Recently my cousin and her husband adopted a baby. They had been waiting and praying for a child for a long time, as had their family and friends. It was difficult to wait, difficult not knowing when or even if they would have a child of their own. But at last the wait is over, and their loved ones rejoice with them that they have a son to call their own. Although he was born to a different mother, he is now legally their child in every way. The adoption papers are complete, and he shares their name and their home from here on out. They intentionally went about the adoption process, for you see, there’s no such thing as an unplanned adoption. And that’s a great comfort to me, because I, too, am adopted.
Now, before those of you who know me get indignant about that last statement, I’ll explain in a bit. But first let’s look at a few characteristics of adoptions, shall we?
1. Adoptions are planned. You hear of unplanned and even unwanted pregnancies, but I’ve never heard of an unplanned adoption. Adoptive parents choose deliberately to adopt; it doesn’t just happen by accident.
2. Adoption is expensive. Most adoptions are also rather costly. There are fees to the adoption agency, and if a couple adopts a child from another country, they also have to pay airfare and other expenses to get to that country to take their new child home.
3. Adoption is a rescue. Another thing that holds true for most adoptions is that the adopted child has been rescued from a less-than-ideal life. Most children who are given up for adoption are either orphans or are born to mothers who are incapable of raising them for one reason or another. An adopted child may be rescued from a life of poverty, substance abuse, neglect, or life in an orphanage or series of foster homes. They are adopted into homes of loving parents who can provide for them emotionally and materially.
4. Adoption is legal and binding. The adopted child becomes the legal child of his or her adoptive parents. Once the papers are complete, the birth mother can’t get the child back. He or she has a new name and belongs to new parents. They don’t have to fear that the child will be taken away from them.
There’s no question about it—adoption is a beautiful thing. And I am indeed adopted, and chances are, so are you. Ephesians 1:5 tells us, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…” We are adopted by God Himself into His family! And all of those characteristics that I listed above apply to those of us who are adopted Christians.
1. Adoptions are planned. Back up a verse in Ephesians to 1:4 and see what God’s Word tells us about this. “For he [God] chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Think of that! The only perfect parent in the world has deliberately chosen us as His children even before the world began. Titus 1:2 reiterates that point. “[A] faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time…” None of us were around before the beginning of time, so to whom did God promise this? To the Son! From all eternity, the Triune God has longed for, planned, and worked to establish our salvation. Talk about planning ahead! God’s work of salvation was no mere accident. He did it purposefully and intentionally.
2. Adoption is expensive. It wasn’t cheap or convenient for God to adopt us. It cost Jesus His very life. Jesus lived the perfect life we could never live, and He offered that perfect life as the only acceptable sacrifice when He died on that cross. He suffered God’s wrath in our place. And His resurrection was the guarantee that God accepted His sacrifice. Like many earthly parents who adopt, God went to great lengths to adopt us as His own. Yes, it was expensive, but it was worth the cost to Him. You were worth the cost.
3. Adoption is a rescue. We weren’t God’s children by nature, you see. The brutal truth is that we belonged instead to sin, death, and the devil. But God rescued us from that way of life, which leads only to eternal death. Colossians 1:13 tells us, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” What a rescue indeed!
4. Adoption is legal and binding. Those of us who are Christians now bear Christ’s name, and a new home awaits us in heaven. Sure, the devil will try his hardest to get us back, but he no longer has any claim over us. We are covered in the blood of Jesus, which is more legal and binding than any adoption documents here on earth. We need not fear that the devil can claim us any longer, because our Father won’t let that happen. We are His children now.
Whether or not you have been adopted by earthly parents, never forget that you have been adopted by God Himself. He deliberately planned your adoption as His child, He has paid the price for you, He has rescued you from a life of despair and hopelessness, and you are His child now in every way. Your heavenly Father chose you, and He’s not gonna let you go.