Adoption is Not Regeneration

In short, the Puritans taught that regeneration and adoption are to be distinguished in several ways. Here is a summary of points made by Thomas Manton and Stephen Charnock on the differences between the doctrines of adoption and regeneration:

  • Ÿ Regeneration brings us to close with Jesus Christ – adoption causes the Spirit to abide in our hearts.
  • Ÿ Regeneration is the Spirit’s renewing. Adoption, the Spirit’s inhabiting. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit builds a house for Himself, in adoption, He dwells in the house—much like bees that “first make their cells, and then dwell in them.”
  • Ÿ Regeneration is not conditioned by faith, adoption is.
  • Ÿ Regeneration enables us to believe unto justification and adoption.
  • Ÿ Regeneration engraves upon us the lineaments of a father; adoption relates us to God as our Father.
  • Ÿ Regeneration makes us God’s sons by conveying the principle of new life (1 Pet. 1:23); adoption keeps us God’s sons by conferring the power of new life (John 1:12).
  • Ÿ Regeneration makes us partakers of the divine nature; adoption makes us partakers of the divine affections.
  • Ÿ Regeneration affects our nature, adoption, our relationships.