Schoolmaster and sonship
All Scripture is King James Version (KJV), unless otherwise noted.
Galatians 3:24-26. 24. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:1-7. 1. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2. But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
"Schoolmaster" is not the best translation of this Greek word. Paidagogos is best translated "tutor". ‘Schoolmaster’ is translated from the Greek. paidagogos, meaning child-discipliner or child-leader. (The New Scofield Study Bible); "A guide and guardian for boys." (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary); "to be a tutor" (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
"In the Greek or Roman world the pedagogue was the custodian or guardian in the education and the life of minor children." (The New Scofield Study Bible); "trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys of the better class. The name carries with it the idea of severity (as of a stern censor and enforcer of morals) in 1 Corinthians 4:15" (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary); "This paidagagos was not a teacher but a slave, to whom in wealthy families the general oversight of a boy was committed. It was his duty to accompany his charge to and from school, never to lose sight of him in public, to prevent association with objectionable companions, to inculcate moral lessons at every opportunity, etc." "Wealthy and intensely orthodox Jewish parents living in a Gentile city may well have adopted such a precaution for the protection of their children." (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)
"[That the heir] (Galatians 4:1) Any heir to an estate, or one who has a prospect of an inheritance. No matter how great is the estate; no matter how wealthy his father; no matter to how elevated a rank he may be raised on the moment that he enters on his inheritance, yet until that time he is in the condition of a servant. An heir to a great estate, says the apostle (Galatians 4:1-2), is treated substantially as if he were a servant. He is under tutors and governors: he is not permitted to enter on his inheritance; he is kept under the restraint of law." (Barnes'Notes)
"[Differeth nothing from a servant] (Galatians 4:1) That is, he has no more control of his property; he has it not at his command. He differs in his prospects of inheriting the property, and in the affections of the father, and usually in the advantages of education, and in the respect and attention shown him. but in regard to property, he does not differ, and he is like a servant, under the control and direction of others." (Barnes' Notes)
However, "the pedagogue’s authority… wholly ceased when the ‘child’ (Galatians 4:1) becomes a son (Galatians 4:1-6), when the minor became an adult. The adult ‘son’ does voluntarily that which formerly he did in fear of the pedagogue. But even if he does not, it is no longer a question between the son and the pedagogue, but between the son and his father." (The New Scofield Study Bible)
When the "child" comes of age, (around 16 years of age, according to Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary), he is no longer under the authority of the pedagogue, but is now considered "a son." As "a son", he now has the regard as an heir to his rightful inheritance.
"Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world" Galatians 4:3. Paul used the familiar concept of the tutor, the child, and the child coming of age, to show a Spiritual truth.
In this sense, "the fulness of time was come" in Galatians 4:4 speaks of the period of time before we came to know Christ. Before Christ, we were "children" placed under our "schoolmaster", the Law. Under the tutelage of the Law, we had no hope of eligibility of a relationship with the Father (God) other than that of a slave, or any hope of an inheritance from our Father.
The Law’s responsibility, is stated in Galatians 3:24, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ". We come to a place that we realize that "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." (Galatians 4:4) Once the time has arrived that we have "come to Christ", the Law has been fulfilled. Jesus had said, in Matthew 5:17, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil".
Galatians 4:6-7, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
Scofield said, "Schoolmaster" is translated from the Greek paidagogos, meaning child-discipliner or child-leader. In the Greek or Roman world the pedagogue was the custodian or guardian in the education and the life of minor children. The argument does not turn upon the extent or nature of the pedagogue’s authority, but upon the fact that it wholly ceased when the "child" (4:1) becomes a son (4:1-6), when the minor became an adult. The adult "son" does voluntarily that which formerly he did in fear of the pedagogue. But even if he does not, it is no longer a question between the son and the pedagogue (the law), but between the son and God, his Father.
