April 21, 2008 by Michael Dewalt
The Introduction of the Theology of Adoption
The doctrine of adoption is one of, if not the most, overlooked doctrines within soteriology. In general, when expanding upon the doctrine of salvation, people easily include election, effectual calling, regeneration, faith, justification, assurance, sanctification, and finally glorification. Yet believers never mention the doctrine of adoption, or in many cases, many might not even know that the doctrine even exists as an essential component of salvation. The doctrine of adoption as stated in the Baptist Confession of faith is:
“All those that are justified, 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, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry Abba, Father, 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.”
Adoption is the fact that Christ’s atoning blood purchases the elect’s souls so that they might become a part of the family of God. When the elect receive the Spirit they then become children of God and assume all the benefits that Christ bought for them at the cross. This adoption not only brings a sinner into the family of God but makes him a joint heir with Jesus Christ, God’s son. Sinners formerly destined to hell are now allowed to partake in all benefits of the gospel such as fellowship with the Father (God), the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the witnessing presence of the Holy Spirit, a future of glorification, and an inheritance to all things. This is how the believer can say with Paul in Romans 8:15 and 16, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”
I believe Herman Witsius says best what this act of spiritual adoption means for the elect in his introduction:
“That they may enjoy the benefits both of grace and glory, not only by the favor of friendship, but also by a right of inheritance… To express tranquility of conscience, of scripture calls it peace: to shew us the pleasantness of familiarity, it calls it friendship: and when it illustrates a right to the inheritance, it speaks of adoption.”
 The Baptist Confessions of Faith (Sterling: GAM Publications, 1996), p. 26.