Many Christians believe they are adopted by God. However, what many does not know is, it is only Paul who used this phrase.
Rom 8:23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Gal 4:5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
John 3:3,5-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” … Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again (from above).’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus and His disciples always used, born of God or born of the Spirit.
- Jesus used born again (literally born from above) – John 3:3
- Peter used born again – 1 Pet 1:23
- John used born of God – 1 John 3:9
- Paul used adopted by God – Gal 4:5
Paul’s argument comes from the prophet Hosea on how we will be adopted as sons of the living God.
Hos 1:10b And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’
Rom 9:26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Jesus does refer those who are worthy to attain salvation as sons of God. He also mentioned that the peacemakers and those who love/being kind to their enemies will be called as sons of God.
Luke 20:35-36 “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
But Jesus never said anything about adoption but born of God or born from above.
Born vs Adopted
John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
One can become a son in two ways.
- Born – Jesus says we must be born of God
- Adopted – Paul says we are adopted by God
The difference between born of God and adopted by God have serious implications because, being adopted means, it is not something we can do to get adopted or it doesn’t matter how bad we are. But being born of Spirit means, we must cast away very sinful things from our lives to be free from sins to have a new birth in the Spirit.
John 3:10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
Paul is expected to know these things as a Pharisee just like Nicodemus but messes up.
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
While there are two ways you can become a son in this world, there is only one way you can become a son of God which is by being born of Spirit (or God) and not through adoption. Do you have Paul’s words in your heart, thinking that you are adopted as sons but never being born of Spirit? Or do you keep Christ’s Words to be born of God to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? To be born of God, we must be never sin (1 John 3:9), become free from being slaves of sin (John 8:34-35) to abide in God’s house. We cannot enter the kingdom of God without being born of the Spirit (John 3:5). Do not be deceived! God is not going to adopt you as sons! You must be born of Him!