“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galatians 4:4-6 ESV
Adoption Is God’s Idea – It’s His Plan For Us
Scripture is replete with descriptions such as the passage above from Galatians talking about this concept that those who are in Christ are adopted into this relationship with Him.
Adoption wasn’t Plan B. It was part of Plan A. Before the foundations of the world were laid, God knew His son would come to save us. He knew we would need that gift from the moment the first two humans entered into sin. He knew the sin nature would corrupt us. Jesus wasn’t a scramble to fix things. It was His perfect plan all along.
His plan included salvation through faith in Christ (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” – Ephesians 2:8) but it wasn’t just salvation from the wrath that was justly due to all of us the moment we first sinned. It included a continual work of faith for sanctification (“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20). It was still more than this though.
Look at the verse at the top. Look at this one:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 with added emphasis.
God didn’t just save us from His wrath. Though that would surely be far more than we deserve and would be and is an amazing gift of mercy and grace alone. He did far more.
He Adopted Us
Get lost on that thought for a minute. I’ll wait.
He adopted us. I’ve tried to wrap my head around this before. When I first became a father biologically, it made these verses that talk about sonship through Christ’s act on the cross mean more. It made the talk of adoption mean more. But I was missing something. I’ve never really stepped through the thoughts of a parent in an adoption so I missed some amazing truths about our adoption.
Right now we are in the midst of an international adoption process in my family. We started down the road of adopting one child. While working on that adoption, another child has been added to our adoption. Someday, when it is all done I may write more details about it. So many answers to prayer, so many moments of sitting back and watching God work, almost like we were watching someone else go through the process amazed at what God was doing. It’s all Him – the desire to adopt, the process, the doors that have opened and we trust Him for the closing rounds and praise Him regardless of the outcome.
Even though our children – and I feel comfortable saying that because while the legal process isn’t done, the heart process is moved to that stage – are not yet legally ours or even in our country, I can honestly say that the concept of me being adopted by God (even typing that is mind boggling.. I’m adopted… by God. Me.. The sinner, the guy who can’t get out of his own way with failure and faults.. An adopted child of God.) means much more to me now.
There will be more I am sure. But for now? I already see so much about what my adoption in Christ means –
- He made the first move – Just in case this isn’t clear enough in scripture – I’ve seen just what that means more clearly now. These kids didn’t start a pen pal campaign to us. They didn’t plead with us. We searched them out. We began the process to find them. We sought them, they weren’t seeking us. (“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” John 15:16)
- I didn’t “do” anything to earn His love – This is perhaps a most clear lesson. I love these children. The same way and the same feeling as I love my biological children. There is no difference. I am moved to love them. They didn’t do something to earn that love. It’s just there. It is unconditionally there. We are committed to them just the same way we are committed to our biological children. They can’t “un-adopt” themselves from us. No matter how hard they may try, no matter what mistakes they make.
- He doesn’t “need” us – I’ve sometimes heard begging or pleading calls to salvation that make it sound like God needs something from us. Like He is lonely and we fulfill some need He has. We’re a happy family. We have three children and we are content. We haven’t suffered a loss that is causing us to find some replacement to muffle heart ache. We weren’t seeking something to make us feel better, we love them and are moved to them by Him working on our hearts. God is just fine with or without us as sons. His adoption isn’t to satisfy some longing or loneliness.
- He paid dearly for us – His son suffered greatly for God’s elect. The physical agony of the cross was one thing – the giving up of His glory to take the cross, the punishment of the sins of all of the elect on the cross – this is the difficult price. The price that we cannot begin to imagine or understand – and praise Him, we never will understand. The road we’ve been on is nothing at all compared to what Christ did for us – but in a sense it underscores this sense of adoption for me. We’ve spent money, we’ve made cuts, we’ve traveled far and will again, we’ve done more paperwork than we ever have. Again this isn’t even remotely close to what Christ did – but these children have done nothing. We’re doing all of the work. We are happily doing the work and movement towards them. What a picture that is of God moving towards us and doing all of the work of salvation. I don’t know who first said it but I’ve often heard this quote “The only thing I bring to my salvation is the sin”.
- We have full rights as His heirs – If it is God’s will for the adoptions to be finalized – they will have our last name. They will be in our family. They have the full rights as our children. No different from our biological children at all. They have the promise that their parents will be there for them and protect them. If there was an inheritance it would be just as much theirs as my firstborn’s. We have legal obligations, requirements and responsibilities for them. Now.. Ponder that but instead the father is The Father! The God who created this universe, who created this earth, who knows each star, who knows the grains of sand on the earth, who owns this all.. We’re His. We aren’t just His possession. We are His heirs. When we sing “This is my father’s world” – we actually literally mean this is OUR Father’s world.