Spiritual adoption is a big deal for the practical theology of J. I. Packer.
In Knowing God J. I. Packer writes:
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father.
If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.
He says that if he were to focus the New Testament message in three words, he would choose
adoption through propitiation.
“I do not expect,” he writes, “ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”
How would Packer summarize the whole of New Testament teaching?
a revelation of the Fatherhood of the holy Creator.
He summarizes the whole of New Testament religion as
the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father.
Everything that Christ taught,
everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old,
everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish,
is summed up in
the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God.
Packer says that each of us should ask ourselves the following questions:
Do I, as a Christian, understand myself?
Do I know my own real identity?
My own real destiny?
Calling this “the Christian’s secret of a Christian life and of a God-honoring life,” he says that we should take the following truths and “Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as your wait for the bus, any time your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true.”
- I am a child of God.
- God is my Father.
- Heaven is my home.
- Every day is one day nearer.
- My Savior is my brother.
- Every Christian is my brother too.
If you haven’t read Packer’s chapter on adoption in Knowing God, I highly recommend it.