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Mar 6

Session 8 Recap: Taylor, “The Great Adoption to Come: The Public Unveiling of Our Identity in Christ” — Romans 8:18–25

2016 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 16

Editor’s Note: Scott Pilgreen is a lay leader and biblical counselor at Desert Springs Church in Albuquerque, NM. This post is a summary of Justin Taylor’s message from Sunday morning at Clarus, March 6, “The Great Adoption to Come: The Public Unveiling of Our Identity in Christ,” from Romans 8:18–25.

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In his book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer says: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of…” We might think that Packer would finish his sentence with how much he makes of the Bible, justification by faith alone, atonement, etc. But Packer finishes that statement by saying, “…the thought about being God’s child and having God as his Father.” Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our understanding of adoption.

With an understanding of the overall theme of Romans as, “The righteousness of God as revealed in the saving work of Christ on the cross,” Justin Taylor showed how this theme specifically understood in Chapter 8 through the doctrine of adoption.

The Apostle Paul, contrasts those who do not know the Lord against those now that they know Him. In 8:14-17, Paul introduces a new concept that those who believe in Jesus Christ have gone from death to life and are now called sons of God. Justin then asked the question, “What does it mean to truly be a son of God?” We begin to grasp the answer by understanding that Adam was the original son of God, but because of his sin, he forfeited his sonship and became a slave to sin. We, like Adam, have forfeited our status as sons of God because of our sin. However, John1:12 says we become children of God when we believe on His name and receive Him.

In verse 15, Paul then contrasts the spirit of slavery with the Holy Spirit by showing us that we are no longer slaves that fall back into fear, but we have been given the Holy Spirit who adopts us as sons. We are then able to cry out ‘Abba! Father!’ Russell Moore, in his book Adopted for Life, gives an incredible account of he and his wife traveling to Russia to visit their soon-to-be adopted boys. When infants are not being attended to and no one is hearing their cries, they stop crying. But when they realize that someone cares for them, and they cannot be removed from or rescued from their present circumstances, they let out primal and guttural cries for help.

Justin then asked, “How does it work for us to believe in the invisible Abba, Father, especially when there is an Accuser speaking lies to us? How do we know for sure that we have a Father?” The answer is found in 8:16. According to Scripture and the Apostle Paul, the Spirit bears witness with our spirit to our Holy God. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is powerful and sure, and he bears witness that we are God’s sons.

Paul ends Romans 8 with a series of rhetorical question in order to interrogate our unbelief and our preoccupation with this present age. If we are in Christ, Romans 8:31-39 is for us and about us! We have been changed and resurrected, spiritually raised and adopted, but we live in the age of groaning. There is a physical resurrection coming when God alone gets the glory as He brings His sons and daughters home.