TUTOR (Greek paidagogos). A guide and guardian for boys. Among the Greeks and Romans the name was applied to trustworthy slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the life and morals of boys of the better class. The name carries with it the idea of severity (as of a stern censor and enforcer of morals) in 1 Corinthians 4:15, where the father is distinguished from the tutor as one whose discipline is usually milder. The New International Version (NIV), however, translates it as "guardian." In Galatians 3:24-25, the Mosaic law is likened to a tutor because it arouses the consciousness of sin, and is called paidagogos ("our tutor to lead us to Christ"), i.e., as preparing the soul for Christ, because those who have learned by experience with the law that they are not sinless and cannot be commended to God by their works, welcome the more eagerly the hope of salvation offered them through the death and resurrection of Christ, the Son of God. The term is sometimes translated "schoolmaster," but that is misleading because the paidagogos had the responsibility of taking a boy to the schoolmaster in the morning and leaving him there. Likewise the law as a paidagogos leads a person to Christ as schoolmaster and leaves him there. H.F.V. (From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary)
TUTOR. A trusted slave among wealthy Greek and Roman families whose responsibility was to supervise their son's activities, acting as his guide and guardian. When the boy reached 16 he was considered to be of age and no longer needed his tutor. The apostle Paul compared the law to a tutor, because it guided people to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25; schoolmaster, KJV; custodian, Revised Standard Version (RSV)). Until Christ came the law confined us and kept us in custody. But when Christ came, we attained the freedom and maturity of faith. Those who live under the law thus have an inferior status to those who live by faith;"for the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
SCHOOLMASTER. Galatians 3:24 from the King James Version reads: "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." "Schoolmaster" is a translation of paidagogos, literally, "child-leader." This paidagagos was not a teacher but a slave, to whom in wealthy families the general oversight of a boy was committed. It was his duty to accompany his charge to and from school, never to lose sight of him in public, to prevent association with objectionable companions, to inculcate moral lessons at every opportunity, etc. He was a familiar figure in the streets, and the (sour) "face of paidagogos" and "to follow one like a paidagogos" were proverbial expressions. Naturally, to the average boy the paidagogos must have represented the incorporation of everything objectionable. Hence, Paul's figure may be paraphrased: "The law was a paidagogos, necessary but irksome, to direct us until the time of Christ. Then was the time of our spiritual coming of age, so that the control of the paidagogos ceased." The word paidagogos was taken over into Aramaic at an early date, and Paul's language; which is hardly that of a mere adult observer, suggests that he had had personal experience with the institution. Wealthy and intensely orthodox Jewish parents living in a Gentile city may well have adopted such a precaution for the protection of their children.
No English word renders paidagogos adequately. "Schoolmaster" is quite wrong, but Revised Version's "tutor" (compare 1 Corinthians 4:15) is little better in modern English. Burton Scott Easton (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)
Galatians 4:1, "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all"
Verse 1. [Now I say] He had before said (Galatians 3:24-25) that while they were under the Law they were in a state of minority. This sentiment he proceeds further to illustrate by showing the true condition of one who was a minor.
[That the heir] Any heir to an estate, or one who has a prospect of an inheritance. No matter how great is the estate; no matter how wealthy his father; no matter to how elevated a rank he may be raised on the moment that he enters on his inheritance, yet until that time he is in the condition of a servant.
[As long as he is a child] Until he arrives at the age. The word rendered "child" neepios (NT: 3516) properly means an infant; literally, "one not speaking" mee (NT:3361) insep. un, epos (NT: 2031), and hence, a child or babe, but without any definite limitation-Robinson. It is used as the word "infant" is with us in law, to denote "a minor."
[Differeth nothing from a servant] That is, he has no more control of his property; he has it not at his command. This does not mean that he does not differ in any respect, but only that in the matter under consideration he does not differ. He differs in his prospects of inheriting the property, and in the affections of the father, and usually in the advantages of education, and in the respect and attention shown him. but in regard to property, he does not differ, and he is like a servant, under the control and direction of others.
