“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,”
The doctrine of adoption is a blessed doctrine, indeed. Think about it this way, God’s work in Christ is not simply a matter of delivering us from eternal judgment, which indeed would be a blessed thing, yet God goes further. Indeed, he goes much further and adopts us in Christ Jesus. It is in this context that we can cry out, “Abba! Father!” to our God (Romans 8:15). It permits us to pray, “Our Father,” as we begin the Lord’s prayer and it enables us to be called children of God, assured of our Father’s love (1 John 3:1).
Yet, it must be noted that this adoption, while assured by the completed work of Christ and is granted to us in our justification, is something that will only be fully realized in the resurrection (Romans 8:23). It is as if the adoption papers have been signed and sealed, yet we, while in our earthly bodies and then have those bodies laid in the tomb, yet wait until we might enjoy the full measure of being in the presence of our glorious Father and King.
And, once more, this adoption is given “in Christ.” All the blessings of God are ultimately mediated to us through Christ; he is the amen of all of the promises of God (2 Corinthians 1:20). How often Christians fall into the trap of thinking that God loves them just the way they are, that they are special in and of themselves in God’s eyes, and that their salvation is because God has some sort of need to be in relationship with them. How far from the truth these notions are! God enters into relationship with believers precisely because we are in his Son. And since the Father has a relationship with the Son, he has a relationship with us as believers. Furthermore, he is not content with the way we are, but only seeks to perfect us into the image of his glorious Son so that we might stand as the church as the pure and eternal bride of Christ. Because of Christ and His work, we are adopted as children of God — we are not children of God by the virtue of our being image-bearers.