THE GENERAL NATURE OF N.T. "ADOPTION"
It is a declarative act of God wherein He places the believer in the legal position of a Son, with full possession of the rights of his inheritance in Christ. (cf. meaning of term under previous article)
It is based on the Redemptive work of Christ (Gal. 4:5). This Redemption satisfied all the legal requirements of such an act; freed us from the bondage of the Law. "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
It is received by faith on man's part (Gal. 3:26 A.S.V.). It is not a second blessing, but is ours when we believe on Christ. "For ye are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
It is bestowed by Divine Sovereignty on God's part (Eph. 1:5 A.S.V.). We enter the Father's house and family as sons, and find our place there has been marked out from all eternity. It represents an expression of the eternal impulse of Divine Fatherhood. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."
Its ultimate purpose is the exhibition of the Glory of God's Grace (Eph. 1:6 ASV). In sinners made sons, there will be displayed throughout eternity what the Grace of God can do. "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved."
Adoption is a distinctively N.T. blessing. It could not be given until Christ died - Gal. 4:4-5. Before the Cross, the saved were Justified by God, but not placed as sons of God. "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law," "To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
Question: Did the O.T. Saints receive the blessing of Adoption after the Resurrection? Are they denied Sonship because they lived before the Cross? The effect of Sonship is freedom from bondage of fear (Rom. 8:15). "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."
Heb. 2:14-15 is suggestive at least. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;" "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. 11:39-40 "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:" "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."Heb. 12:23 "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,"
Perfection could not be reached through the law (Heb. 7:19) so the NT brings about the possibility of what God desires and demands and spoken in Matt. 5:48. A new man can come to finally be perfect as his Master (Luke 6:40) as He promised and taught Peter at the last supper after having been washed in blood and thoroughly washed in the water of the word (John 13)