Adoption in the Bible

Adoption is a changed position; it admits the gentile into the family of God. The born-again, believing child of God (born again spirit and saved soul) is taken out of the world system under the devil and placed in Jesus Christ as one of God’s sons. In adoption, the child receives the position of an adult son. Adoption includes “growing up in Christ” and occupying a new position.

What are the Bible verses about adoption?

Galatians 4:5 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

Galatians 4:7 “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Meaning of Adoption

Adoption is a Greek word that means ‘the placing of a son.’ The word ‘Abba’ is an Old Testament Jewish word.

Romans 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.”

Ephesians 2:12 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

Predestination never has anything to do with salvation. Predestination has to do with the confirmation of the believer to Jesus Christ’s image (Romans 8:29) and adopting the believer into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5). Predestination never refers to the act of receiving Christ. Predestination only applies to a man who has already received God’s son Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:5 “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

In Biblical times, the word ‘adoption’ had a two-fold meaning:

  1. The private act of receiving a stranger into the family as their own son.
  2. A public, legal ceremony (act) of the adoptive parents recognizing the son as the heir.

Until the ceremony was performed, the child differed little from the servants of the home. The word ‘adoption’ deals not with a Christian’s relationship to God but their position before Him.

Adoption is an act of God whereby He accepts the justified believer as an adult son who can enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of a son of God.

Condition Of Adoption in the Bible

There is only one condition: A person must be in union with Lord Jesus Christ.

This cannot be accomplished until the sinner received Jesus Christ and is born again and placed in Christ by the Holy Spirit. One does not have to wait until they have been a saint for 1 or 10 years. Immediately upon being saved, Christians enter into the blessings full recognition as God’s heirs and God the Father accepts this person in His family.

Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Time Of Adoption

1) The Lord determined before the foundation of the world to adopt every person who got into Jesus Christ

Romans 9:11 “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”

No man was ever predestinated to receive Christ. Every man who was ever chosen (Romans 9:11, Ephesians 1:5) was in Christ.

How does a person get in Christ? They do not get in Christ until they received Him as their personal Savior. When they receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they are placed in Christ. From that moment on, their destination was fixed because God predestinated them to ‘the adoption of sons’ in Christ.

2) Adoption is a gracious act on the part of God entirely of mercy for the believer in Christ

It occurs at the moment that one believes in Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Sonship is a present possession. Christians can truthfully say, ‘I am a child of the King.’ They are not merely children under maids and tutors but adult members of the family.

3) The Christian’s adoption will be completed at the resurrection when they enter into His presence

Romans 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Often in this world, we are not recognized as ‘sons of God’ because we are still sinful. But on that day when Christ comes and redeems the Christians’ bodies, they’ll occupy their rightful position. They’ll ‘come of age.’

In the meantime, they may be considered the ‘offscouring’ of society, but someday Christians will throw off their disguise (this body) and put on the new body and be ‘made manifest.’

Sign Of Adoption in the Bible

1) To be led by the Holy Spirit

Romans 8:14 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

2) Guidance by the Holy Spirit is always in connection with the word

Guidance is never outside the word of God. Guidance by the Holy Spirit is the pathway to sonship and proof of sonship.

3) The Holy Spirit guides the believer into the truth of God from the word of God

The word of God is the standard of truth. So if they don’t have the word of God, the Holy Spirit cannot ‘guide them’ anywhere.

John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

The Cry Of Adoption

The cry of adoption, ‘Abba, Father’ shows that a believer has come from a Gentile family into a Jewish family.

‘Abba’ is a Hebrew word for father. Calling God “father” means that a believe is now in God’s family. God is our heavenly father.

Romans 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.”

Galatians 4:16 “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Mark 14:36 “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”

Ephesians 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”

Ephesians 2:11-12 “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

Blessings Of Adoption

1) The man who is adopted becomes the object of God’s love

There is an intimate love relationship for the Father and Son, which is manifest between God and the believer, that is not manifest between God and the unsaved man.

John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

God does not love unsaved people the same way He loves His people. Notice in the following verse, God so loved.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

All the love that God had for this world showed up at Calvary where Christ died. Since then, Christ is in His high priestly prayer, for He prayed John 17:9.

Talking about an intimate relationship that exists between Christ and His body, which also shows God’s heart towards saved Christians:

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

The child of God becomes the object of God’s peculiar love. There is an intimate love relationship. It’s not like the Lord and the unsaved man at all.

2) The born-again child of God becomes the object of the Father’s fatherly care

Luke 12:27-33 “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”

The Father looks after a saved person’s livelihood as to what he will eat, wear, his occupation, and health after their adoption as sons.

3) God’s children have a family name. They are called ‘the sons of God.’

1 John 3:1 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”

4) The sons of God have a family likeness.

They are going to be confirmed to the image of Christ.

Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

5) The child of God has a family love

1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”

6) The child of God has a filial spirit, a spirit of sonship

Romans 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.”

7) The child of God is in a family gathering

John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

8) The children of God received fatherly chastisement which proves that they are true children of God

Hebrews 12:5-11 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

The reason behind God’s chastening of a child of God and an unsaved person is entirely different. God chastens an unsaved man to show them that they need to trust Him and repent and turn away from their sins. It has nothing to do with chastening them so that they can appreciate heaven more or to be humble or to bear fruit or to sympathize with other sufferers or show that His power is ‘sufficient’ or that His promises are true.

9) They receive fatherly comfort

2 Corinthians 1:4 “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

10) They receive the Father’s inheritance

The adopted children of God are called fellow heirs, a holy habitation in heaven, along with other inheritance in heaven.

1 Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”

Responsibility Of Adoption

Members of the royal family of heaven must behave like ‘children of the King.’

They are to walk worthy of this high calling in keeping with their position.

They are to love and serve one another as brothers and sisters in the same family.

They are to love each other, and above all, they are to love their Father and love their Father’s words.


Other terminology similar to Adoption in the Bible


Regeneration refers to a changed nature. A new life begins in the soul when a man is born again by the Holy Spirit. The soul has not been born again, but the spirit has been born again. Through regeneration, the believer becomes a child of God.

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”


Justification refers to a changed standing. It deals with God’s new attitude towards the soul. A sinner is declared righteous before God on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ.


Sanctification refers to a changed character. This is a certain amount of reform and cleaning up and separation from sin which is only possible, following regeneration.