No doubt does God multiple things the moment he saves us. Two of them, regeneration and adoption, have intrigued me as of late, mainly because, to the human mind, you are either born into your family or you are adopted into your family. You aren’t both, though. Yet, in God’s realm, we are both born again and adopted into the same family. How do both happen?
Being born again and being adopted are two things that do occur, but they involve a different emphasis. Regeneration (i.e., being born again) is about the spiritual life God births in us – His own! Adoption is about the spiritual family God places us in – His own! God does both fully and solely, yet with different ends in mind. We are his, inside and out.
Think about it like this – when you were conceived physically, you came into existence and, though not seen, were alive. But when you were delivered physically and then brought home, you were then visibly part of a family. I realize that, even in your mother’s womb, you were part of your family. But it wasn’t quite the same as when your parents brought you home and suddenly everything changed (and I mean everything)! Up to that point you were, practically, more part of your mother than you were the family. But after your delivery, well, everyone knew you had arrived. Your birth was now a family affair.
That analogy, though a loose one, is some idea of what is going on spiritually in regards to regeneration and adoption. And from a divine angle, these events happen in incalculable nano-seconds of time, so it is difficult to really think of them in sequential order. But most technically, theologically, and biblically, this is how it occurs. God births life within us and then, after conversion, adopts us – delivers us — into his family with our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ (John 1:12).
The same idea can also be seen when looking at two other aspects of God’s marvelous salvation – justification and reconciliation. Justification is about the legal standing God grants me – righteous! Reconciliation is the about relational result God secures me for me – peace! Both occur, but have a different emphasis.
Ah, the multifaceted diamond of salvation! From regeneration to adoption to sanctification, it is a gem worth viewing for a lifetime!