the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son
who is not a son by birth.
(1.) Natural. Thus Pharaoh's daughter adopted Moses (Ex.
2:10), and Mordecai Esther (Esther 2:7).
(2.) National. God adopted Israel (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 7:6; Hos.
11:1; Rom. 9:4).
(3.) Spiritual. An act of God's grace by which he brings men
into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers
of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption
represents the new relations into which the believer is
introduced by justification, and the privileges connected
therewith, viz., an interest in God's peculiar love (John 17:23;
Rom. 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13), the
possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Pet. 1:14; 2
John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15), present protection,
consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Cor.
3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5-11), and
a future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil.
The resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:31) is the "assurance" (Gr.
pistis, generally rendered "faith") or pledge God has given that
his revelation is true and worthy of acceptance. The "full
assurance [Gr. plerophoria, 'full bearing'] of faith" (Heb.
10:22) is a fulness of faith in God which leaves no room for
doubt. The "full assurance of understanding" (Col. 2:2) is an
entire unwavering conviction of the truth of the declarations of
Scripture, a joyful steadfastness on the part of any one of
conviction that he has grasped the very truth. The "full
assurance of hope" (Heb. 6:11) is a sure and well-grounded
expectation of eternal glory (2 Tim. 4:7, 8). This assurance of
hope is the assurance of a man's own particular salvation.
This infallible assurance, which believers may attain unto as
to their own personal salvation, is founded on the truth of the
promises (Heb. 6:18), on the inward evidence of Christian
graces, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption (Rom.
8:16). That such a certainty may be attained appears from the
testimony of Scripture (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14), from the
command to seek after it (Heb. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10), and from the
fact that it has been attained (2 Tim. 1:12; 4:7, 8; 1 John 2:3;
This full assurance is not of the essence of saving faith. It
is the result of faith, and posterior to it in the order of
nature, and so frequently also in the order of time. True
believers may be destitute of it. Trust itself is something
different from the evidence that we do trust. Believers,
moreover, are exhorted to go on to something beyond what they at
present have when they are exhorted to seek the grace of full
assurance (Heb. 10:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). The attainment of this
grace is a duty, and is to be diligently sought.
"Genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and abiding
peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to God; and these
from the very laws of our being to greater buoyancy, strength,
and cheerfulness in the practice of obedience in every
department of duty."
This assurance may in various ways be shaken, diminished, and
intermitted, but the principle out of which it springs can never
be lost. (See FAITH ¯T0001302.)
Election of Grace
The Scripture speaks (1) of the election of individuals to
office or to honour and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul,
David, Solomon, were all chosen by God for the positions they
held; so also were the apostles. (2) There is also an election
of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews (Deut. 7:6;
Rom. 9:4). (3) But in addition there is an election of
individuals to eternal life (2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet.
1:2; John 13:18).
The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure
of God (Eph. 1:5, 11; Matt. 11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God
claims the right so to do (Rom. 9:16, 21).
It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of
soverign grace (Rom. 11:4-6; Eph. 1:3-6). All that pertain to
salvation, the means (Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13) as well as the
end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:5,
10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises
of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God's work, a "new
Men are elected "to salvation," "to the adoption of sons," "to
be holy and without blame before him in love" (2 Thess. 2:13;
Gal. 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:4). The ultimate end of election is the
praise of God's grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). (See PREDESTINATION
Son of God
The plural, "sons of God," is used (Gen. 6:2, 4) to denote the
pious descendants of Seth. In Job 1:6; 38:7 this name is applied
to the angels. Hosea uses the phrase (1:10) to designate the
gracious relation in which men stand to God.
In the New Testament this phrase frequently denotes the
relation into which we are brought to God by adoption (Rom.
8:14, 19; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 4:5, 6; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2).
It occurs thirty-seven times in the New Testament as the
distinctive title of our Saviour. He does not bear this title in
consequence of his miraculous birth, nor of his incarnation, his
resurrection, and exaltation to the Father's right hand. This is
a title of nature and not of office. The sonship of Christ
denotes his equality with the Father. To call Christ the Son of
God is to assert his true and proper divinity. The second Person
of the Trinity, because of his eternal relation to the first
Person, is the Son of God. He is the Son of God as to his divine
nature, while as to his human nature he is the Son of David
(Rom. 1:3, 4. Comp. Gal. 4:4; John 1:1-14; 5:18-25; 10:30-38,
which prove that Christ was the Son of God before his
incarnation, and that his claim to this title is a claim of
equality with God).
When used with reference to creatures, whether men or angels,
this word is always in the plural. In the singular it is always
used of the second Person of the Trinity, with the single
exception of Luke 3:38, where it is used of Adam.