The definition of adoption in the setting of the New Testament (Roman Aristocracy).

1. The Biblical connotation of adoption is based on the Roman aristocratic function of adoption used in the time of the New Testament. The meaning of adoption in our twentieth century has an entirely different perspective.

2. In Scripture adoption means to be recognized by God as an adult son positionally at salvation (and an adult son experientially at maturity). The Latin ADOPTIA is the exact equivalent of the Greek HUIOTHESIA, meaning to adopt as an adult son. Imputations at salvation are made as part of the ceremony of recognizing that we now have a plan and purpose in life. All believers become adopted as sons at salvation. Being in union with Christ, we are joint-heirs with Christ, and are therefore adopted at the moment of salvation, Gal 3:26.


(Gal. 3:26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

3. The word HUIOTHESIA means to place a son, which means recognition as an adult son. This was usually done when the son reached the age of fourteen. Adoption was designed to train a child in the recognition of authority. So adoption was a system of selectivity for heirship, in which a capable person would succeed another capable person.

4. Therefore, to place an adult son was a Roman custom for aristocracy. It conferred adulthood on a natural child or on a child adopted as the heir. A wise Roman aristocrat could adopt as his heir anyone he deemed worthy. So just being the son of an aristocrat did not mean you would inherit your father's land, wealth, or title; you had to be adopted. Roman aristocrats would adopt whomever they considered most worthy to carry on the family name and wealth. Therefore, the family fortune and opportunities were passed down through that adopted person. If you adopted your own son, it was the highest honor you could confer on him. Adoption was the ceremony of proclaiming the heir to the estate.

5. Adoption was brought about as a means of introducing a stronger society in early Rome. It was a way of recognizing superiority in Roman society. This Roman law of ADOPTIA was never changed. The actual ceremony was called ADROGATIO. The law could not be reversed, so that as long as you were alive, you were the heir. More than being a custom of Roman aristocracy, adoption was Roman law.

6. Adoption meant selection to special privilege. Therefore, adoption refers to our equal privilege and equal opportunity under predestination. It also meant rank and aristocracy was not necessarily based on physical birth. The lowest person in Roman society, if he had ability, could be adopted, and therefore have the greatest of opportunities.

7. Adoption is defined as the fulfillment of the Father's plan to appoint a legal adult son. Believers at the point of salvation become legally adopted sons of God. Adoption is the ceremony of opportunity; it is also the ceremony of aristocracy.

8. Paul uses the word adoption in Eph 1:5 to show that God the Father selected each believer personally at the moment of salvation and adopted him. You are the legitimate heir of God the Father. Paul goes on to point out in Romans that we are "joint-heirs with the Son of God."



(Eph. 1:5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

9. The important significance of adoption emphasizes God's ability and your motivation, rather than antecedence or arrogance. However you failed, whatever your handicaps from birth, or environment are all set aside when you were adopted at salvation. Your motivation is emphasized because if your volition is negative, you will never enjoy the benefits of your adoption.

10. Everyone who believes in Christ in the Church Age dispensation is automatically adopted as the heir of God. So not only are you adopted into God's royal family, but you are a royal heir of God.

11. Paul uses the word to remind us of our spiritual aristocracy, the royal family of God, and to remind us that our preceding existence is no issue in the spiritual life. We are in the plan of God and we are different from other believers of other dispensations. Adoption anticipates great blessing and responsibility from the integrity of God. We are to advance to maturity, receive blessings, and glorify God in time and eternity. Adoption connotes responsibility, purpose, authority, and a planned life. Adoption means being given the rights, power, and authority of someone who is truly great and has all the power. It is defined as the fulfillment of the Father's plan as a legal adult son.

12. During the Roman ceremony of adoption, or ADROGATIO, the entire family was assembled, including everyone who might have been the heir. The father had ready on a table a beautiful white linen robe with a purple border, called the toga virilus, and a signet ring. The father would recognize you, using your new name, declaring you to be his new heir. He would then give you the toga virilus and put the signet ring of heirship on your finger. These two gifts sealed your heirship; it was final!

13. Since the Scripture uses adoption to explain how great are our Church Age assets, the actual ceremony of adoption provides analogies to what the Church Age believer receives at salvation. First the Holy Spirit entered you into union with Christ. Then God the Father gave you the signet ring which represents your assets. Now you are in union with Christ, you are in the royal family of God, permanent and eternal aristocracy.

14. In studying the history of adoption in Rome, you realize this was a very big and important thing. So you can see that when a Christian in the first or second century discovered that he had been adopted by God the Father, this meant a great deal and was extremely significant to him. Also astonishing to this early Church Age believer was that both male and female believers were adopted by God, for in the Roman custom only men could be adopted as heirs.

15. From the historical illustration of such jackasses and jerks as Caligula being adopted as emperors, we have the illustration of ourselves, totally unworthy, adopted into the royal family of God, thus giving us the power, authority, rights, and privileges of God Himself!

