Adoption and Saving Faith (Discipleship Training)
Or, read my introductory post on discipleship training here.
Adoption and Saving Faith: In the previous section, we looked at the glorious doctrine of justification. In justification, God forgives our sins and counts us righteous by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone.
In this section, we will look at an additional benefit of our salvation: adoption. Not only are we counted righteous in Christ (a legal declaration), but we are also adopted as God’s children through Christ (a relational declaration). When Christ came into the world, he became our brother. As our brother, he reconciled us to his Father, making us the children of God along with him.
Furthermore, we will also study more closely the nature of saving faith. Even demons believe in some sense, although they shudder about what they know (Jas. 2:19). If God requires faith for salvation, what constitutes true, saving faith?
To understand the free grace of God toward sinners by their adoption into the family of God, and to understand the nature of true, saving faith.
Read and discuss:
- John 1:12: God gives us the right to become his children by receiving Jesus through faith
- Romans 8:14–17: The classic statement on our adoptions as sons of God, especially that we stand to gain an inheritance with Christ
- Galatians 3:11: The righteous shall live by their faith
- Ephesians 1:5: God predestined us for adoption as sons
- Philippians 3:9: Righteousness comes through faith
- James 2:14–26: People are justified (declared righteous) by faith, and faith is justified (proven to be genuine) by deeds
Read and discuss:
- Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. 12, 14
- Westminster Larger Catechism #72–74
- Westminster Shorter Catechism #34
- What do we gain by adoption? What would we be missing without adoption? (WCF 12.1; WLC #74)
- What is saving, justifying faith? (WLC #72)
- On what basis does faith justify sinners in God’s sight? Is faith a good work? If not, why is faith so important? (WLC #73)
- How does God work saving faith in the heart of his people? (WCF 14.1)
- What are the various ways that faith can act? (WCF 14.2)
- How would you comfort someone who believes that his or her faith is weak? (WCF 14.3)
- Consider what it means to call God your Father. Do you relate to him as Father? Why or why not? What is one practical way you might grow in relating to God as Father this week?
- Evaluate the ways that your faith relates to the various parts of God’s word (WCF 14.2). Do you yield obedience to the commands, tremble at the threatenings, and embrace the promises of God? Most importantly, do you accept, receive, and rest upon Christ alone for your salvation? Ask God to grow your faith in these areas.
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