Question: Believers are spoken of as being “adopted” into God’s Family, but the Bible also speaks of believers being born of God. I don’t understand how a person can become a member of a family by birth and adoption. Can you give me any insight?
Response: The terms are not contradictory but are in fact “complementary.” That is, they speak of aspects of a believer’s salvation. Adoption is commonly defined as “‘the act of leaving one’s natural family and entering into the privileges and responsibilities of another.’ In the Bible, adoption is one of several family-related terms used to describe the process of salvation and its subsequent benefits. God is a father who graciously adopts believers in Christ into His spiritual family and grants them all the privileges of heirship. Salvation is much more than forgiveness of sins and deliverance from condemnation; it is also a position of great blessing. Believers are children of God” (Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Adoption).
So, “adoption” speaks of the “positional” status of the believer who is “adopted” into the Family of God.” Yet, the adoption isn’t all that happens to a believer. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John:3:3). And, 2 Corinthians:5:17 tells us that, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
In other words, when we experience the “new birth,” we are “fitted” to enter the family to which we, in the grace of God, are adopted into. We are by grace “forgiven” and “delivered from condemnation.” We are a “new creation,” created to be part of the Family of God.