Justification, Regeneration, and Adoption



Who Am I - Casting Crowns (w/ lyrics)
Who Am I - Casting Crowns (w/ lyrics)


 Christianity 101
 Articles of Faith
Some of the material
in this lesson was adapted





Nazarene Website

Think back to when you became a Christian.  Can you remember your thoughts, feelings, and emotions during that experience?  Often times people are not really sure what happens in their conversion experience.  They understand that God has done a work in their lives, but don't comprehend all that has taken place. 
Article Nine conveys our understanding of what takes place in a person's life when he becomes a Christian.  We use three terms to describe this new relationship with God--justification, regeneration and adoption.

The first term listed in Article Nine is justification.  This term is often used in legal documents.  Legally, justification represents God's pardon and release from penalty.  (Romans 3:23-25) Because Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins we can be justified before God. Some people say, "It is just as if I had never done it". (Psalm 103:11-13)




Starting a New Life

Have you ever wished you could start life anew? When we are adopted into God's family we enter into a lifelong adventure in transformation. Or, as the apostle Paul puts it, we are new creations. (2 Corinthians 5:17Regeneration is like taking on a whole new identity.  We are no longer the same person.


Regeneration is an Ongoing Event

Sometimes people speak as though regeneration occurs only early in the life of faith.  They use the words "born again" and "regeneration" interchangeably as if they are both a one time event.  "The theology that informs the Church of the Nazarene, however, considers regeneration as an ongoing occurrence.  Although in some ways we become instantaneously new when we begin our adventure in faith, God continually offers new ways to experience the abundant life of regeneration." (Thomas Jay Oord, Articles of Faith--What Nazarenes Believe


Healing of an Open Wound

One way to understand regeneration is to compare it to the healing that takes place when we are injured.  Cells, skin, and other parts of our body regenerate as they heal restoring us back to health.  The regenerative process in the Christian's life affects many aspects of our lives.  We see distinctive changes take place--our judgement, our old habits, our sense of right and wrong, and how we choose to live life to the fullest. 



What is God's Perspective?

Have you ever known someone who wanted to adopt a child? The journey through the adoption process is often heart-wrenching and filled with a plethora of emotions--hope, despair, disappointment, joy, anticipation, pain. Yet when the adoption is final and the waiting period is complete a whole new world opens up. Life takes on a whole new perspective.


The video you are about to watch is very emotional. In it you will observe a moment in the life of adoptive parents. As you watch this video imagine what it is like when we are adopted into God's family. How does God feel about you being His child? How does is this scene similar to the one described in Luke 15:10 and 1 John 3:1?

Meeting Gelila
Meeting Gelila




Adoption is a Choice We Make

The process of adopting a child today differs somewhat from the biblical perspective.  Today we most often adopt babies.  Because of their age, these little ones have no real say in the process.  However, in ancient times adoption took place at an older age..  Young teens and young adults were offered the advantages of adoption and could choose to accept or reject it.  In choosing to be adopted they would have to agree to assume a new name and agree to cut ties to their other family. (Thomas Jay Oord, Articles of Faith--What Nazarenes Believe) The same is true when we accept our own adoption. As new Christians we start a new life and take on a new identity.


Welcome to the Family

One of the benifits of a right relationship with God is that we become part of a much larger family--the family of God. Indeed!  We are brothers and sisters in Christ.  The New Testament often refers to fellow Christians as being brothers and sisters. Romans 12:1


Loving Father

"Having wise and loving parents is a privilege many of us enjoy.  But even the wisest and most loving parents do not nurture children perfectly.  In fact, Perfect human parents do not exist.  To accept adoption by God, however, is to enter into a parent-child relationship of a different kind.  In God, we find the perfect love and wisdom of the perfect Parent." (Thomas Jay oord, Articles of Faith--What Nazarenes Believe) 

Can I Get a Witness?


When someone is adopted there is always an official witness.  Romans 8:16 says, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." When we are adopted into the family of God his Spirit lets our spirit know. People describe this affirmation in many ways.  For some it is an emotional experience.  For others it is simply an inner certainty.  Nevertheless, it is God's Holy Spirit that gives His endorsement and affirmation in our life. 


What does the Bible say?


Luke 18:14; John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; 5:24; Acts 13:39; Romans 1:17; 3:21-26, 28; 4:5-9, 17-25; 5:1, 16-19; 6:4; 7:6; 8:1, 15-17; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 2:16-21; 3:1-14, 26; 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:6-7; 2:1, 4-5; Philippians 3:3-9; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 1:9; 3:1-2, 9; 4:7; 5:1, 9-13, 18 


Article IX
Justification, Regeneration,
and Adoption

We believe that justification is the gracious and judicial act of God by which He grants full pardon of all guilt and complete release from the penalty of sins committed, and acceptance as righteous, to all who believe on Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior.

We believe that regeneration, or the new birth, is that gracious work of God whereby the moral nature of the repentant believer is spiritually quickened and given a distinctively spiritual life, capable of faith, love, and obedience.

We believe that adoption is that gracious act of God by which the justified and regenerated believer is constituted a son of God.

We believe that justification, regeneration, and adoption are simultaneous in the experience of seekers after God and are obtained upon the condition of faith, preceded by repentance; and that to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness. 


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