[Regeneration and Adoption] Adoption gives us the liberties and privileges of a child of God. Regeneration gives us the nature of a child of God, for in regeneration God’s recreates us in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), resurrects us from spiritual death, rewrites God’s law upon our hearts, restores God’s image in us, and gives us the gift of faith. (17)
[Faith and Adoption]: Justification by faith in Christ has its exact parallel in adoption by faith in Christ (John 1:12)....God, who was once our angry and
condemning Judge, is now our loving Father, who has accepted us and forgiven us, because of the life and work of Jesus Christ through faith in Him (Rom. 8:1–4)....It is only as we are savingly joined to Christ through faith, that we can be counted as the children of God....Therefore, we are adopted into God’s family through faith in Christ alone. (17)
[Justification and Adoption]: In justification, God freely forgives our sins and accepts us as righteous because of the righteousness of Christ credited to us, which is received by faith. So it can be said that, whereas our adoption recovers our lost sonship in God’s family, justification recovers our lost citizenship in God’s kingdom. (18)
[Sanctification and Adoption]: In sanctification, God’s Spirit works within the believer to conform him more and more into the image of Christ, enabling him to
sin less and obey God more. Adoption secures for us, who are heirs of God by being joint-heirs with Christ, the title-deed to heaven and eternal life in the consummated New Heavens and New Earth, where righteousness dwells. Sanctification fits us for that eternal residence, by renewing us “from glory to glory,” until we are perfected
in holiness and physically raised from the dead. (18)
[Adoption and Glorification]: Adoption is irreversible....The Word of God assures us in 1 John 3:1–3 that those of us who are children of God can be fully certain that when Jesus appears again, we will not only see Him as He is, but we shall be made like Him. (19)
First, those adopted by God are given a new name (Isa. 62:2), i.e., the sons and daughters of Almighty God (2 Cor. 6:18). Second, they receive the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) who “implants in them the disposition of children, and transforms them into the image of God’s dear Son.”22 ... Third, they are given free access to the throne of grace with boldness (1 John 5:14). Fourth, they are the objects of God’s fatherly care and compassion (Ps. 103:13). Fifth, they enjoy the Father’s protection (Ps. 34:7; Heb. 1:14). Sixth, they are provided for by God’s providence (Matt. 6:30–34; Ps. 34:9–22), and Word (Phil. 4:9). Seventh, God’s fatherly care includes correction and chastisement (Heb. 12:6; Ps. 89:30–32). Eighth, they are eternally secure as sons and daughters of God (Jer. 32:40). Ninth, they are heirs of all the promises of God (Heb. 6:12, 17). Tenth, they are heirs of heaven, salvation, the grace of life, the kingdom of God and all of God’s promises (1 Pet. 1:4; Heb. 1:14; 1 Pet. 3:7; James 2:5; Rom. 8:17). 22. Robert Shaw, The Reformed Faith (Inverness, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications,  1974), 139. (20)
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29)....We are adopted as God’s sons and daughters through faith in Christ, on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work, and that Christ “might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (20-21)
In this verse we see the proximate and ultimate goal of God’s eternal purpose. The proximate goal of God’s plan is that His adopted sons and daughters be conformed into the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is their “elder brother” (Mark 3:35)....We bear Christ’s stamp upon us, His likeness in our very nature, and in the entirety of our personhood—character, personality, intellect, heart, spirit, being.
Furthermore, we are conformed into His image so that we will be His "brethren.”...To be made a brother is to be re-made in His likeness, much the same way He was made in our likeness. To be made Christ’s brother is to be glorified, i.e., to be made like Him in His humanity, in our bodies and souls....As He was made
perfectly and fully human, so He will make us perfectly and fully human by the power of His grace, expunging the last remnant of sin from us and from this universe. ....
The ultimate goal of God’s eternal purpose is that Jesus Christ be glorified and honored as “the Firstborn among many brethren.”...Therefore, if it is the plan of God that Jesus have many saved brothers (and sisters), many saved brothers He will have. This ultimate goal, then, is the basis for the strongest kind of assurance of
our own salvation in Christ.
