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Avyne wrote:

Hi, guys —

I hope that you can give me some assistance.

I was discussing Baptism with a member of our RCIA program, when we got talking on the statement:

"By baptism we become the adopted sons and daughters of God, and heirs with Christ."

He had a problem with the term "adopted". I said:

While we are God's creation, we are not his child, while separated from him by original sin. Baptism removes original sin. This sacrament along with the act of refusing Satan and following Jesus is what allows God to accept us as His children.

The other member said that they felt that everyone was a child of God, at all times: before and after Baptism, and didn't understand the use of the word adopted in this instance.

Perhaps I need to say something else or use some Scripture passages for the discussion.

  • Is what I said correct?

I told him I would do my best to get another opinion.

  • Can you assist me?

Avyne

  { Can you explain: — By baptism we become the adopted children of God, and heirs with Christ? }

John replied:

Hi, Avyne —

Thanks for the question. Let me share a few Scripture passages with you.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Romans 8:14-16

4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Galatians 4:4-7

4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.

Ephesians 1:4-7

All mankind is the crown jewel of God's creation. Every individual is a creation of God and loosely can be called a Child of God. This does not imply a right relationship with God.

Not every human being, male or female, is a son or an heir of God. The New Testament writers were writing to a Jewish culture or from a Jewish perspective in which sons were those that had a part in the father's inheritance. For that reason, they used sonship as a metaphor that the readers could relate to. When the New Testament writers were talking about Divine Sonship, they were talking about an inheritance, not just a familial status. Therefore, every male and female that is baptized into Christ, whether in the normal way, or by baptism by desire or blood, is a son and a heir, regardless of their sex.

When the Church uses the term child or children by adoption, they are trying to convey the same concept. Unfortunately, this point about Divine Inheritance is not always so clear with the word, "Child".

Perhaps you could expound on this point with your class.

Hope this helps,

John C. DiMascio

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