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Adoption, an expression used by St. Paul in reference to the present and prospective privileges of Christians. Rom. 8:15, 23; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5. He probably alludes to the Roman custom by which a person not having children of his own might adopt as his son one born of other parents. The relationship was to all intents and purposes the same as existed between a natural father and son. The term is used figuratively to show the close relationship to God of the Christian. Gal. 4:4, 5; Rom. 8:14-17. He is received into God’s family from the world, and becomes a child and heir of God.