THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF SEPTEMBER IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.
A gracEmail subscriber asks why the New Testament speaks of the Christian as Gods child in two senses– by birth and also by adoption.
Any answer we give to the question why scripture-writers do something must be speculative unless the text involved states the motivation. Furthermore, New Testament language is often richly nuanced and involves several layers of meaning. This is in contrast to much popular evangelical teaching, which tends to be overly-simplistic and overly-literalistic.
The figures of birth children and of adopted children fit into particular contexts. Each metaphor emphasizes some specific truths to which the author wishes to call attention.The figure of birth-children stresses the supernatural origin of the relationship (John 1; 3) and the characteristics shared by parent and child (1 John).
The metaphor of adopted children stresses our legal status as adoptees, and the reality and timing of the details. For example, Gal. 4 speaks of a time when the heir has been named and formally recognized, but he has not yet been given his benefits. Romans 8:23, I believe, is speaking of the final result and the tangible reward of our adoption. At the end of the process, Gods fulfilled promises will all be fully seen–no longer will they be ours as a matter of faith as now.
LONDON CONFERENCE — The Third International Rethinking Hell Conference will soon b e here–this year in England! Full details at: rethinkinghell.com/2016