The Spirit of Adoption


For you have not received a spirit of slavery that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba Father”. Romans 8:15

To properly understand Paul’s statement here, it must not be considered independent of its context, but in relation to all that Paul has disclosed in chapters 6&7 with regard to our identification with Christ in the light of His sacrifice and the effect or out-working of the redemption both in our bodies and in our nature; and very specifically in regard to verse 8:12, “Consequently, brothers, we are not – with respect to human nature, that is – under an obligation to live according to human nature.” (ISV)

By this we understand that we are no longer “debtors to the flesh to live according to the flesh.”

Romans 6:12 Says that we are not to “let sin reign in our mortal bodies that we should obey it in its evil desires.”

We once (rightfully and necessarily) lived in fear of God’s wrath because of sin and our bondage to the sinful desires associated with our human nature, but now, having been set free from sin, we became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:18

We are now no longer under the control of our corrupt human nature, but under the control of the Spirit (of adoption).

The creation, by design, was not created for the futility brought about by man’s corruption, but for fruitfulness.

According to our text, the Lord subjected all creation to futility on account of man’s sin – not because of anything that it (the creation) did, but as a result of the corruptive influence of man’s rebellion to God’s ways and commands.

But God did this according to the certainty that the creation itself would also be set free from corruption’s bondage in order to share the glorious freedom of God’s children that we presently possess. We apprehend the reality of this by the “would also” here in verse 21.

The creation itself will ultimately share in the freedom that we have received from God, and all according to His goodness and grace which He purposed in Christ from before the foundation of the earth, both for His glory and our glorification. “It was for liberty that Christ has made us free.”

God has established all of creation in such a way that it responds to the presence of the corruption that it was not intended for. The creation, by design, was not created for the futility brought about by man’s corruption, but for fruitfulness.

Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.” Gen 3:17

It was an act of mercy that God cursed the ground “for Adam’s sake”, the fruitfulness of which could only be restored through sacrifice and redemption – and for us, “cursed is every man who hangs on a tree.”

Therefore, as we see in vs 22, that the creation, now under the curse has been “groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. However, not only the creation, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit also groan inwardly as we await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” 8:23

So then, even though we have received the “Spirit of adoption”; – though we have been “claimed” by God as His own children, we are in a very real sense still in the orphanage (the world) awaiting the redemption of our bodies at His appearing.

So, what does this adoption mean for us?

Very soon, our Father will come for His children. This is the “glorious hope” of Titus 2:12 for which we eagerly wait; the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him. (2 Thess 2:1)


Heavenly Father, we thank You for the grace of God that brings salvation! We thank You today that it was for liberty that Christ has made us free!

According to this grace that You have so freely given at so great a cost, let us therefore walk today in the glorious liberty of the children of God as we eagerly await the time when we will see You face to face. Amen.

4 Responses to “The Spirit of Adoption”

  1. Mary R Hare Says:

    Awesome!! My spirit bears witness with this whole article !

  2. Hallelujah for that day! Love the picture!

    • Amen! A glorious day it will be! Between that day and now, may the Lord so enable us to bring many along with us. Yes, the picture spoke to me not only of the adoption, but of the kindness and tenderness of the Lord toward us in our frailty, and our utter dependency on Him. Thanks for your comment.

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