Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday--Adoption

I had quite a few thoughts fluttering around like butterflies this week. It took some time to finally catch one and pin it down.

This past week, I've listened to several chapters from a book about adoption, physical and spiritual, and also a short teaching about spiritual adoption.
The book is called "Adopted for Life" by Russell D. Moore. He interweaves the Doctrine of Adoption, the story of the adoption of his sons, and the huge responsibility of the Church to care for orphans. 

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27  

"Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land." Psalm 68:5-6

The teaching I heard is one of 48 lectures teaching about systematic theology. It's called "Drive-by Theology" and it was put together by Todd Friel (of Wretched Radio) and Pastor R.W. Glenn. I have immensely enjoyed these teachings and feel like I've learned so much, but I really have just begun to grasp some of what is talked about.

The lecture on the Doctrine of Adoption comes under the category of Soteriology, or the Doctrine of Salvation. A lot of different things are going on when one gets 'saved'.  Election, regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, sanctification, glorification, and also, adoption. Yeah, I know it sounds complicated. Thank God, we don't have to understand all this to be 'saved'. All of these doctrines are talked about in the bible though and so, it is good to try to gain some understanding about them for it gives us more of an understanding and gratefulness for all God has done for us. On a side note, I find that I love God more the more I learn about Him. There is no end to His Goodness.

So back to adoption, R. W. Glenn gave this quote from a man, Everett Ferguson, giving the definition of adoption. "The person adopted, at any age, was taken out of his previous condition, all old debts were cancelled, and he started a new life in a relationship of sonship to the new family, whose name he took and to whose inheritance he was entitled. The new father now owned the adoptees property, controlled his personal relationships, and had the right of discipline while assuming responsibility for his support and liability for his actions." Having been adopted into God's family, I can see the beautiful parallel. 

As a natural-born human being, a distant descendant of Adam, I was a child of the evil one. Yuck! I don't even like typing that, but it's true. We are all the sinful offspring of Satan. John 8 says: 
39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

These were the Pharisees, the leaders of Judaism, that Jesus was talking to! Until God calls us and we are adopted into His family, we are of the devil. That is our previous condition.

As the process of adoption begins, our debts are cancelled. Or, better yet, they are paid by someone else. The debt of sin is death and in no way could we afford to pay it and live. The Son of God, because He is God, is the only One who could afford to pay the debt. He was punished. He was killed. He paid the debt which we couldn't pay. AND He came back from death, defeating it!

So now we have taken His name and have become heirs. We have become brothers with Christ, and co-heirs with Him. This does not mean that we are the same as Jesus, or equal to God, but that we are of His family and He calls us brothers.  "For he who sanctifies(Jesus) and those who are sanctified(the adopted) all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers." Hebrews 2:11

And now, our Heavenly Father, owns all we have, all our property, all we are. He did before, because He is God, but now we acknowledge His ownership, His Lordship and we don't fight against it. For He takes care of what is His. He treats us as a good father would. He looks out for us by disciplining us, supporting us, surrounding us with others who have been adopted by Him, and giving us Grace when needed (which is all the time).

A difference I have thought about, between earthly and spiritual adoption is that, like when my parents first took in Natalie-Rose, all we knew about her was that she was a preemie and she needed a family, but God, when he adopted us, chose us, He knew everything about us there is to know. This blows me away! Why, knowing what I would be, would He still take me into His family? An extremely humbling thought.

I'm still uncovering the many layers of this Doctrine and others. I don't claim to even have this one quite right. If any of you Bible-readers see any error, please correct me! This is me taking baby steps further into understanding God and His amazing Love for us, His children.

1 comment:

  1. Don't you love God more and more the more you study theology and doctine?