The Puritan John Owen on the rich benefits of Sonship


At times when we think of the Puritans we think of people with tight-fitting clothes, tight-fisted hearts, and a somber attitude to life. Some of that might be true, but when one reads how the Puritans desired to be “ravished” by the reality that they were adopted as precious children of God, the picture changes somewhat.

One of their theologians of great stature, reflected on what it means to be adopted in Christ and he defined it as “Adoption is the authoritative translation of a believer, by Jesus Christ, from the family of the world and Satan into the family of God, with his investiture in all the privileges and advantages of that family.” In plain English, because of Jesus it is possible to change families and with that comes a change of identity and status. According to John Owen this foundational teaching is opened because of a  whole new world of fellowship with the Son of God.

Fellowship with the Son of God:

In his book Communion with God Owen lists the following benefits “which the Son has purchased for us:”

  • “fellowship in name; we are (as he is) sons of God” (Revelation 21:7)
  • “fellowship in title and right; we are heirs, co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7)
  • “fellowship in likeness and conformity; we are predestinated to be like the firstborn of the family” (Romans 8:29)
  • “fellowship in honor; he is not ashamed to call us brethren”  (Hebrews 2:11)
  • “fellowship in sufferings; he learned obedience by what he suffered, and every son is to be scourged that is received” (Hebrews 5:8; 12:6-7)
  • “fellowship in his kingdom; we shall reign with him.” (Revelation 5:10)


John Owen saw the intimate linkage between the Biblical teaching on God as Son, and the result of union with Him in the Christian life. In a word, he saw this as a source of great status, all gotten through the blood of Jesus.

Imagine how believers could be robbed if translations would eliminate this doctrine which ravished the souls even of Puritans! Imagine how those who have been raised only as slaves of God would be robbed if their translations somehow downgraded the wonderful benefit of being in union with the Son of God.

For further reading:


1. The Works of John Owen on Google or at

2. Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones. A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (2012)

3. Mike Reeves. Delighting in the Trinity. (2012)


1. Salaam Corniche, “Adoption in Christ: the best gift ever” St. Francis Magazine, (April 2013)  Online:


About Author

John Span has worked with his family in West Africa among an unreached 'Fulani' people group for the last ten years. His mentors have challenged him to think theologically, especially in the area of missions to Muslims and he desires to inspire others to do the same. In the last year he has been a frequent contributor to the St. Francis Magazine.

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