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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 12: Of Adoption - Commentary

Chapter 12: Of Adoption

In this chapter, we will try to find what the Bible says about us being the children of God. What does it mean to be children of God and how do we become children of God? These are the questions that we will try to answer.


§1 Make partakers of the grace of adoption

  1. All those that are justified, 1 God vouchsafed, in and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have his name put upon them, 4 receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, 5 are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a Father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation.7
    1. Gal. 3:24-26[1]
    2. 1 John 3:1-3
    3. Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:4-5; Rom 8:17, 29
    4. Rom. 8:17; John 1:12; 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 3:12
    5. Rom. 8:15; Eph. 3:12; Rom. 5:2; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18
    6. Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:30, 32; 1 Peter 5:7; Heb. 12:6; Isa. 54:8-9; Lam. 3:31; Eph. 4:30
    7. Rom. 8:17; Heb. 1:14; 9:15

God has vouchsafed, i.e., granted, all of them that are justified...in and for the sake of His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption (Eph. 1:5; Gal. 3:24-26; John 1:12-13). No justified person misses this grace of adoption. Their adoption, as well as their election (chapter 3:5), having the blessings of redemption (chapter 8:8), effectual calling and regeneration (chapter 10:2), justification (chapter 11:3), were not based in themselves. The absolute and free grace of God dominates all of the Christian life. Because we are in...His Only Son Jesus Christ, we are likewise counted as sons (Gal. 3:26-29; 4:4-5). And for the sake of His Only Son and the work He accomplished upon the cross, whereby He purchased our redemption with all of its blessings, we are adopted as sons of God. By this grace of adoption, we are to enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God (John 1:12-13). We are freed from sin and are able to willingly please God. We are privileged as children of God and of having God as our Father. The Confession then goes on to list the privileges which the children of God have.

They have His name put upon them (Rev. 3:12), meaning that they belong to Him. He is their owner. He is their Father and Master. They receive the spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15), Who is the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit testifies with our spirit about our identity as children of God (Rom. 8:14-17). As children, we have access to the throne of grace with boldness (Heb. 4:16), because God is our Abba, Father. A child should be afraid to approach their father. So likewise, we, as children of the Father, we may go to the throne of grace with boldness! We, by the fatherly care of God, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father (Ps. 103:13; Prov. 14:26; Matt. 6:30-32; Heb. 12:6 ). He cares for us and provides for us. But an important part of how He proves that He is our Father and we are His children is by disciplining us. He thereby proves that He cares for us and the wrong things which we do. But this disciplining or chastising is not for the purpose of condemning us. No. We are never cast off (John 6:37-39). It is for the purpose of us sharing in His holiness (Heb. 12:10). We are never cast...