Once far off, now brought near
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Several years ago, a close relative asked my wife and me to care for her child. The boyfriend had gone to prison, and child services would soon intervene to take the child. In order to preserve the child's relationship with the family, we decided to provide care for her. A year ago, we were approached again by the same person to keep another little girl. As my wife and I stepped in to adopt her second child, we sat down to pray and discuss the possibility of adoption. We knew it was the right thing to do. But what was so right about it? There is so much that encouraged my wife and me to adopt, but nothing as much as God's Word.
Adoption displays a biblical picture of our standing with God. (Ephesians 2:1-8)
We are welcomed into God's presence because he allows us. The Bible shows us that we were "dead in our transgressions and sins" and "by nature deserving of wrath." While this is our natural standing, we now with faith in Christ are given a new standing. Adoption beautifully illustrates this change. A child, once far off and in despair, is brought near by God into his loving family, the church.
Adoption reminds us of the sanctity of life. (Genesis 1:27; Exodus 20:13)
A child's life is precious. We know this because God lovingly bestowed his very image upon man from the outset of creation. This suggests a certain preciousness about mankind in the eyes of God. Consider the sixth commandment. If we take it in both a negative and positive sense, the commandment also demands that we are to preserve life. Not only are we to abstain from murder, but we are to cherish the dignity of a human life. This care and compassion for life specifically relates to the idea of adoption.
Adoption demonstrates godly character. (James 1:23-27)
To achieve godly character words need to be put into right action. James writes about this kind of character and says that you will be a "doer" of the Word. Interestingly enough, he connects the idea to visiting orphans in their distress with abiding in God's Word. The man who does this is exercising a faith that is "pure and undefiled." What better way to demonstrate godly character than to show it through adoption.
Adoption demonstrates redemption. (Luke 10:25-37)
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, a man is robbed, beaten and left on the side of the road. Several men go by without assisting the man, except a Samaritan. The Samaritan had compassion and rescued the man. Here we get a stunning picture of redemption. The beaten man is cared for and restored. Adoption is a beautiful way to restoration in a child's life, much in the same way that we have been restored into right standing with God.
Adoption provides an opportunity to disciple. (Matthew 28:19)
By adopting a child, Christians are in fact fulfilling the Great Commission. Coming from a background where my wife and I were unable to have children, discipleship was seemingly only something we could do to impact those outside the family; however, by adopting, we can now disciple our own children as well. We teach them to follow Christ, show them that the gospel wholly transforms and how to walk the path of telling others that good news.
Adoption conveys hope. (Romans 8:23-25)
As Paul wrote, believers yearn for adoption themselves. The hope that comes from such a yearning is twofold when considering adoption. Not only does a child hope for a better present reality (environment, family, stability), but there is hope for the future as we are brought near. Adoption inspires hope because it exclaims that we have a Father who has come for us in the most hopeless of circumstances. May we all have a compassion that goes out to those who have not realized that we indeed have a Father who adopts us as sons and daughters through no merit of our own.