOUGHTS ABOUT THE PASSAGE:

Adoption is the process by which a person who does not belong to a given family is formally brought into it and made a full, legal family member with the rights and responsibilities of that position. The practice of adoption was not common among the Jews, but was more widespread in the Greek and Roman world. The apostle Paul used the term to illustrate the truth that believers have been given the status of “sonship” in the heavenly family; they can call God “Father.” Adoption makes it clear that our sonship is conferred on us, in distinction from Christ’s, which is inherent. (The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, p. 346)

Paul now draws application from his previous discussion that each believer has a responsibility to live each day in the control and power of the Holy Spirit. It is not enough for us to have the Spirit; the Spirit must have us. Furthermore each Christian is to refuse to follow the inclinations and desires of his sin nature. The result of a sinful manner of life is death (v. 13). This does not mean that a believer who sins will face eternal death in hell, but instead that he will not enjoy his spiritual life.

We come into God’s family by Spiritual birth. But the instant we are born into the family, God adopts us and gives us the position of an adult son. A baby cannot speak, walk, make decisions, or write checks on the family bank account. However, the Christian can do all of these the moment he is born again. In New Testament times, adopted sons enjoyed the same privileges as natural born sons. As children inherit their parents’ estates, each child is an heir, and the children together are co heirs. In the same way, Christians are God’s children, and they are heirs and co heirs with Christ.

Three characteristics of those who are adopted into the family of God.

1. They are led by the Spirit (v. 14). - It is the Holy Spirit who places the believer as an adult into the family of God.

2. They are loved by the Father (vv. 15,16). - Through the miracle of regeneration, we are brought into the closet intimacy with the Father.

3. They are lifted by the Son (v. 17). - Adoption into the family of God involves being lifted by Christ so that we can share both His suffering and His glory.

APPLICATION:

How do I put to death the wrong things I do in my body? Do my thoughts and the way I spend my time match up to what I believe God wants me to do with my life? Why or why not?

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