[Though he be lord of all] That is, in prospect. He has a prospective right to all the property, which no one else has. The word "lord" here kurios (NT: 2962), is used in the same sense in which it is often in the Scriptures, to denote master or owner. The idea which this is designed to illustrate is, that the condition of the Jews before the coming of the Messiah was inferior in many respects to what the condition of the friends of God would be under him-as inferior as the condition of an heir was before he was of age, to what it would be when he should enter on his inheritance. The Jews claimed, indeed, that they were the children or the sons of God, a title which the apostle would not withhold from the pious part of the nation; but it was a condition in which they had not entered on the full inheritance, and which was far inferior to that of those who had embraced the Messiah, and who were admitted to the full privileges of sonship. They were indeed heirs. They were interested in the promises. But still they were in a condition of comparative servitude, and could be made free only by the gospel. (from Barnes' Notes)
Galatians 4. The design of this chapter is, to show the effect of being under the Law, and the inconsistency of that kind of bondage or servitude with the freedom which is vouchsafed to the true children of God by the gospel. It is, in accordance with the whole drift of the Epistle, to recall the Galatians to just views of the gospel; and to convince them of their error in returning to the practice of the Mosaic rites and customs. In the previous chapter he had shown them that believers in the gospel were the true children of Abraham; that they had been delivered from the curse of the Law; that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead them to Christ, and that they were all the children of God. To illustrate this further, and to show them the true nature of the freedom which they had as the children of God, is the design of the argument in this chapter. He therefore states:
(1) That it was under the gospel only that they received the full advantages of freedom; Galatians 4:1-5. Before Christ came, indeed, there were true children of God, and heirs of life. But they were in the condition of minors; they had not the privileges of sons. An heir to a great estate, says the apostle (Galatians 4:1-2), is treated substantially as if he were a servant. He is under tutors and governors: he is not permitted to enter on his inheritance; he is kept under the restraint of law. So it was with the people of God under the Law of Moses. They were under restraints, and were admitted to comparatively few of the privileges of the children of God. But Christ came to redeem those who were under the Law, and to place them in the elevated condition of adopted sons; Galatians 4:4-5. They were no longer servants; and it was as unreasonable that they should conform again to the Mosaic rites and customs, as it would be for the heir of full age, and who has entered on his inheritance, to return to the condition of minorship, and to be placed again under tutors and governors, and to be treated as a servant.
(2) As sons of God, God had sent forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, and they were enabled to cry Abba, Father. They were no longer servants, but heirs of God, and should avail themselves of the privileges of heirs; (4:6-7). (3) Sustaining this relation, and being admitted to these privileges, the apostle remonstrates with them for returning again to the "weak and beggarly elements" of the former dispensation-the condition of servitude to rites and customs in which they were before they embraced the gospel; (4:8-11). When they were ignorant of God, they served those who were no gods, and there was some excuse for that; (4:8). But now they had known God, they were acquainted with his laws; they were admitted to the privileges of his children; they were made free, and there could be no excuse for returning again to the bondage of those who had no true knowledge of the liberty which the gospel gave. Y (from Barnes' Notes)
ADOPTION. Romans 8:17, And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
[And if children, then heirs], [kai (NT: 2532) kleeronomoi (NT: 2818)]-`heirs also.'
[Heirs of God]-of our Father's kingdom (compare Galatians 4:7, "and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ"),
[And joint-heirs [sungkleeronomoi (NT: 4789)] with Christ]-as "the First-born among many brethren" (Romans 8:29), and as "Heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2: compare Revelation 3:21, "To Him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne;"
[If so be that we suffer with him [sumpaschomen (NT: 4841)], that we may be also glorified together], [sundoxasthoomen (NT: 4888)]-`that we may be glorified with Him.' This necessity of conformity to Christ in suffering, in order to participation in His glory is taught alike by Christ Himself and by His apostles (John 12:24-26; Matthew 16:24-25; 2 Timothy 2:12). (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
ADOPTION. (huiothesia, "placing as a son").
This term appears first in New Testament, and only in the epistles of Paul (Galatians 4:5; Romans 8:15,23; 9:4; Ephesians 1:5) who may have coined it out of a familiar Greek phrase of identical meaning. It indicated generally the legal process by which a man might bring into his family, and endow with the status and privileges of a son, one who was not by nature his son or of his kindred.
I. The General Legal Idea. -The custom prevalied among Greeks, Romans and other ancient peoples, but it does not appear in Jewish law.
1. In the Old Testament: Three cases of adoption are mentioned: of Moses (Exodus 2:10), Genubath (1 Kings 11:20) and Esther (Esther 2:7,15), but it is remarkable that they all occur outside of Palestine-in Egypt and Persia, where the practice of adoption prevailed. Likewise the idea appears in the New Testament only in the epistles of Paul, which were addressed to churches outside Palestine. The motive and initiative of adoption always lay with the adoptive father, who thus supplied his lack of natural offspring and satisfied the claims of affection and religion, and the desire to exercise paternal authority or to perpetuate his family. The process and conditions of adoption varied with different peoples. Among oriental nations it was extended to slaves (as Moses) who thereby gained their freedom, but in Greece and Rome it was, with rare exceptions, limited to citizens.
