I’ve posted before on the doctrine of adoption and need reminding of C.J. Mahaney’s advice on this matter:
If you are a Christian and you are not convinced of God’s love for you then I would recommend you confine yourself to this topic. Confine yourself to your study to this passage and other passages that reference adoption. Confine yourself for a season of time to the study of the doctrine of adoption.
Thomas Watson has listed the “twelve rare privileges which belong to the children of God.” I’ve found that it’s worth spending some time meditating on these:
1 If we are children, then God will be full of tender love and affection towards us.
2 The second adoptional privilege is this if we are children then God will bear with many infirmities. A father bears much with a child he loves.
3 The third privilege is this – if we are children then God will accept of our imperfect services. A parent takes anything in good part from his child. God accepts of the will for the deed (2 Corinthians 8: 12).
4 If we are children then God will provide for us. A father will take care for his children. He gives them allowance and lays up a portion (2 Corinthians 12: 14). So does our heavenly Father.
5 If we are children then God will shield off dangers from us. A father will protect his child from injuries. God ever lies sentinel to keep off evil from his children temporal evil; spiritual evil.
6 If we are children then God will reveal to us the great and wonderful things of his law. ‘I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes’ (Matthew 11:25).
7 If we are children this gives us boldness in prayer. The child goes with confidence to his father, and he cannot find in his heart to deny him: ‘How much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him!’ (Luke 11: 13).
8 If we are children, then we are in a state of freedom. …the children of God, though they are not free from the in-being of sin, yet they are freed from the law of sin.
9 If we are children then we are heirs apparent to all the promises.
10 If we are children, then we shall have our Father’s blessing. ‘They are the seed which the Lord has blessed’ (Isaiah 61:9).
11 If we are children, then all things that fall out shall turn to our good. ‘All things work together for good to them that love God’ (Romans 8: 28): good things; evil things.
12 And lastly, if we are children we shall never finally perish (John 5: 24; 10: 28). Those who are adopted are out of the power of damnation. ‘There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ’ (Romans 8: 1). Will a father condemn his own son? God will never disinherit any of his children…
Because this is so sweet a privilege, and the life of a Christian’s comfort lies in it, therefore I shall clear it by arguments that the children of God cannot finally perish. The entail of hell and damnation is cut off. Not but that the best of God’s children have that guilt which deserves hell, but Christ is the friend at court which has begged their pardon. Therefore the damning power of sin is taken away, which I prove thus:
The children of God cannot finally perish, because God’s justice is satisfied for their sins. The blood of Christ is the price paid not only meritoriously, but efficaciously for all them that believe.
I love the way Watson finishes with the cross, which makes adoption as God’s children possible in the first place.