By James Losey
Next week my family will be celebrating “Gotcha Day” for the 7th time. It is the anniversary of when my family adopted a beautiful little girl from China. As I write this she is bopping around in the backyard, giggling in a colorful sundress, with her hair in pigtails. She loves Jesus, the color pink, candy, and superhero movies. She is a massive blessing to our family. We don’t view her as different, but as one with the family. It is a daily reminder of God’s grace in my personal life, and it is a reminder of my own adoption as a child of God. Like my little sister, we don’t ask to be adopted; we don’t do works outside of the work of the Holy Spirit to gain salvation. Our heavenly father stepped into our sinful, messed up lives and adopted us as His own. We are all God’s creation, but not all of God’s adopted children.
Before we were adopted as children of God, we were created in the image of God, but we rebelled against a Holy and just God, that image was now shattered…Sin had entered the world.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” - Ephesians 2:1-9
Because of our sin, we are children of wrath and enemies of God. But because of God’s grace, Christ took the punishment and wrath we deserved, and was nailed to the cross. We have been reconciled to Him. God has shown His fatherly love by restoring our fellowship, which was shattered by our sin.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” – Romans 5:8-10
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the Spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided with Him. For I consider that suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:14-19
Because He has reconciled and adopted sinners we are no longer under the spirit and bondage of sin, but under the Spirit of adoption, which allows us to call God…Father. What grace to lavish upon those who were children of wrath, those who deserved the full justice of God, by dying for us and adopting us into the family with privileges. Like a good father, He has supplied our every need.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:19
Even though God privileged us by supplying our every need according to the riches of His glory, it’s also important to point out that God has also privileged us with the responsibility of picking up our cross and following Him daily, which leads to times of hardship. The life we live is no longer the life we left behind, but the life we now have in Christ. We have to battle our sin daily, we have to face the sinful pressures of our culture.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’ ”– Matthew 16:24-25
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” – John 15:18-19
We are not of this world, but heirs of Christ. Before the foundations of the world God chose us to be children of God, so we may be joint heirs with Christ, not because God found us worthy, but to the praise and glory of His will. Those who are adopted are given the full rights and privileges of the Father, gifted with being led by the Holy Spirit, who transforms us into the image of Christ, which changes our desires and our will to the desires and will of our heavenly Father, who is Holy and pure. The Holy Spirit is our guide and our helper, always leading the children of God to obedience.
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:11-14
Not only are we privileged to be adopted, privileged to have every need supplied, privileged to be co-heirs, privileged to suffer with Christ, privileged with the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are also privileged to take part in the great commission with a family of brothers and sisters in Christ. Because we are God’s children we have a deeper relationship with each other. The Church is God’s family and God has given us gifts to use so we can guide each other into a deeper relationship that brings God honor, glory, and praise.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:15-16
That is the beauty of adoption. Looking back at my little sister, I see the beauty of the gospel, I see that adoption is the gospel, and earthly adoption is a reflection of that. A reflection I hope and pray we would all consider as brothers and sister in Christ.
In conclusion I ask: Do you understand that you are a sinner deserving of God’s wrath, but because of God’s justice and grace, His son Jesus Christ was crushed on the cross for His glory and our sin? Do you understand that if you are in Christ you are adopted and loved like no other earthly parent could ever love?
If you are a true believer you are a child of God, adopted as heirs. Do you live up to that standard, are you continually being transformed into the image of Christ through the Spirit, or are you returning to your sin as children of wrath do?