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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XXXIV. Ques. What is adoption?
Ans.
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.

Q. 1. How many ways may we be said to be the children of God?
A. We are the children of God 1. By regeneration. 2. By adoption, whereby we differ, (1.) From Christ, who is God's Son by eternal generation; (2.) From the angels, who are God's sons by creation.

Q. 2. What is it for men to adopt children?
A. Men adopt children, when they take strangers, or such as are none of their own children, into their families, and account them their children; and accordingly do take care for them as if they were their own.

Q. 3. What is it for God to adopt children?
A. God doth adopt children, when he taketh them which are strangers, and by nature children of wrath, into his family, and receiveth them into the number, and giveth them a right to all the privileges of the sons and daughters of God. "And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." Eph. 2:3, 19. "And I will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor. 6:18.

Q. 4. Is there any motive in any of the children of men, to induce God to adopt them, as there is in those that are adopted by men?
A. There is neither beauty, nor any lovely qualification, nor anything in the least, to move and incline God to adopt any whom he doth adopt, but it is an act only of his free grace and love. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." 1 John 3:4.

Q. 5. Are all the children of men the adopted children of God?
A. No; only such persons are adopted as do believe in Christ. "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. "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ." Gal. 3:26.

Q. 6. What are those privileges which the adopted children of God have a right unto?
A. The privileges which the adopted children of God have a right unto are 1. God's fatherly protection of them from temporal and spiritual evils. "The Lord shall preserve them from all evil." Ps. 121:7. 2. God's fatherly provision of all needful things, both for their soul and body. "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Ps. 34:10. 3. God's fatherly correction of them. "For whom he loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Heb. 12:6. 4. God's audience and return to their prayers. "And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he heareth us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we desired of him." 1 John 5:14, 15. 5. A sure title to the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." Rom. 8:17.

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