Topic Study: Adoption

(December 2002.  TG Entry: Adoption, BD Adoption)

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This topic can be inserted in the middle of a talk on Abrahamic Covenant: Adoption


We are “adopted” into the family of God in two ways:  (1) As members of the House of Israel, and (2) As children of Christ.  God used the law of adoption to explain to Israel the importance of being righteous; that birthright did not guarantee salvation.  It also pointed the way to adoption by the Savior as Sons and Daughters of God after the coming of Christ in the flesh.

I             Abrahamic Covenant

Paul explained the doctrine of adoption this way in his epistle to the Romans.

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

Rom. 9:4

The “Israelites” have a right to the promises made to Abraham, either as children, or through adoption.  But who are the “Israelites”?

6  ….  For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:….

Rom. 9:6 – 7

It isn’t necessarily those that are just children.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Rom. 9:17 – 18

Even Pharaoh, the archenemy of Israel, was “raised up” by the Lord for some righteous purpose.  If that is so, then who are these children?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Rom. 9:21 – 24

The Lord made everyone.  He has the right to create and destroy.  Why can he not call a Gentile if he so chooses?

30 What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32 Wherefore?  Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.  For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Rom. 9:30 – 33

The “children” of the covenant are those that work righteousness, and are acceptable to God.  They become such by adoption.  The Bible dictionary states:

Adoption. There are two types of adoption spoken of in the scriptures.  A person who is of non-Israelite lineage becomes a member of the house of Israel through faith in Jesus Christ when it is accompanied by baptism in water and the reception of the Holy Ghost.

BD Adoption

II            Son and Daughter of God

Paul makes it plain, in Romans Chapter 8, that when we accept the Gospel and live by it’s teaching, we are called out of the “family” that we have lived in, into the new “spiritual” family, as children of God.

1 THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom. 8:1

8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Rom. 8:8 – 10

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

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.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Rom. 8:14 – 17

  • Rom. 8:23 waiting for the a., … the redemption

The Bible Dictionary makes this plain.

In addition, all candidates for the fulness of salvation are accounted as sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, being his children by obedience to the gospel (Mosiah 5:7–8).

BD Adoption

III           Inheritance

Why are we concerned with being adopted?  Because through adoption, we are heirs of Abraham, and the promises God made to him.  We are joint heirs with Christ, and, if worthy, may receive all that Christ has been promised.

IV          Physical Changes

But what are the immediate blessings of this adoption?  It is clear from the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood that his adoption is not some esoteric, purely spiritual adoption.  It affects our bodies, affects them in some physical way, changing who and what we are.

33 For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

D&C 84:33


Only by adoption, both into the house of Israel as the offspring of Abraham, and as Sons and Daughters of God can we hope for exaltation.

Other References

  • Eph. 1:5 predestinated us unto the a. of children.

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