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Read Introduction to Galatians


“…to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”


that we might receive the adoption as sons

“Receive” indicates God adopts us “as sons” as a gift. God gives us sonship by redeeming us by His Son. He sent His Son so that we might freely become sons with privilege.

“Adoption” in Greek is a compound of two words: son and placing. God places Christians as sons into His family. This term is a technical word referring to when a teenage son received his toga of manhood (toga virilis). The idea of “son” here is adult sons, not children. This does not refer to the adoption of the twenty-first century that takes a child who’s not our own and makes her legally one of the family. Biblical adoption takes someone already in the family and places them into the status of adult privilege.

The Christian is already in the family but receives privileges as a family heir at their son-placing. Jesus put us in a place of privilege with God. God inducts us into the rights of spiritual adulthood because of Christ’s work on the cross. This is a privilege that we do not receive by natural descent.

“Adoption” is a term of status quo, a word of legal position with God. When God adopts us into sonship, we have all the privileges that come with that. He admits us to the rights of a son. He places us into a status of privilege. Legalists continue to live under guardians and stewards, but God accredits the full status quo of Christ to believers in grace. He gives full sonship without any strings attached to everyone who receives Christ.


God places believers in the same status as Christ because of His death on the cross.


Why should a Christian revert to the law as a way of life? Why live on a low plane of dos and don’ts when we have superior supernatural privilege? We do not have to earn God’s favor because Jesus already earned that for us. We have the same status that He has before the Father–His rights are our rights. We have a legal title to the rights of the Son of God. We do not merit these rights. Jesus obtained them by the judicial proceeding of the cross. This is why we have the right to pray (come to God “in Jesus’ name”) and exercise a spiritual life before God.

The spiritual adult son becomes an independent executor of his spiritual estate. He goes beyond legal regulations in his relation to God because of the indwelling Holy Spirit. There is no reason Christians should have a slavish attitude of fear before God. We serve Him with freedom.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage [the law]” (Galatians 5:1).

Assurance and conviction are characteristics of those who know their standing before God. We cannot establish merit before God, but we are responsible for ” walking worthy” of our calling (positional before God; Ephesians 4:1-3; Colossians 3:1-3).

Our fundamental basis of appeal before God is not our spirituality but our position in Christ. God hears us not because we are spiritual but because we are legally, forensically right before Him in Christ.

Many believers walk before God with apprehension, thinking they are unacceptable to Him. They walk in subjective guilt rather than accepting Christ died for their sin. They, indeed, should accept the reality that they are objectively guilty of the sin they commit, but they should not subjectively pay for that through feelings of guilt. Instead of identifying sin as something for which Christ paid, they pay for it themselves by guilt. They say, in effect, “Move over Jesus, and I am going to climb up on that cross and pay for my sins by feeling bad for my sin.” That thinking is a rejection of the finished work of Christ on the cross. These are people who do not recognize their rights before God. They suffer for sin, for which Christ already suffered.