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Sermon #3157

The Spirit of Adoption

A Sermon on Romans 8:15


Romans 8:15 ESV KJV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Sermon Description

Is assurance essential for salvation? Can one doubt their salvation and still be truly saved? In this sermon on Romans 8:15 titled “The Spirit of Adoption,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones answers that assurance is not essential for salvation. It is possible for those who have truly been born again and who trust in the Gospel to doubt if they have been saved. This is because they are saved by the work of Christ, not our act of believing. It is not as if faith is a great work that earns the Christian favor with God. Scripture tells that faith itself is a gift from God in order that the Christian might be saved. Salvation is received by God enabling them to believe in the gospel. This is a great hope to all who are plagued by doubts of God’s love for them. Salvation is a gift of God, but not all who are saved are assured of their salvation. As Christians grow in love of God and neighbor and to understand God more and more, all Christians can have a stronger assurance of salvation. All believers can know that Christ has died for them and loves them.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The spirit of adoption is not essential for salvation. One can be a Christian without experiencing the spirit of adoption.
  2. The Protestant reformers taught that assurance of salvation was necessary for salvation but they were mistaken. There is a difference between believing in Christ for salvation and believing you have salvation.
  3. The apostle Paul is not saying every Christian has the spirit of adoption in Romans 8:15. He is writing to Christians experiencing revival and the outpouring of the Spirit. Not all Christians share this experience.
  4. How the spirit of adoption is received is a source of confusion. Some teach it is received by faith alone, but this is incorrect.
  5. The spirit of adoption is a person - the Holy Spirit. We cannot take the Spirit whenever we want. We must submit to Him.
  6. The word 'receive' is used to translate multiple Greek words. Most denote an active sense but the word in Romans 8:15 denotes either an active or passive sense.
  7. Examples of the active sense of the word 'receive' used in Romans 8:15 include: Matthew 26:26, Luke 20:28-31, John 1:12. In these verses, 'receive' means to take or accept.
  8. Examples of the passive sense of the word 'receive' used in Romans 8:15 include: Matthew 7:8, Matthew 20:9, John 1:16, Acts 10:43, 1 Corinthians 2:12. In these verses, 'receive' means to be given something or gain something.
  9. The context of Romans 8:15 suggests the passive sense of 'receive' is meant. We are given the spirit of adoption, we do not take it.

The Book of Romans

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.