Monday, August 6, 2018

Adoption: A Most Delightful Word

One of the kindest, happiest words in the English language is adoption – particularly because it’s something we do voluntarily.

We have pet adoption centers, where lost and abandoned animals can find new homes and loving owners. You can “adopt” a highway, contributing financially to support its ongoing maintenance. Churches sometimes adopt a neighboring community, setting out a strategy for serving and ministering to its residents. Cities sometimes adopt a “sister city” in another country, using that connection to conduct meaningful social and cultural exchanges.

And you can adopt a child, whether an adolescent from a troubled home who has been shuttled around the foster care system, an orphan, or an infant whose biological parents either do not wish to raise it or are incapable of doing so.

Cam had his "day in court" last week.
Our family has been the delighted beneficiary of the latter on two occasions – seven years ago when we welcomed Mac into our clan, and just last week, having little Cam legally declared Mac’s adoptive brother after the requisite waiting period. To say they are a blessing would be among the greatest of understatements.

In both cases, the birth moms made the courageous and caring decisions not to pursue abortions to end their unwanted pregnancies. Instead, they determined to find a loving couple to take on the permanent responsibilities of parenting, nurturing and providing for their babies. That couple, in God’s providence, was our youngest daughter and her husband.

The interesting thing about adoption is that while the boys do not carry their parents’ DNA, they are every bit as much their sons as if they had been biological offspring. Our family regards them the same as the grandkids that do carry our genetic imprint. We can’t imagine life without them in our family.

It’s noteworthy that the concept of “adoption” is also important in God’s grand scheme of things, since it’s cited in numerous passages of the Scriptures, particularly the New Testament. It serves as a descriptive for how we become part of His family. 

Cam is one happy little boy.
In Romans 8:15 we’re told, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” That term, “Abba,” best translated as “daddy,” showing the tender, intimate relationship we can enjoy with God as chosen members of His eternal family.

Galatians 4:5 states Jesus came, “to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” And Ephesians 1:4-5 declares, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself.”

These and similar passages affirm becoming children of God is not automatic, but a gracious, intentional choice by the Lord, welcoming us into His fold. Even when we don’t feel like members of His family – or if a time should come when we don’t want to be – we remain adopted according to His perfect, unchanging will.

In Christian circles we sometimes hear discussions about the “security of the believer.” Can we mess up so badly that we lose our salvation? Is it like pulling petals off a daisy, “He loves me…He loves me not”? Knowing we have been adopted by God should quell such fears.

Just as our two adoptive grandsons were chosen to join our family, and by court decree can do nothing to undo that, we too have the everlasting assurance of being members of God’s family according to His holy, perfect decree. What the Lord has done, we can’t undo.

As Titus 3:5-7 affirms, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” That, my friends, is what we call “Good News.”

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