My wife and I read Haven Ministries Anchor Devotional each evening before we go to bed. It’s always good to have God’s Word as our focus just before going to sleep. “God’s Word the last word” is a good principle for us all to live by at all times. This month one of the authors (and editor), Kathy Daane (a pastor’s wife), writes about their experiences in adopting their two children and compares it to our being adopted as children by God through faith in Christ. She said that a couple questions adoptive parents are asked are: “Are they really yours?” and “Do you have any children of your own?” The answer, of course, is “Yes, they are really ours,” and “Yes, we do have children of our own–those we have adopted!”
While all children are a gift from God (Psa. 127:3), those who are adopted, are special in the sense that they are specifically chosen by the adoptive parents to be their own, with all the privileges of being part of that family. The Apostle Paul often reminded the believers in Rome, Galatia and Ephesus that they were brothers, adopted children of God. He told them that the family of God extended beyond Israel and into the whole Gentile world. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul disclosed a “mystery” that God had revealed to Him, which in fact was the basis of his ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), and that was the “Mystery of the Church,” that God had broken down the barriers between Jew and Gentile and now placed all believers into one body, called the Church (Eph. 2:11-16; 3:1-7), where “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28), “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).
By our natural birth, we are, in one sense all children of God in the fact that He made us, but in order to be part of His spiritual family, and to spend eternity with Him, we must, as Jesus told Nicodemus, be “born again” (Jn.3:3). The mystery of that is that He does the choosing! Paul wrote in Eph. 1:3-6: “…He chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world….He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” “Chose” (eklegomai) is from the same Greek word (eklektos)translated “elect” elsewhere. God’s choice was not simply a matter of His foreseeing our choice of Him, but was a choice solely by His own will and grace (cf Acts 13:48). Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (Jn. 15:16). This fact, however, in no wise lessens our own responsibility to trust in Christ as Lord and Savior (cf Jn. 3:16-19; 5:25; Ro. 10:9,10). How these two fit together we can’t understand; we can only thank and praise Him. As the Psalmist wrote: “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it” (Psa. 139:6). The Apostle Paul, also in awe at the plan of God, exclaimed: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” (Ro. 11:36), to which I would shout “Amen!”
The word that Paul uses for our “adoption as sons” (Eph. 1:5) is the Greek word, uiohothesia, which means “the placing as a son.” To the Galatians, Paul wrote: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12,13). The “after its kind” of Gen. 1 represents a law of reproduction that governs the whole realm of biological nature. It does not, however, govern the realm of the Spirit. Christians cannot beget Christians. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn. 3:6). It takes a fresh act of God every time to produce someone who is truly a child of His. Paul refers to the process as “adoption as sons.” Those whom God chooses He places as “full sons,” with all the privileges of sonship. Human parents, through adoption, can bestow their love, resources, name, and inheritance on an adopted child, but not their own distinct characteristics. But God miraculously gives His own nature to those whom He has chosen and who have trusted in Christ. He makes them His own children in the image of His divine Son, giving them not just Christ’s riches and blessings as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Ro. 8:17), but also His very nature (II Pet. 1:4). And He gives us the Holy Spirit Who “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Ro. 8:16). We have “received the spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba Father!’ “Abba” is an Aramaic term for Father that conveys a sense of intimacy. Like the English terms “Daddy,” or Papa,” it connotes tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety. As adopted children we really do belong to Him and can call Him “Daddy!”
The children (one of which was adopted and knew it) of a family were discussing how they came to be part of this particular family. Those who were born into the family were making fun of the one who had been adopted, but he rose to the occasion by saying to them: “Mom and Dad were stuck with you, but I was specially chosen!” He understood the special relationship we have as adopted children of God.
Forever His (By adoption!)