Typically, in our News Letter we address current events. Sometimes these are things that arise suddenly like Covid. Other times, they are cultural trends which have been brewing for some time. In light of my daughter’s recent adoption, I would like to address a topic which is close to my heart – adoption. In this sense it is “current events” albeit personal current events.
At its core, biblical adoption is a spiritual concept. That is to say that it is a picture of the spiritual reality which takes place in all believers. This adoption is based on the character of God. In God, the fatherless (orphan) finds compassion (Hos. 14:3). He is a Father to the fatherless whom he also watches over (Psalm 146:9; Psa. 68:5-6). God delights in taking the lowly, the oppressed, the needy and meeting their needs (Matt. 5:3)!
It is no wonder than that God delights in saving those who call upon his name and adopting them into his own family – the family of God (Rom. 8:15; Eph. 1:5; Gal. 4:5; John 1:12; I john 3:1-2). As a result, we are now part of the family of God (I Tim. 3:15; Eph 2:19). In this new family we often call one another brother or sister because we recognize that we are part of a new, adopted family. Moreover, we are now fellow heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). In other words, we get all the spiritual benefits the Son has because we’re now adopted into the family of God.
This rich teaching is based largely on the Roman concept of adoption (which is illustrated well in the book/movie Ben Hur) In the Roman world a man could not leave an inheritance to anyone except his sons. Men without sons would adopt an heir, usually an adult or older boy. Once the adoption was complete it was final. The adoptive son would be the legal son of his adoptive father and entitled to all the rights and benefits of a son. Even more striking a father could disown his natural-born son, but an adoption was irreversible. Likewise, the Father forsook the Son while promising us that “I will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5)!”
Biblical adoption is based on God’s lovingkindness toward the (spiritually) needy, so it shouldn’t surprise us that God expects us to show the same compassion toward others who are needy (James. 1:27). The early church exemplified this thought actual adoption; during the early years of the church, Christian women (usually poor slaves) would scoop up babies off the side of the road who had been abandoned (the ancient version of abortion) and left to die. They did so because they were reflecting God’s character by helping the helpless. According to studies, practicing Christians are more than twice as likely to adopt than those who are non-religious. The reason for this is simple. Adoption is prevalent in many cultures, but it is a Christian concept at its heart, especially when it involves those who are helpless. It is a Christian concept not only because it shows the love of Christ to the needy, but it is a beautiful picture of what God has done for us.