Summary: Since we are adopted we have a responsibility to promote adoption.
“The Gift Goes On”
Several years ago the Kalamazoo Public Schools made the national news with the announcement of The Kalamazoo Promise. As you may know, some generous anonymous donors gifted large sums of money to establish a fund that would provide students educated in the Kalamazoo Public Schools with money for attending public Michigan colleges. That’s what I call a gift that goes on. This morning we celebrate another gift that goes on – the gift of adoption.
We begin where the Bible begins. WHY DO WE NEED TO BE ADOPTED? As the Apostle Paul wrote (Eph. 2:12) “…remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, we were kicked out of the house, out of the family. We are by nature children of wrath who are disobedient and rebellious. So we need to be adopted BECAUSE WE WERE BORN INTO A SINFUL FAMILY AND WERE THEREFORE OUTSIDE THE FAMILY OF GOD. The only way to get on the family tree, said Paul, was to be grafted in – to be adopted.
So the Bible states that WE ARE ADOPTED. But just what does ‘adopt’ mean? The dictionary DEFINES it as “to choose for or take to oneself; make one’s own by selection or assent...to take or receive into any kind of new relationship…to take as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act.” So to be adopted means TO BE CHOSEN TO BE MOVED FROM ONE GROUP OR FAMILY INTO ANOTHER. Gerald Penix describes it well. “My wife and I waited 15 years for a child that never came by the natural way. However we were approached one day with a lead of a newborn not yet born. I remember standing in front of the judge on our day of adoption. He pointed his finger and asked of me, “Is anyone coercing you to adopt this little boy?” After we had assured him that we were doing so out of love for our son, he made this statement. “From today on, he is your son. He may disappoint you, even grieve you but he is your son. Everything you own one day will be his and he will bear your name.” Then he looked to the clerk and gave this command. “So order a change in this child’s birth certificate and may it reflect that these are the parents of this child.””
So HOW IS IT WE CAME TO BE ADOPTED? God began with the tiny NATION OF ISRAEL. He decided to love them and bring them into His family. (Dt. 7:7) “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you…” So God went to work and freed Israel from bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt and led them into a new home, a Promised Land. The Old Testament tells the history of God’s working in the life Of this chosen, adopted people, because he loved them.
Yet we were not part of Israel so how did we get adopted? In 1st century Greek times, parents adopted children in their adolescence, after they had proven their worthiness to carry on the family’s name. But the Bible tells us that with God our Father it was different. Paul wrote (Gal. 4:4-7) “So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, GOD SENT HIS SON, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Adoption is not free – there is a huge cost to pay. So God our Father sent Jesus to die in order to pay for our adoption. As someone said, “The price of our adoption was the emptying of heaven of its greatest treasure, God the Son, who is our Savior." On the day of His resurrection Jesus said to Mary, in the Garden, “Go to my brothers and tell them I’m ascending to my Father and your Father.” Your Father. Mission accomplished. We were adopted. In Jesus God brought us from one family into another and made us His own. We now belong to Him.
Rob Willis has pointed out that “on January 29, 2003, Athina Roussel became the richest teenager on the planet, inheriting a fortune estimated at that time to be between $800 million to $1 billion; and it all came from her grandfather, Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis through her mother. In 1988, when Athina was 3, her mother, Christina Onassis died at age 37. All of Christina’s assets were left in trust to her only child, Athina, who turned 18 in 2003 and was legally able to receive her inheritance. But she had to wait for the money until she was 18! But our spiritual inheritance is different than this. When Paul wrote Ephesians 1:5, he was undoubtedly aware that Roman law allowed for adopted children to enjoy the same rights as natural children. And because we are sons of God, we have an inheritance, and blessings, and riches that are ours in Christ. But unlike Athina Onassis, we are not required to wait in order to receive our inheritance. Adoption is the act of God by which He gives his (children) an ADULT STANDING in the family. Why does He do this? God has adopted us and given us the right of sonship so that we might immediately begin to claim our inheritance and enjoy our spiritual wealth!” We are the children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, with full rights and privileges to the family fortune. We are co-heirs with Jesus. And all because of God’s great love. What a gift.