By Amos Binney and Daniel Steele
This is an act by which one takes another into his family, owns him for his son, and appoints him his heir.
In a theological sense, it is that act of God's free grace by which, upon our being justified and renewed through faith in Christ, we are received into the family of God, called his children, and made heirs to the heavenly inheritance. Eph. 1:3-14; I Pet. 1:2-5.
WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT.
It is the privilege and right of every such adopted child to have a certain knowledge of this his new relation to God, as the only foundation of truth, peace, comfort, and hope. Isa. 24: 3; 32:17-18; Ps. 119:165; Rom. 5:1-5; 8:1; Phil. 4:7; Eph. 1:3-14; I Thess. 1:4-5; I Pet. 1:2-9; I John 2:20, 27.
This blessing consists in the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the spirit of believers of their sonship and acceptance with God. I John 5:10. It is called the Spirit of adoption, Rom. 8:15-16; Gal. 4:6; the earnest and sealing of (108. What is adoption? In a theological sense? What is the witness of the Spirit? In what does it consist? What is it called?) the Spirit, II Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; and full assurance, Col. 2:2; I Thess. 1:5; Heb. 4:11; 10:22. This inward testimony is sometimes called the direct witness of the Spirit, as distinguished from the indirect, or outward testimony, called the fruit of the Spirit. Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:9.
The two kinds of witness must go together. The first as a safeguard against distressing doubt, and the second to keep from delusion and presumption. Isa. 26:3; Rom. 8:14.
This earnest and sealing of the Spirit implies absolute assurance of present salvation: for though this efficacy of the Spirit is, in itself, sufficient to insure eternal salvation, yet every believer is left free to retain or to so grieve this sealing Spirit, as to cause his withdrawal finally and forever. Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 3:7-19; 6:4-6; 10:26-29; II Pet. 2:20.