Sermon Notes

What We Believe about Salvation: “Born Again into God’s Family; Justified & Adopted”

Romans 3:21-26; John 1:12-13


Defining the term justification: The biblical meaning of “justify” is to pronounce, accept, and treat as just, i.e., as, on the one hand, not penally liable, and, on the other, entitled to all the privileges due to those who have kept the law. It is thus a forensic term, denoting a judicial act of administrating the law – this case, by declaring a verdict of acquittal, and so excluding all possibility of condemnation. Justification thus settles the legal status of the person justified.  J. I. Packer


The main question to consider: How can God declare a sinful person to be justified in His sight?


There are two privileges of God’s redeeming grace as a result of the person & work of Jesus Christ.


  • 1.       Because of the work of Jesus Christ, you are _______________  _________________before God! You are declared righteous! (Rom 8:33-34)
  •          Consider these three things when thinking about your justification.
  • a.       The source of our justification is God’s grace. (Rom 3:24)
  • b.      The instrument of our justification is faith. We find “through faith”– faith as an instrument (Rom 5:1; Phil 3:9); “by faith”– by means of faith (Gal 2:16; Rom 3:28); but never do we find “on account of faith” – as a meritorious ground.


  • c.       The grounds of our justification is the atoning work of Jesus alone. (Rom 3:24-26; 5:9)
  • There is a unique bond between the sinless one who suffered as the guilty one and us, His people. Christ became our brother-man through the incarnation so that He might represent us and be our substitute. On the cross, He bore our sin/debt. There the great exchange took place! (Rom 5:12-21; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13)
  • 2.       Because you are justified by Jesus Christ you have received ___________________ into God’s family.  (John 1:12; Eph 3:5; Gal 4:4-6; 1 John 3:1)
  •          We see in the Scriptures that by being born again and justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God then makes us members of His family! He does this by adoption! 


  • Consider the benefits of adoption and remember God has adopted us out of his great love.
  • o   We have an intimate relationship with God, He is now our Father. (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:4-7)
  • o   We have an inheritance that is imperishable. (Rom 8:15,17)
  • o    We receive all the benefits that come with being a child of God. (Eph 1:11-14)
  • o   We bear His name. (Acts 9:15-16)

The image of “adoption” tells us that our relationship with God is based completely on a legal act by the Father. You don’t “win” a father, and you don’t “negotiate” for a parent. Adoption is a legal act on the part of the father — it is very expensive and costly only for him. There is nothing the son does to win or earn the status. It is simply received.
Tim Keller