Chapter 12, Part Two

All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth [or graciously grants], in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption:  by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have His name put upon them, receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness; are enabled to cry, Abba, Father; are pitied, protected, provided for,  and chastened by Him as by a Father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation.

The uniqueness of adoption

Every gift from God is a wonder of grace, but many Christians feel this gift of adoption into God's family most keenly, and treasure it most deeply. Admittedly, there are few greater joys than knowing that one is justified before God, to hear the verdict that we are forgiven and as righteous in the sight of our judge as any man could ever be. Likewise, it is a great thing to be sanctified. To know that the Great Physician is at work, to know that our wounds are healing, the disease is leaving, the mortal illness of sin is mortal no longer. But neither of these pieces of news is fully realized and enjoyed outside the context of adoption.

You see, there is a very different sort of happiness that we can find in a family, than what we find in the courtroom or doctor's office. Those who have been blessed with good parents can testify that there is a qualitative difference between leaving the judge and courtroom without fear, and going home to a father with great joy. There is really nothing like being a child of God, and enjoying all the liberties and privileges of God's own family. What a freedom it is to be able to address God as our Father, even though he is in heaven, and we on earth. What a privilege it is to have brothers and sisters in every corner of the globe. What an honour it is to even have the power to be joint heirs with God's own Son (Rom. 8:17; John 1:12).

Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn is the associate pastor of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia. He is the editor of The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643-1653.