The following is a transcript of the audio.
Last time, in episode 349, you encouraged folks who were considering adoption with you own story of adopting Talitha when you were 50 years old. Pastor John, do you have any more encouragements or guidance as couples ponder this huge, life shaping issue?
Adoption is huge. It was especially huge for us. At least it seemed at the time just overwhelming to me that my wife wanted to adopt this little girl and I was 50 and that wasn’t in the plan and God had to do a deep work on my life. We had raised only sons. She was going to be now the first daughter. She was going to be African American and I am an old man and this seemed like, whoa, why are we doing this? And God wonderfully turned my heart around.
So I am aware of how huge this can feel for a mom or a dad and they have got to get on the same page about that. And I want to nudge folks in this session towards taking the risk. Adoption is one of the most glorious truths in the Bible, right? I am thinking of God’s adoption of us. And it is glorious, not only because of what it means vertically between us and God, but also because of what it means horizontally between us and our family. I mean the horizontal effects of a vertical experience of being adopted are phenomenal in the Bible and should be in our lives. But vertically this is one of the greatest realities in the gospel. Something that God the Father planned, Jesus the Son achieved and the Spirit of God applies. In other words, it is a trinitarian event. We could get a text for each of those.
So here is the Father in action in adoption. He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:5. So the Father thought this up and destined it, this whole concept of us being adopted into the family of God. And then in Galatians four here is the action of the Son. When the fullness of time had come God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. So Christ died so that I might be adopted into the family of God. And then here comes the Spirit’s role in Romans 8:14. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the 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. The sons by whom we cry Abba, Father. So every time a Christian feels welling up in his heart: Father, God is my Father. I love you.... that is God himself applying his predestined work and the Son’s purchased work in our experience of adoption. So it is simply amazing how powerful, precious, deep and wonderful this is. So that the Spirit comes and he cries: Abba, Father.
And when John the apostle pondered this he was just staggered. He said: Look, look what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called the children of God. And so we are. Beloved. We are God’s children now and what we will be has not appeared, but we know that when he appears we will be like him. John just... it seemed to me in that kind of language is blown over by the kind of love that would look at a sinful human being, send his Son to die for us so that sinners and rebels could not just be saved, but be folded into the very family of God. So the Spirit bears witness with us now of what? That we have a spectacular inheritance.
This is one of the greatest things. I mean, if it is wonderful to belong to God as his child—which it is, it is beyond words wonderful—then to ponder its implications like the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and if children, then heirs of God, fellow heirs with Christ who, by the way, owns everything provided we suffer with him that we may be glorified with him.
So when we ponder the reality of our own adoption, we remember it is an awesome thing, not only because it is showing God’s indescribable love, but also because it is an evidence of his predestined care for us. It is an evidence of Christ’s purchase at infinite cost. It is an evidence of the Holy Spirit’s effort to make it an experienced reality in our lives and it is a proof that we are going to have an inheritance that makes every rich person in this world—Bill Gates, Buffet, whatever—they don’t own anything compared to what we own by inheritance. So this is what God did for us.
So you parents who are considering adoption are about to do something like that. Take a deep breath and say: You are about to do something like that. So be encouraged that not only is it a beautiful thing to imitate, but that your own experience of it is the guarantee that God your Father will be there for you in every single challenge you face in adoption. There is the connection from the vertical and the horizontal. Because of our experience of the vertical, we can now take the massive risks of the horizontal knowing that he is going to be there for us in every way.
Beautiful! Thank you for making those theological connections Pastor John. And, in case you missed it, this is the second part of a little 3-part series on adoption. Be sure to check out yesterday’s episode, #349 to hear the story of Pastor John’s, who chose to adopt at age 50. So assuming a couple does adopt a small child, how do you explain adoption to the child? How early do you start? What do you say? Tomorrow, in episode #351 we will hear from Pastor John on how he and Noel very thoughtfully introduced this topic early on, and some things they did to make the conversation a natural part of their home. I’m your host Tony Reinke, thanks for listening to the Ask Pastor John podcast.