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Adoption is at the Heart of the Gospel

June 7, 2007

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

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

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 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 1:4-6

Adoption is at the heart of the Gospel. There are several biblical instances of adoption, such as the adoptions of Moses and Esther. In both cases, God used their new life circumstances for His glory. Even more apparent is that our relationship as children of our Heavenly Father, as demonstrated by the verses above, is made through adoption.

All of my children are adopted. I love them deeply. Yet for all my love, there have been trying times. One child, extremely angry over his life circumstances, has allowed his heart to be eaten up with rage and self-centeredness. You may think it unkind of me as a mother to say such a thing about my child, but I could tell you many things which have happened that demonstrate this. Has this child been difficult to love? Yes, at moments, because I am sinful. Will the reward ever be known? I don’t know, but God has shown me much about who He is and who I am through these circumstances. And, graciously, He has given me a great love for this child who so desperately needs the hope of Christ. God has also made very real to me the fact that He alone can bring true healing to the human heart.

If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that prior to knowing Christ, we too were ugly on the inside (and occasionally after knowing Christ), yet He loves us. The Bible tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. Yes, even as we were ugly and “unlovable”. Despite who I was, my God was faithful to adopt me as a co-heir with Christ.

Isaiah 64:6 teaches us that our righteous acts prior to grace are as filthy rags (or filthy garments or polluted garments, depending on the translation). When my child does disgusting things to exert control or does cutesy things that ring false to gain favor, I must remember the state of my own garments before knowing Christ.

As an adopted child, I cost the Father greatly. His Son carried the burden of my sin. Yet, He has remained steadfast in His relationship with me. Through adopting my children, I have experienced motherhood, a wonderful privilege accompanied by tender moments and humorous moments. I have also experienced knowing God more, and learning about the wickedness of my heart.

My love is not as easy and forgiving as I once thought it. My perseverance and patience is not longsuffering. My ability to put my neighbor or even my child’s needs above my own has been weak, at times. But, through it all, God has brought me into a deeper knowledge of Him, a more honest examination of myself, and a life that has eternal meaning. He is teaching me to be faithful, to persevere, to show a true love rather than a fickle one.

I don’t know for what purpose God chose my children out of the millions who need mothers and fathers, but I do know that He chose them to be mine for a time. I pray that one day His call on their lives will bring glory and honor to Him and His truth will be made known in a greater capacity. I thank Him for the privilege of loving my children and having them for however long He allows me to.

To learn more about how adoption is at the heart of the gospel, I strongly urge you to read this message by John Piper and the accompanying letter he wrote his wife as he shared his commitment with her to adopt their daughter.
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