Sunday 11th February 2018
Adoption is one of those processes with which we think we are pretty familiar. Many of us will have encountered children who have been adopted, and have usually settled well with a new family. It’s a very ancient process too. Well over 2,000 years ago the custom of a childless couple adopting a son and heir to continue the family name was well understood by both the Greeks and the Romans. An adopted child – chosen freely by a couple – had all the rights and privileges of a child born naturally into a family.
The concept was familiar to the bible writers too, and they use it to explain the relationship between God the Father and the people He has chosen – initially the Jews, and then Christian Believers.
How God adopted Israel – the chosen people.
Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit form the eternal Godhead. This Three-in-One God, the Trinity, was perfectly complete in itself. Yet, mysteriously, wanted to draw humanity into relationship with Himself. To attempt to put this into utterly imperfect language, it is as if God said within Himself, ‘We are incomplete without an earthly, human family.’ So He chose, out of His own sovereign will and purpose, a man called Abram. He had beforehand made himself known to Adam, to Noah, and others, but it was different with Abram. Here was the one who ‘Believed God’ and was counted as righteous as a result. This Abram became Abraham, and from his family sprang a great nation, the people of Israel. The bible records covenants made with this family, the law given through them, a land for them to inherit, promises made to them and the opportunity for them to communicate with God as they worshipped. Hence the Bible refers to them as ‘God’s adopted children’.
They were not adopted on the grounds of some intrinsic merit in their makeup; they were not bigger, or stronger than others, it was God who said ‘I want you as my own.’
That is a picture of adoption in its purest sense; it was the offer of a relationship born out of boundless grace.
And God still says to women and men today ‘I love you. Come and be mine’.