2. Greek: In Greece a man might during his lifetime, or by will, to take effect after his death, adopt any male citizen into the privileges of his son, but with the invariable condition that the adopted son accepted the legal obligations and religious duties of a real son.
3. Roman: In Rome the unique nature of paternal authority (patria potestas), by which a son was held in his father's power, almost as a slave was owned by his master, gave a peculiar character to the process of adoption. For the adoption of a person free from paternal authority (sui juris), the process and effect were practically the same in Rome as in Greece (adrogatio). In a more specific sense, adoption proper (adoption) was the process by which a person was transferred from his natural father's power into that of his adoptive father, and it consisted in a fictitious sale of the son, and his surrender by the natural to the adoptive father.
II. Paul's Doctrine.-As a Roman citizen the apostle would naturally know of the Roman custom, but in the cosmopolitan city of Tarsus, and again on his travels, he would become equally familiar with the corresponding customs of other nations. He employed the idea metaphorically much in the manner of Christ's parables, and, as in their case, there is danger of pressing the analogy too far in its details. It is not clear that he had any specific form of adoption in mind when illustrating his teaching by the general idea. Under this figure he teaches that God, by the manifestation of His grace in Christ, brings men into the relation of sons to Himself, and communicates to them the experience of sonship.
In Galatians, Paul emphasizes especially the liberty enjoyed by those who live by faith, in contrast to the bondage under which men are held, who guide their lives by legal ceremonies and ordinances, as the Galatians were prone to do (Galatians 5:1).
1. In Galatians as Liberty: The contrast between law and faith is first set forth on the field of history, as a contrast between both the pre-Christian and the Christian economies (3:23-24), although in another passage he carries the idea of adoption back into the covenant relation of God with Israel (Romans 9:4). But here the historical antithesis is reproduced in the contrast between men who now choose to live under law and those who live by faith. Three figures seem to commingle in the description of man's condition under legal bondage- that of a slave, that of a minor under guardians appointed by his father's will, and that of a Roman son under the patria potestas [we're back in Galatians] (4:1-3). The process of liberation is first of all one of redemption or buying out (Greek exagorasei) (4:5). This term in itself applies equally well to the slave who is redeemed from bondage, and the Roman son whose adoptive father buys him out of the authority of his natural father. But in the latter case the condition of the son is not materially altered by the process: he only exchanges one paternal authority for another. If Paul for a moment thought of the process in terms of ordinary Roman adoption, the resulting condition of the son he conceives in terms of the more free and gracious Greek or Jewish family life. Or he may have thought of the rarer case of adoption from conditions of slavery into the status of sonship. The redemption is only a precondition of adoption, which follows upon faith, and is accompanied by the sending of "the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father," and then all bondage is done away (4:5-7).
2. In Romans as Deliverance from Debt: In 8:12-17 the idea of obligation or debt is coupled with that of liberty. Man is thought of as at one time under the authority and power of the flesh (8:5), but when the Spirit of Christ comes to dwell in him, he is no longer a debtor to the flesh but to the Spirit (8:12-13), and debt or obligation to the Spirit is itself liberty. As in Galatians, man thus passes from a state of bondage into a state of sonship which is also a state of liberty. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these (and these only) are sons of God" (8:14). The spirit of adoption or sonship stands in diametrical opposition to the spirit of bondage (8:15). And the Spirit to which we are debtors and by which we are led, at once awakens and confirms the experience of sonship within us (8:16). In both places, Paul conveys under this figure, the idea of man as passing from a state of alienation from God and of bondage under law and sin, into that relation with God of mutual confidence and love, of unity of thought and will, which should characterize the ideal family, and in which all restraint, compulsion and fear have passed away.
III. The Christian Experience.-As a fact of Christian experience, the adoption is the recognition and affirmation by man of his sonship toward God. It follows upon faith in Christ, by which man becomes so united with Christ that his filial spirit enters into him, and takes possession of his consciousness, so that he knows and greets God as Christ does (compare Mark 14:36).
1. In Relation to Justification: It is an aspect of the same experience that Paul describes elsewhere, under another legal metaphor, as justification by faith. According to the latter, God declares the sinner righteous and treats him as such, admits into to the experience of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace (Romans 5:1). In all this the relation of father and son is undoubtedly involved, but in adoption it is emphatically expressed. It is not only that the prodigal son is welcomed home, glad to confess that he is not worthy to be called a son, and willing to be made as one of the hired servants, but he is embraced and restored to be a son as before. The point of each metaphor is, that justification is the act of a merciful Judge setting the prisoner free, but adoption is the act of a generous father, taking a son to his bosom and endowing him with liberty, favor and a heritage.
