Thursday, April 12, 2012

Family Matters

As many as received Him, to them He gave the right, the authority,
 to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name.

-- John 1:12

Baseball legend Babe Ruth. Apple computer mastermind Steve Jobs. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Country music superstars Faith Hill and Shania Twain.

Other than being famous for excelling at their professions, what do they have in common? They were all adopted. In the United States last year, there were about 1.5 million adoptions. And as anyone who has been through the process can tell you, adoption can be stressful, tedious and very expensive. Arrangements with birth parents can fall through at the last minute. And related agency fees, court costs and attorney fees can easily exceed tens of thousands of dollars. But for the right adoptive parents whose hearts are set on a special child, no price is too high.

Scripture reveals that God is quite familiar with the adoption process, its struggles and legalities. That’s because in a very real sense, He’s the adoptive parent of every Christ-follower. When we first put our faith in His Son—Jesus Christ—as our Savior, God acted legally on our behalf and paid all the related costs. The result? Our adoption into God’s Royal Family.

But just as adopted children don’t pick their new parents, John’s Gospel reminds us the same is true for our heavenly adoption. “You did not choose me; I chose you,” Jesus told His disciples. “And I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name.”

Before God became our Heavenly Father, we were spiritually dead. And from breaking God’s laws, our sinfulness had made us His enemies...and He the Judge. What’s so remarkable is that this same Judge has declared us “not guilty” because of His willingness to pay the price of our adoption through Jesus’ death on the cross. And for us—through our adoption—came a change of family, name and home. As God’s adopted children, it also meant an array of new well as life-changing responsibilities.

The implications are remarkable. God—as our loving Father—is now approachable through prayer. He’s no longer some cold, impersonal Being accessible only through a priest. In fact, Jesus outraged the strict religious authorities of the day by referring to God as “Abba,” or “Daddy.” And He’s a Daddy who watches out for His children.

Indeed, the Creator of our vast universe cares for us so much and knows us so intimately that He’s literally counted the hairs on our head! He’s willing to pay any price to adopt us into His family. And for every Christ-follower, that’s exactly what He forever convey His name, protection, inheritance and love.

2 comments: said...

Nice one Doug! So here's the next thought- Does God give us any gift so that we will keep them to ourselves? Are we supposed to be the Red Sea of God's blessing where all the water flows in and none flows out? Or even with this gift of adoption, should we then turn around and pass that gift on to others?

Doug said...

In the most literal sense, there are indeed some gifts that God wishes us to keep for ourselves. For instance, “sharing” one’s spouse—that special person God gave you to love, care for and cherish for life—would not be kosher. And in Matthew 7, Jesus cautions against casting one’s pearls before swine. I’m sure there are other examples, but those two come to mind at the moment.

God expects Christ-followers to use His gifts and blessings to benefit others and show Him at work (basket/lampstands/bearing fruit/etc.) in the world. The specifics depend on the particular gift/blessing and the circumstances. As for God’s gift of adoption into His family, passing it on through the secular adoption process depends on whether or not God has dispensed the gift of parenting/nurturing/etc. The fact that so many children are eligible for adoption indicates that there’s no shortage of unwilling/uncaring and otherwise unfit parents. That said, those who are not called to be parents (naturally or via adoption) can still use their God-given blessings, talents and gifts to help make the world a better place for spiritual and/or literal orphans.