The title “Firstborn” implies more than the supremacy of Christ. It is an Old Testament concept. The firstborn of the family was to be dedicated to God. He represented the family. All the firstborn of a nation represented the nation. Whatever happened to the firstborn, happened to the nation they represented. The firstborn of Egypt were killed, signifying that God was destroying Egypt. The firstborn of Israel were dedicated to the Lord, signifying that the whole nation of
Israel was being saved by God and dedicated to Him by covenant. Christ, as “the Firstborn,” represents His “many brothers.” There is a solidarity and communion between the Firstborn and the brothers, that is the basis of the brothers’ salvation. Whatever happened to the “Firstborn,” happens to the “brothers.” Whatever is true of the “Firstborn” is true of the “brothers.” The “Firstborn” was exalted and glorified
by the Father. So will the “brothers” be. (23)
R.J. Rushdoony explains that adoption and heirship mean "the realization that this earth was created as man’s area of dominion under God and is to be restored to that dominion by joint-heirship in Christ. It means an eternal destiny which is beyond the imagination of man and yet is the calling of his whole being and the destiny of his every moment. Our lives are then tied to more than ourselves." (23)
Do you have the marks of a true son or daughter of God? The first mark is faith in Christ, as the incarnate Son of God and only Savior of sinners. The second mark is obedience to the Father’s revealed will in the Bible. The third mark is the love of being in the Father’s presence worshipping and serving Him....The fourth mark is the leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14). And the fifth mark is love for all the sons and daughters of God. (24)
God, whereby, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, he so grieves for and hates his sins, as that he turns from them all to God, purposing and endeavouring constantly to walk with Him in all the ways of new obedience.
The two leading Hebrew words for repentance in the Old Testament are nacham or niphal meaning to repent with a resulting change of plan and action, and shubh, the most common form, which means to turn, to turn about, to return. It clearly shows that what the Old Testament calls repentance is a return to God from whom sin has separated man.
The two leading Greek words for repentance in the New Testament are metanoia, which denotes a change of mind leading to a change of life and conduct, which change includes regret for the former course pursued, and epistrophe, which denotes a change of mind stressing the fact that “a new relation is established, that the active life is made to move in another direction.”27 ....
Metanoia involves “a new relation to God that embraces all spheres of life and claims the will in a way that no external rites can replace.”28
27. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans PublishingCo., 1941), 482.
28. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TWOT),Abridged in One Volume, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, eds. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,  1988), 640. (26-27)
This change of mind, heart and will involved in repentance is in reference to four things: God, ourselves, sin and righteousness. (27)
True repentance is future-oriented...."Ungodly repentance looks backward: it is sorry for its sinsbecause it regrets the consequences. Such repentance is marked by self-torture and misery and a pre-occupation with the past… repentance is “a preparation for the future, rather than a mourning over the past.” This is why repentance is so closely linked with the kingdom of God...St. Paul said to the believers, “being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness”
(Rom. 6:18; KJV). This is the emphasis: to serve righteousness, to become dedicated, working members of God’s Kingdom. By means of repentance, we participate in the work of the Kingdom.…" (28-29)
True repentance is called repentance unto life or leading to life for two reasons. First, because true repentance is inseparably connected with the enjoyment of eternal life in fellowship with God, it is called “repentance unto life.”...Second, because true repentance is to be distinguished from false repentance, it is called
“repentance unto life.” (29)
To put it in the words of Rev. E.H. Anderson: Repentance won’t save you; but it is a sure thing that you will not be saved without it. (31)
Repentance unto life is a saving grace in that it is a free gift of God, and is produced in the heart by the Spirit and Word of God. (34)
“Turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; surely after that I was turned, I repented.” (35)
This gracious gift of God to His own is wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and Word of God. (35)
Repentance is first and foremost God’s work in the human heart....the Spirit works repentanceinto the heart when He regenerates the heart. Therefore, it is impossible
for a person to know godly sorrow and repentance unto life unless he or she has been born of the Spirit of God (John 3:3–8). (35)
The instrument the Holy Spirit uses to work repentance in our hearts is the Word of God, written and preached. That Word “calls sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13). Therefore, when this gift is worked in our hearts, we are not only turned by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, we are at the same time “instructed” (Jer. 31:19)
“by the Spirit’s setting home what is contained in the word, whereby we are led into the knowledge of those things which are necessary to repentance.”44 Ridgeley, Commentary on the Larger Catechism, 2:147. (37)
“All true repentance springs from right views of God.”46 On the outside false repentance and true repentance can look alike but inside they are very different. ...