2. In Relation to Sanctification: Besides, justification is the beginning of a process which needs for its completion a progressive course of sanctification by the aid of the Holy Spirit, but adoption is coextensive with sanctification. The sons of God are those led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14); and the same spirit of God gives the experience of sonship. Sanctification describes the process of general cleansing and growth as an abstract process, but adoption includes it as a concrete relation to God, as loyalty, obedience, and fellowship with an ever-loving Father.
3. In Relation to Regeneration: Some have identified adoption with regeneration, and therefore many Fathers and Roman Catholic theologians have identified it with baptismal regeneration, thereby excluding the essential fact of conscious sonship. The new birth and adoption are certainly aspects of the same totality of experience, but they belong to different systems of thought, and to identify them is to invite confusion. The new birth defines especially the origin and moral quality of the Christian experience as an abstract fact, but adoption expresses a concrete relation of man to God. Nor does Paul here raise the question of man's natural and original condition. It is pressing the analogy too far to infer from this doctrine of adoption that man is by nature not God's son. It would contradict Paul's teaching elsewhere (e.g. Acts 17:28), and he should not be convicted of inconsistency on the application of a metaphor. He conceives man outside Christ as morally an alien and a stranger from God, and the change wrought by faith in Christ makes him morally a son and conscious of his sonship; but naturally he is always a potential son because God is always a real father.
IV. As God's Act. -Adoption as God's act is an eternal process of His gracious love, for He "fore-ordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Ephesians 1:5).
1. Divine Fatherhood: The motive and impulse of Fatherhood which result in adoption were eternally real and active in God. In some sense He had bestowed the adoption upon Israel (Romans 9:4). "Israel is my son, my first-born" (Exodus 4:22>; compare Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:6; Jeremiah 31:9; Hoseah 11:1). God could not reveal Himself at all without revealing something of His Fatherhood, but the whole revelation was as yet partial and prophetic. When "God sent forth his Son" to redeem them that were under the law," it became possible for men to receive the adoption; for to those who are willing to receive it, He sent the Spirit of the eternal Son to testify in their hearts that they are sons of God, and to give them confidence and utterance to enable them to call God their Father (Galatians 4:5-6; Romans 8:15).
2. Its Cosmic Range: But this experience also is incomplete, and looks forward to a fuller adoption in the response, not only of man's spirit, but of the whole creation, including man's body, to the Fatherhood of God (Romans 8:23). Every filial spirit now groans, because it finds itself imprisoned in a body subjected to vanity, but it awaits a redemption of the body, perhaps in the resurrection, or in some final consummation, when the whole material creation shall be transformed into a fitting environment for the sons of God, the creation itself delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Then will adoption be complete, when man's whole personality shall be in harmony with the spirit of sonship, and the whole universe favorable to its perseverance in a state of blessedness. See CHILDREN OF GOD. LITERATURE. - - Lightfoot, Galatians; Sanday, Romans; Lidgett, Fatherhood of God; Ritschl, Justification and Reconciliation. T. REES (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia)
ADOPTION. The taking of one as a son who is not so by birth. (I) Natural: As Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses; Mordecai Esther; Abraham Eliezer (as a slave is often in the East adopted as son) (Genesis 15:2-3); Sarai the son to be born by Hagar, whom she gave to her husband; Leah and Rachel the children to be born of Zilpah and Bilhah, their handmaids respectively, whom they gave to Jacob their husband. The handmaid at the birth brought forth the child on the knees of the adoptive mother (Genesis 30:3); an act representative of the complete appropriation of the sons as equal in rights to those by the legitimate wife. Jacob adopted as his own Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, on the same footing as Reuben and Simeon, his two elder sons (Genesis 48:5). Thereby he was able to give Joseph his favorite son more than his single share, with his brothers, of the paternal heritage. The tribes thus were 13, only that Levi had no land division; or Ephraim and Manasseh were regarded as two halves making up but one whole tribe. In 1 Chronicles 2, Machir gives his daughter to Hezron of Judah; she bore Segub, father of Jair. Jair inherited 23 cities of Gilead in right of his grandmother. Though of Judah by his grandfather, he is (Numbers 32:41) counted as of Manasseh on account of his inheritance through his grandmother. So Mary, being daughter of Heli, and Joseph her husband being adopted by him on marrying his daughter, an heiress (as appears from her going to Bethlehem to be registered in her pregnancy), Joseph is called in Luke's genealogy son of Heli.
