The Distinct Privileges of Pardon, Acceptance and Adoption

According to the Scriptures, pardon, acceptance, and adoption are distinct privileges, the one rising above the other in the order in which they have been stated… while the first two properly belog to (the sinner’s) justification, as being both founded on the same relation – that of Ruler and Subject – the third is radically distinct from them as being founded on a nearer, more tender, and more endearing relation – that between a Father and His Son…There is a manifest difference between that of a master and a son…A closer and dearer intimacy than that of a master and servent is said to subsist between Christ and His people: “Henceforth I call you not servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends” (John 15:15); and a still closer and dearer relation is said to exist in consequence of adoption; for “Thou art no more a servant, but a son, and an heir of God through Christ” (Galations 4:7). ┬áThe privilege of adoption presupposes pardon and acceptance, but is higher than either; for, “To as many as received Him, to them He gave power” – not inward strength, but authority, right, or privilege – “to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12). ┬áThis is a higher privilege than of Justification, as being founded on a closer and more endearing relation – “Behold! what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (I John 3:1)

– James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification, page 276-277

as quoted by J.I. Packer, Knowing God, copyright 1973, page 207-208