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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 34. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God's free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges, of the sons of God.

1. Are all believers God's children? Yes: ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:26. Are they so by nature? No: We are by nature children of wrath, Eph. 2:3. Are they so by adoption? Yes: we receive the adoption of sons, Gal. 4:5. Do they deserve to be made God's children? No: how shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land? Jer. 3:19. Are they altogether unworthy of such a favour? Yes: I am no more worthy to be called thy son, Luke 15:19. Is it bestowed upon them notwithstanding their unworthiness? Yes: I will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty, 2 Cor. 6:18.

2. Is adoption an act of God's free grace? Yes: behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God, 1 John 3:1. Are we by it received into the number of God's children? Yes: there shall they he called the children of the living God, Rom. 9:26, Are we received into that number upon our believing? Yes: As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, John. 1:12.

3. Have we leave to call God, Father? Yes: Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father, Rom. 8:15. Does he encourage us to do so? Yes: Thou shalt call me, My Father, and shalt not turn away from me, Jer. 3:19. May we call him so, though we have been prodigals? Yes: I will go to my Father, and will say unto him, Father, Luke 15:18. May we look upon all good Christians as our brethren? Yes: For all ye are brethren, Matt. 23:8. And do they all make one family? Yes: Of whom the whole family both in heaven and earth is named, Eph. 3:15.

Does God give the nature of his children to all whom he receives into the number? Yes: because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, Gal. 4:6. Do they partake of a divine nature? Yes: they are made partakers of a divine nature, 2 Pet. 1:4. Are all God's children born again then? Yes: they are born not of the will of man, but of God, John 1:13. Is our adoption then to be known by our disposition? Yes: for in this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil, whosoever doth not righteousness is not of God, 1 John 3:10.

5. Have all God's adopted children a right to the privileges of children? Yes: they are brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, Rom. 8:21. Does their Father pity them? Yes: like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him, Ps. 103:13. Does he spare them? Yes: as a man spares his own son that serves him, Mal. 3:17. Does he take care of them? Yes: Children, have ye any meat, John 21:15. Does he provide for them? Yes: for they that seek the Lord shall want no good thing, Ps. 34:10. Does he correct them in love? Yes: for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? Heb. 12:7. Does he hear their prayers? Yes: your Father in heaven will give good things to them that ask him, Matt. 7:11. Will he give them the inheritance of sons? Yes: It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom, Luke 12:32. Will he bring them all safe to it? Yes: he will gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad, John 11:52. Will Christ present them all to the Father? Yes: Behold, I and the children which thou hast given me, Heb. 2:13.

6. Must all God's children reverence him? Yes: If I be a Father, where is my honour? Mal. 1:6. Must they obey him? Yes: as obedient children, 1 Pet. 1:14. Must they imitate him? Yes: be ye followers of God, as dear children, Eph. 5:1. Must they submit to him Yes: Father, thy will be done, Matt. 26:42.

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