, , ,

Dr. Webb on the glory and importance of adoption as article of the Christian faith:

The conception of God as Father is the most charming and transporting thought which ever enters into the bosom of man; and the correlative conception of himself as the son of God is the most soothing and satisfying thought which a sinner ever finds himself indulging concerning himself. Philip said to the Lord, “Show us the Father and it sufficeth us” (John xiv. 8). It would satisfy Philip, it would satisfy anyman, if he could grasp in his consciousness and realize in experience that God was his Father. When we approach Him in the intensity of worship, we gather up all the sweetness involved in fatherhood, and all the tenderness wrapped in sonship; when calamities overcome us, and troubles come in like a flood, we lift up our cry and stretch out our arms t God as a compassionate Father; when the angel of death climbs in at the window of our homes, and bears away the object of our love, we find our dearest solace in reflecting upon the fatherly heart of God; when we look across the swelling flood, it is our Father’s house on the light-covered hills beyond the starts which cheers us amid the crumbling of the earthly tabernacle. The paternity of God, the filiation of believers, the fraternity of all saints, the household of faith, the family of God in heaven and earth, make a circle of domestic ideas, which the Christian values above all the gold of Egypt, above all the gold of the world. But it is by the grace of adoption that any sinner comes into all this glorious heritage of paternal affection and filial privilege. To bring back man as  disobedient subject, and reinstate him in heavenly citizenship, and confer upon the immunities and duties of a servant, and let him take his place as a ministering spirit about the burning throne of God—this would be an exhibition of grace worthy of immortal doxologies; but grace is heaped upon grace, and mercy is banked upon mercy, and love is laid over upon love with more than a ten-fold thickness, when the sinner is reclaimed and transplanted in the bosom of the heavenly Father, made an inmate in the eternal and fadeless home of God, and appointed an heir to all that glory which is incorruptible, undefiled and that fades not away. One would seem compelled to say, as a matter of course, adoption ought to be singled out, and given conspicuous consideration in any system of evangelical truth.


Robert Alexander Webb, D.D., LLD., The Reformed Doctrine of Adoption (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1947), 19-20.