By the Roman law of adoption, which required a due legal form, the adopted child was entitled to the father's name, possessions, and family sacred rights, as his heir at law. The father also was entitled to his son's property, and was his absolute owner. Gratuitous love was the ground of the selection generally. Often a slave was adopted as a son. Even when not so, the son adopted was bought from the natural father. A son and heir often adopted brothers, admitting them to share his own privileges; this explains beautifully John 8:36, compare Hebrews 2:11; or else the usage alluded to is that of the son, on coming into the inheritance, setting free the slaves born in the house. The Jews, though not having exactly the same customs, were familiar with the Roman usage's. (II) National: as God adopted Israel (Romans 9:4; Deuteronomy 7:6; Exodus 4:22-23; Hoseah 11:1); compare Jeremiah 3:19, "How shall I put thee among the children (Greek huiothesia (NT: 5206)) ... thou shalt call Me, my Father." The wonder expressed is, how shall one so long estranged from God as Israel has been be restored to the privileges of adoption? The answer is, by God's pouring out on them hereafter the Spirit of adoption crying to God, "Father" (Isaiah 63:16; 64:8; Hoseah 3:4-5; Zechariah 12:10). (III) Spiritual and individual.
An act of God's sovereign grace, originating in God's eternal counsel of love (Ephesians 1:4-5; Jeremiah 31:3); actually imparted by God's uniting His people by faith to Christ (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 3:26; 4:4-5). The slave once forbidden to say "father" to the master, being adopted, can use that endearing appellation as a free man. God is their Father, because He is Christ's Father (John 20:17). Sealed by the Holy Spirit, the earnest of the future inheritance (Ephesians 1:13). Producing the filial cry of prayer in all, Jew and Gentile alike [see ABBA] (Galatians 4:6); and the fruit of the Spirit, conformity to Christ (Romans 8:29), and renewal in the image of our Father (Colosians 3:10). Its privileges are God's special love and favor (1 John 3:1; Ephesians 5:1); union with God, so perfect hereafter that it shall correspond to the ineffable mutual union of the Father and Son (John 17:23,26); access to God with filial boldness (Matthew 6:8-9; Romans 8:15,26-27), not slavish fear such as the law generated (Galatians 4:1-7; John 4:17-18; 5:14); fatherly correction (Hebrews 12:5-8); provision and protection (Matthew 6:31-33; 10:29-30); heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4; Revelation 21:7).
The "adoption" is used for its full manifestation in the resurrection of the believer with a body like Christ's glorious body (Romans 8:23). Christ was Son even in His humiliation; but He was only "declared (definitively in the Greek) the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4), "the first begotten from the dead" (Revelation 1:5). Hence, Paul refers, "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee" (Psalms 2:7) to the day of His resurrection. Not that He then first became Son, but His sonship was then openly vindicated by the Father's raising Him from the dead (Acts 13:33). So our "adoption" is still waited for, in the sense of its open manifestation (Romans 8:11, 19; 1 John 3:2). It is now a reality, but as yet a hidden reality. Our regeneration is now true (Titus 3:5), but its full glories await Christ's coming to raise His saints. The first resurrection shall be the saints' manifested regeneration (Matthew 19:28). They have three birthdays: the natural, the spiritual, the glorified. Sonship and the first resurrection are similarly connected (Luke 20:36; 1 Peter 1:3). By creation Adam (Luke 3:38) and all people (Acts 17:28-29) are sons of God; by adoption only believers (1 Corinthians 12:3). The tests are in 1 John 3:9; 4:4,6; 5:1,4,18-21. (from Fausset's Bible Dictionary)
1. The New Scofield Study Bible, C. I. Scofield, D.D., New York, New Oxford Press, Copyright (c)1967
2. H.F.V. (From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c)1988.)
3. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers
4. International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Burton Scott Easton, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)
5. Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c)1997 by Biblesoft
6. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c)1997 by Biblesoft
7. International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Lightfoot, Galatians; Sanday, Romans; Lidgett, Fatherhood of God; Ritschl, Justification and Reconciliation. T. Rees, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)
8. Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1998 by Biblesoft
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