A Story That Is All Too Common Today
Early one summer morning a baby was born to a 15 year old drug addict, a young girl who was woefully unprepared to be a parent. She tried to walk the line that runs between being a teen and an adult, but the teenager in her won out, because she was still just that, a teenager. The situation went from bad to worse, the courts got involved and the child was removed from the home and placed in foster care. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of navigating the sea of insanity that often is the adoption process, the child was adopted by a loving family, taken in as one of their own.
The Fabric of Our Society
Stories like this make us smile, not only that, they are part of the fabric of our society, today in America there are over 2.5 Million adopted children. For the orphan, who often goes unloved, unwanted, untouched, and unnoticed, the word “Adopted” is a game changer, it is a word that offers a hope, a future, a chance to be normal, and above all else the chance to be loved.
Adoption is one of the most profound realities in the universe. I say “universe” and not “world” because adoption is truly “out of this world.” It’s greater than this world; it’s greater than the “universe” because it’s rooted in the very nature of God… (Romans 8:14-17)
ADOPTION IS FROM GOD
Adoption is the word that the bible uses to describe the relationship that we can have with God! It’s the kind of relationship that He longs to have with us, He wants to be our father, and He wants us to be His children – therefore He makes adoption possible.
In the Roman world of the first century (when Paul was writing) an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate. An adopted child had no less status or rights than a natural born “legitimate” child – even some of the rulers of Rome were “adopted” (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Trajan, and Hadrian).
Adoption is part of God’s eternal plan. It’s His idea, His purpose, and it wasn’t “plan B” or an afterthought. He didn’t discover that one day, against His plan, mankind somehow sinned and orphaned themselves and so came up with the idea of adopting them into his family. No, Paul clearly states He planned it (Ephesians 1:4-5).
Before the creation of the world, and before we existed, God looked on us in our need, and he looked upon his Son crucified and risen as the all sufficient answer for our sin, and because of that and to that end he “predestined us for adoption.” It happened before the creation of the world. Our adoption is not based on our fitness, our worth, or our physical characteristics. It’s rooted in God’s eternal purpose and divine nature.
That means that our adoption is not fragile or tenuous or uncertain, which is often the case in our adoption processes. We probably all know people who’ve suffered loss through a failed adoption.
God will not adopt you and then find out that you are not worthy, or not what He expected and un-adopt you. He will not reject you by giving you back, which is also a sad reality in our adoption processes – with God there is assurance in our adoption!
ADOPTION IS THROUGH JESUS
Before the foundation of the world, God saw that we would be sinners. Therefore HE planned the death of his Son so that our sins could be forgiven and our broken relationship with God restored! In this there are two things that we must take note of.
(1) Not all people are God’s adopted children, In a generic sense God is the father of all, but only those who believe and are covered by Christ’s redeeming blood are “Adopted”. Though God is sovereign over all things, He gave each of us free will. He gave us the freedom to accept or reject adoption. In many adoption cases, the child is asked whether they wish to be adopted by their prospective parents. God asks us the same thing!
(2) Though it may be true with human adoption, we were not cute little orphans that God was attracted to and fell in love with. We were enemies, we were slaves to the flesh, standing against God, marred with the attitude of rebellion. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (Romans 5:10)
ADOPTION HAS IMPLICATIONS
Paul here is contrasting the fear of a slave with the affection of a son – we are “slaves no more!” The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to change our slavish fears toward God into confident, happy, peaceful affection for God as our father. The Spirit brings about a response in our hearts to the love of God that cries out, “Abba! Father!”
Paul uses the word “cry” and the Aramaic word “Abba” because both of them point to a deep, affectionate, personal, authentic experience of God’s fatherly love. “Father” is the language of a “child” not a “slave,” in fact among the Jews slaves were forbidden to use the term “father” in addressing the head of the household. What truly matters is “whose we are,” not “who we are”! Being adopted makes us “Children of the King!”
God adopted us in our unworthiness to make His glory shine! God’s action in adopting us is radically God-centered and God-exalting. The glory of God is what we were made to see and enjoy for all eternity in perfect relationship with Him, nothing else will ever satisfy our souls! We are adopted by God not so that we will rejoice that God made much of us. We are adopted by God so that we will enjoy making much of Him.
A Final Thought
Adoption is something that is near and dear to my heart; for two reasons, first because I’m an adoptive parent, and know what it is to give yourself to another. Secondly because I’m an adopted child, I was offered hope, a future, a chance to be normal, and a chance to be loved… The first story I shared this morning that is my story, I was that child. If we’re truly honest, we have a hard time grasping what it means to be “adopted” by God, we always have and we always will. Each of our lives changes when we realize we’re children of the King. We were once orphans with no hope because of our sin, but God offered us a hope that doesn’t disappoint, he offered us adoption as His own, have you been “adopted” today?
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