False repentance is motivated only by the dread of God’s judgment and fear of hell; true repentance is also motivated by the dangers of sin, but it comes with faith in God’s mercy revealed in Christ.
In false repentance, the sinner is taken up mostly with the temporal and fatal consequences of sin, and the punishment to which his sin exposes him. In true repentance, the believer mourns for his sin as dishonoring to His Lord and Savior. ...
False repentance is full of regret, but unlike true repentance, it does not lead to a radical change of mind and behavior that pleases God. 46. Hodge, The Way of Life, 217. (38)
True repentance springs from the sight and sense of sins. This is a clear, conscious and convicting awareness of sins in one’s life coupled with the painful contrition of heart, brokenness of spirit, humiliation and godly sorrow that comes with such an awareness in the believer. ...
No one can have a proper sight and sense of his sins until the Holy Spirit becomes his Teacher, convincing and convicting him of his sins. (39)
First, the Spirit’s convicting work in us extinguishes all inclination and thought of self-excuse or self-defense.
Second, in convicting us of our sins the Holy Spirit moves us to lay all the blame for our sins on ourselves.
Third, the Spirit convinces and convicts us that our sin is not merely against one’s own soul or against one’s neighbor, but that above all else, it is against God.
Fourth, this conviction of sin brought by the Spirit into the believer’s heart is permanent.
Fifth, the conviction of sin has purifying effects on the entirety of the repentant believer’s life. It motivates him to purpose and endeavor to get rid of sin in his life and thought.
Sixth, the conviction of sin produces humility in the believer. (39-41)
The Holy Spirit not only convicts the regenerate person of the danger of sin, He convicts him of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, thereby moving him to hate them, to grieve over them, to hate himself for committing them, and to repent of them....In other words, what makes our sins appear so filthy and odious to us is ultimately because they are sins against God, our Creator, Provider, Redeemer, Lord and Friend, who is “majestic in holiness.” (42)
(1) The painful consciousness of the moral guilt which exposes us to merited punishment, because they are contradictory to the righteous character of God, were it not for Christ and His satisfaction of the justice of God by His obedience and sufferings....
(2) The humiliating consciousness of moral pollution caused by our sin in direct opposition to the holiness of God....
(3) The fearful consciousness of helplessness before God in cleansing his sins from his life by himself without God’s gracious assistance. (43)
True repentance is motivated not only by a heart-conviction of the danger, filthiness and odiousness of sins, it manifests itself upon the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ to such as are penitent. This means that faith is an essential component of repentance, just as repentance is of faith: “they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him” (Zech. 12:10). They are “twin graces.” Repentance is not true repentance without this apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ. (45-46)
Although God’s mercy is freely bestowed upon those in misery, it is bestowed only in a way that is consistent with all His perfections: “consistently with the honour of his justice and holiness.” 59. Edward Fisher, Fisher’s Catechism (Presbyterian Board of Publishing and Sabbath School Work, 1911), 159. (46)
God’s mercy will not go out toward the sinner if it means contradicting any of His perfections, His decrees, or His Word. His justice demands that violation of His Law must be punished with death. His holiness, offended by human sin, manifested toward sinners in His anger, must be propitiated, i.e., His anger turned away from sinners. His unbreakable Word teaches that “the wages of sin is death, the soul that sins must die.” Therefore, God’s saving mercy cannot be bestowed upon sinners except through the obedience, suffering and death of Jesus Christ, whose substitutionary life and death satisfied the claims of God’s justice and propitiated God’s anger by bearing the full punishment for sin. (47)
Apprehending the saving mercy of God in Christ is faith in Christ, it is receiving Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior, resting upon Him alone for salvation. (47)