Summary: When we get saved, we are adopted by God to be a part of His family.

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Larry C. Brincefield

Title: What We Believe...About Adoption

Text: Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:4-7


We have been studying the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene. Article 9 contains 3 things that happen simultaneously when we get saved.

Justification--The divine exchange, whereby Jesus makes us "just as if we had never sinned" by taking our sins upon Him and putting His righteousness upon us.

Regeneration--Where God takes our old, dirty, sinful, lives; and makes us brand new!

And tonight we will study the 3rd thing that happens when we get saved--Adoption.

The Manual states, "We believe that adoption is that gracious act of God by which the justified and regenerated believer is constituted a son of God. We believe that justification, regeneration, and adoption are simultaneous in the experience of seekers after God and are obtained upon the condition of faith, preceded by repentance; and that to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness." —Nazarene Manual 2001-2005

Read Text: Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:4-7


1. Slaves to Fear

Paul says, "you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear" Romans 8:15 (NIV)

There are many people who are slaves to fear.

5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper.

She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup,

but he didn’t want to go in alone.

"It’s dark in there and I’m scared."

She asked again, and again he said he was scared.

Finally she said, "It’s OK--Jesus will be in there with you."

Johnny walked carefully to the door and opened it real slow.

He peeked inside and saw it was dark,

he turned to leave

when all at once an idea came to him

he said: "Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?"

Charles Allen, Victory in the Valleys.

I’m sure we have all been afraid one time or another.

But I don’t think this passage of Scripture is talking about the occasional fearful feeling that might hit us from time to time.

Romans 8:15 talks about being a SLAVE to fear.

Paul seems to be talking about more than just fear.

He is talking about sin.

He says, "you did not receive a spirit (small s) that makes you a slave AGAIN to fear"

When we get saved, and we are adopted,

we don’t go back to our old life of fear and sin.

We leave that life that USED to enslave us in fear and sin...

and we are set free...

2. by the Spirit of Sonship (or "daughtership")

That’s Spirit, with a big "S", which refers to the Holy Spirit.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can become God’s children

But we aren’t natural born children...we are adopted.

Barclay shares some interesting facts about early Roman adoption.

And these would have been very much in Paul’s mind; scholar that he was.

Adoptions weren’t just done haphazardly.

They were taken quite seriously.

Let me share with you 4 interesting things about Roman adoption

First of all, the adopted person lost all rights in his/her old family

and gained all the rights of a legitimate child in his/her new family.

The adopted child got a new father.

it was legally binding...

performed before a Roman Official

Secondly, the adopted child became an heir to his new father’s estate.

Even if there were natural-born children in the family;

it did not affect his rights.

He was an absolute co-heir with them.

The third interesting thing about Roman adoption, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out;

for example, all debts were wiped out.

He/she was regarded as a new person entering into a new life

and his or her past had basically nothing to do with them now.

And Forth, in the eyes of Roman law, the adopted child was absolutely the son of his new father.

—Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Compare that to us when we get saved...we are adopted into a new family.

When we are adopted, our "old family" of sin no longer has any hold on us.

When we are adopted, we have a new Father!!

When we are adopted, we become an heir to our Father’s estate

When we are adopted, our text says, that we become "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ," Romans 8:17 (NIV)

That makes Jesus our Brother!

It also says, in Galatians 4:5 that we "receive the full rights of sons."

That means that we receive a new inheritance!

Instead of our old inheritance; which because of our sin, means that our inheritance was death and hell.

But because of our NEW inheritance, that means our inheritance is a new vibrant life (in this life)

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