Clarence E. Mason's "Soteriology"
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- THE WORDS
All associated words are NT words, since the doctrine is only a NT doctrine.
- Teknon - from tikto, meaning
"to bear, to give birth to," conveying the idea of birth relationship.
In John 1:12 the word "sons" should be translated "children."
Teknon is used to denote little children who are under the authority of
parents, tutors, and governors (Jn. 13:33; Gal. 4:25, 27-28, 31). See
New Scofield Bible notes at Galatians 4 and at Exodus 19 for distinctions
between teknon and huios.
- Huios - meaning "a son"
(Gal. 3:26; etc.)
- Huiothesia - from huios,
meaning "son," and thesia (a form of the verb tithemi), meaning
"to place," forming a compound word which means "to place
as a son" (Rom. 8:15,23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).
- THE USAGE OF THE WORD HUIOTHESIA
In Gal. 4:1 and 3 we have the word "child" (nepios), meaning "a
minor." The minor was held under tutors or guardians or pedagogues. But
at the age designated, he was brought in as "a son." Some say the
age was 16; others say when the boy reached manhood. A ceremony was held when
the toga virilis was placed upon the boy, which identified him now as the
father's son. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. Ill, p. 91.
Mr. Merivale, illustrating Paul's acquaintance with Roman law, says: "The
process of legal adoption by which the chosen heir became entitled, not only
to the reversion of the properly, but to the civil status, to the burdens
as well as the rights of 'the adopter,' became, as it were, his other self,
one with him ... this too is a Roman principle, peculiar at this time to the
Romans; unknown, I believe, to the Greeks (ed. note: he is wrong; it was known
to the Greeks); unknown, to all appearance, to the Jews, as it certainly is
not found in the legislation of Moses, nor mentioned anywhere as a usage among
the children of the covenant. We have but a faint conception of the force
with which such an illustration would speak to one familiar with the Roman
practice; how it would serve to impress upon him the assurance that the 'adopted
son' of God becomes, in a peculiar and intimate sense, one with the heavenly
Conversion of the Roman Empire
THUS, ADOPTION, AS TAUGHT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, IS A WORD OF POSITION RATHER
THAN A WORD OF RELATIONSHIP.
- THE TIME OF "ADOPTION"
- It is eternal (Eph. 1:4-5).
In. the purpose of God the believer was 'adopted' before the foundation
of the world, but it took place when we believed. Also, historically,
it was made possible by the incarnation and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
- When we believe, we become
the "sons" of God.
Galatians 3:26 ASV: "For ye are all sons of God, through faith in
Christ Jesus." Sonship is the present possession of the believer.
It is possible to believe and become an adult son in the household of
God and never know it.
At the moment of regeneration the believer is advanced in relationship
and responsibility to the position of an adult son. All childhood and
adolescent years, which are normal in human experience, are EXCLUDED in
spiritual sonship, and the newly born believer (child of God) is at once
in possession of freedom from tutors and governors, who symbolize the
law principle, and is responsible to live the full-orbed spiritual life
of an adult son in the Father's household. The "babe" of 1 Corinthians
3:1 is positionally "a son," and the use of "babe"
in that context is emphasizing the unfortunate fact of their spiritual
immaturity due to carnality.
- Pull appreciation of all
that "adoption" means must await the future. Romans 8:23 indicates
that "adoption" will be complete only when we are like Christ
at His coming.
- THE BLESSINGS OF "ADOPTION"
- We are the objects of God's
care (Lk. 12:27-33).
- We are the objects of God's
special care (Jn. 17:20-23).
- We are in God's family and
are called by His name (1 Jn. 3:1; Eph. 3:14-15).
- We have the family love (Jn.
13:35; 1 Jn. 3:14).
- We have a filial spirit (Rom.
8:15; Gal. 4:6).
- We receive fatherly chastisement
- We receive fatherly comfort
(Isa. 66:13; 2 Cor. 1:4).
- We shall receive an inheritance
(1 Pet. 1:3-5).
- THE EVIDENCES OF "ADOPTION"
- We are led by the Spirit
(Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18).
- We have liberty of access
into the presence of God (Eph. 3:12).
- Our obedience to the commands
of God is characteristic (1 Jn. 5:1-3).
- THE DEFINITION OF "ADOPTION"
"Adoption" is the act of God whereby children of God, redeemed by
Christ, are made "adult sons," whose full manifestation as such
awaits the resurrection.
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