Monday, December 18, 2006

The Theological Argument for Adoption, Part 2

Here is part 2 of my discussion of the theological reasons for adoption.

Theological Truth #2: God has Adopted Christians

This truth really hit home as I though through whether or not God would call our family to adopt. As a Christian, I have certain beliefs about my relationship with God. Here are some things I believe about the adoption of those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.

1. Our adoption was accomplished despite our condition.

Even though I was God's enemy due to sin, God chose to save me. Consider Romans 5:6-11:

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath [of God] through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (NASB).

In my mind, there is a profound implication for those of us who would consider adopting: There are no "unloveable" children! If God was willing to save and call His children those who were His enemies, how much more should we reject the thinking that there are some who are outside the reach of our care!

2. Our adoption was an act of God.

Though there is far too little space in this blog to deal with this issue, I believe that one incredible truth that seems to leap out of almost every page of Scripture is that God is Sovereign. He divinely directs the events of this earth to result in His glory. I believe that this control includes our adoption process.

John 1:12 tells us that it was God who gave the power to become children of God. In 1 John 4:19 we learn that we love because He first loved us. Romans 9:24-26 is especially poignant:

24 Even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. 25 As He says also in Hosea, "I will call those who were not My people, 'My people,' And her who was not beloved, 'beloved.'" 26 "And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, 'you are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God (NASB).

God takes those who have no hope of being His people and works by His grace and power to call them His people.

The implication of this truth is that adoption love is both unconditional and initiatory. Children are not deciding to be a part of our home. We are calling them to become a part of ours.

3. Our adoption was accomplished at a great personal cost to God.

After making that decision, to save us He did what it took to bring the adoption about. We've already seen this truth in Romans 5. Consider Colossians 1:15-21:

(NASB) 15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the [Father's] good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say], whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, [engaged] in evil deeds.

Here is the unfathomable mystery that is so crucial to the Christian faith. The universe is created by Jesus Christ; it exists for Jesus Christ; it is sustained through Jesus Christ. And yet, the Creator dies for the Creation. The price He paid only serves to glorify Him further.

The implication is that sacrifice, both financial and emotional is not to be a deterent in caring for those God lays on our heart.

4. Our adoption makes us a part of a new family.

We used to be a part of a really bad family. God's adoption removes us from that family and places us in a new one. Again in Romans we read:

14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him] in order that we may also be glorified with [Him.] (Romans 8:14-17, NASB).

By the work of God through adoption we cry out to God as our Father. This morning, I took an early morning jog through a park near our house. As I was running, I just began praying for my family and other things in my life. As I was praying, I was struck by how casual my conversation was. I had to stop for a moment and consider whether or not my prayer was even remotely appropriate. Here I was presuming to talk with the One who holds existence together by the power of His Word while on a jog! As I paused, I thought through what Scripture says regarding our relationship with God. Some have died for approaching God in a careless of flippant manner. As I thought about my actions some more, I realized my prayer was not casual in the sense of disrespect or lacking an awareness of the Divine Holiness of God, but casual in the sense of being at ease. Why is that appropriate? Because God is my Father.

When a family brings a new child into their home, an entirely new family is created. There can be no more separation. The permanence of God's adoption is mirrored in the papers that Whitney and I signed recently promising that this new child will have the same legal rights as our other children. There can be no "us" and "them" in a human adoption, neither is there one in a Divine adoption.

5. Our adoption can never be revoked.

Let me just conclude with Romans 8:14-39. In these precious verses we read about the adoption of God and its permanence.

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him] in order that we may also be glorified with [Him.]

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for [us] with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined [to become] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
"For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (NASB).

Whitney and I now have the ability to illustrate to a precious little one the permanence of the love of God. May God protect us as we endeavor to be faithful to those whom He entrusts to us!

No comments: