Originally posted on The Gospel Coalition Blog by Chelsea Patterson.
Apart from the gift of my salvation, earthly adoption is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. I was an orphan—both physically and spiritually. My story began in Romania with a 19-year-old unwed girl who wasn’t able to take care of me. The Lord sovereignly chose adoption for me. I am blessed that a man and a woman from the United States made a decision that radically altered my life forever when they traveled across the world and chose me as their daughter.
I was rescued from a life void of love and care and freely given a new life beyond my wildest dreams. Adoption is immensely personal, because I was specifically chosen, sought out, bought, declared to have all the rights and privileges of being a member of a new family, and most importantly, loved beyond belief.
As I pause to meditate on my adoption from Romania, I cannot help but meditate on an even greater adoption.
Earthly adoption, while incredible, must be viewed as a representing God’s greater adoption. My adoption was a result of sin—the fallen nature of man and the specific sin of my birth parents. The greater adoption redeems from sin.
Whom did Jesus intentionally seek out while he was doing his earthly ministry? The sick, the outcast, the children, the sinners—those whom most Americans shy away from, those whom most Americans build their perfect little lives in order to avoid. We don’t want to “get dirty,” we don’t want to love until it hurts, and we don’t want to sacrifice. But that is what Christ has called us to do.
The Great Commission is beautifully and accurately displayed in adoption. God commands his followers to go into all the world making disciples. The Lord has called his church and his people to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth. John Piper said it well when he taught, “The gospel is not a picture of adoption, adoption is a picture of the gospel.”
If the Lord chooses you for adoption, and you repent and trust in his finished work of Jesus on the cross to atone for your sins, you are adopted into his family. As a result, you receive the King of the universe as your Father, you are granted full access to come to him, and you are called his own.
God did not choose to adopt you because of anything you did, for we are completely undeserving of his great adoption. As a helpless baby in Romania, I could not do anything to prove that I was worthy of being adopted. I could not work my way into my earthly father’s heart. I could do nothing but accept and enjoy the gift of adoption. As God’s child, there is nothing you can do to make him love you more, for he has already given the greatest gift—his Son.
Delight in the greater adoption. Live as one who knows you have God as your Father. You were purchased by the precious blood of Jesus, redeemed from sin, and offered an eternal inheritance.
Every February, my family remembers my adoption day. We exchange flowers, hugs, tears, good memories, and love. Like other former orphans, I consider my adoption day a cause of great celebration. But how much greater and more worthy of celebration is our salvation and the greater adoption! Praise the Father that you are his own. Meditate on the implications of this great adoption for your life, the life of the body, and for those who don’t call God their father. Thank the Lord that he redeemed you, encourage your brothers and sisters with the truths of the greater adoption, and seek to share this redemption and love with those who aren’t yet God’s children.