16. So our spiritual royalty is the greatest aristocracy in history, and the only one that will outlive history. But remember, this is an aristocracy for the Church Age only. Every Church Age believer is royal family, and regardless of background or handicap, has exactly the same privileges and opportunities in God's protocol plan.

17. The term "protocol" is therefore applied to God's plan for the Church Age. For everyone who is aristocracy must function under protocol and virtue. Protocol refers to the overt mannerisms; virtue refers to the inner thinking and way of life.

B. Jesus Christ is the agent of adoption, Gal 4:4-5.

1. "But when the fullness of time had come, God [Father] sent His Son [First Advent], born of a woman [beginning of His Hypostatic Union], born under the law [dispensation of Israel], that He might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."

2. Our Lord completed salvation for those in the Age of Israel who believed in Christ before the cross so that they were redeemed. We believe in Christ for salvation after the cross, and receive the adoption of sons.

C. The Mechanics of Adoption,


(Eph. 1:5,6) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

1. By means of virtue love, He predestined us for the purpose of adoption as adult sons to Himself through Christ Jesus our Lord according to the grace purpose of His will.

2. This adoption is accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, specifically referring to current positional truth. We have power, a plan, and privileges of royalty related to God. All the blessings and happiness you will ever have in time and eternity are based on this word adoption. God has a wonderful purpose for your life. If you understand adoption and follow through on it, you'll have a wonderful death with glory, perhaps even the imputation of martyrdom. The Church Age believer is appointed an adult son, the heir of God the Father, and an aristocratic joint-heir of the Son of God.

D. Adoption anticipates blessing in time.


(Rom 8:15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

1. We are made adopted sons at salvation to anticipate blessing (Hope). The imputation of God's righteousness and the baptism of the Holy Spirit are a part of this adoption ceremony.

2. Adoption anticipates the potential of blessing in time. Reality occurs by the intake of doctrine. Hope in the plan of God is the fulfillment of the purpose of adoption.

3. Rom 8:15, But you have received the Spirit of adoption through whom we keep on shouting, "My Father"

4. When God adopted us, He gave us His Holy Spirit and a spiritual sphere of operation with unlimited spiritual opportunity. You have to learn to think in terms of your adoption, which requires knowledge and application of Bible doctrine.

E. Adoption anticipates great blessing for eternity, Rom 8:23. Mature believers eagerly await for that blessing that will be imputed to their resurrection body. A function of adoption which occurs in the future (at the Rapture) is when we receive a resurrection body which is our potential for blessing in eternity.

F. Israel as a nation has a special adoption, Rom 9:4. "We who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption of sons."

1. God has a national adoption, Israel, and a personal adoption, the royal family of God.

2. God could only adopt those in Israel who believed in Jesus Christ.

3. God adopted Israel as a nation under Moses. God adopted Israel as a race under Abraham. But neither the race nor the nation can be adopted unless they are born again.

4. The adoption of Israel does not occur until the Second Advent.

5. This adoption also refers to Israel as God's first born, the client nation to God, as in Ex 4:22; Deut 7:6; Isa 66:22; Hos 11:7.

6. The adoption of Israel confirms the doctrine that Israel has a future, Isa 5:26-30; 10:19-23; 11:11-18; 14:1-3; 60:4-6; Joel 2; Zech 10:6-12.




The Doctrine of Election


It should be understood that the basis for election is always God’s Grace. God’s Election is based upon His plan and God’s plan is designed according to His perfect character. It should be noted that God sees no good in man that would warrant blessing man in any way whatsoever. God only operates on the basis of His plan and His provision through Grace. This provision is provided without attachment to merit or works. In God’s view, man has nothing to offer besides being an object of His abounding grace.


Terms used for Election

Often the words "called" and "chosen" are used for election.


(Gal. 1:6) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:


Christ is the elected one, not the human race.


(Isa. 42:1a) Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; . . . .

(1 Peter 2:6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

The believer’s election is not direct but is based on Christ’s election. The facilitation of our election is salvation by which we are placed in union with Christ. The Holy Spirit sanctifies and regenerates us as we are entered into our new position with Christ. His election becomes our election.


(Eph. 1:4a) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

(1 Peter 1:2a) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, . . . . .

(2 Thess. 2:13b) . . . . because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Election is designed around God’s plan and purpose.


(Rom. 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Election took place in eternity past.


(Eph. 1:4a) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

(1 Peter 1:2a) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, . . . . .

(2 Thess. 2:13b) . . . . because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Election is executed with God’s omniscience in effect.


(Rom. 8:29a) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, . . . .

(1 Peter 1:2a) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, . . . . .

Election is the possession of every believer. We are already the elect of God.


(Col. 3:12) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Election takes place at the moment of salvation.


(2 Thess. 2:13b) . . . . because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

(1 Cor. 1:9) God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

(1 Cor. 1:24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Election is the foundation of the Church.


(1 Thess. 1:4) Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

Election is based on Grace. No human merit is involved in election.

(Gal. 1:15b) . . . . .and called me by his grace,