In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Adoption is dear to me because it made me a mom. When you experience first hand the pining for a child, when you endure the excruciating wait, then nothing is sweeter than finally holding your baby. This verse gave me a new perspective once I became a parent. Now when I consider that the Father predestined me for adoption, it fills me with hope and confidence and gratitude.
Recently a friend told me that her son’s adoption had not gone smoothly. My girls went from the hospital crib to my home, but her child was older. He had no clue that his living situation was not ideal, and that life with adopted parents would be vastly superior. I imagine he was afraid, even angry, that his life changed so drastically because of what others deemed best. Regardless of the wisdom of those in authority over him, he thought he knew what it was to be happy. If I’m happy, why do I need saving?
My parents were Christians when they married. Like an adopted newborn who has little contact with birth family, I never knew a family life or a spiritual belief different from my upbringing. But an unbeliever grappling with the gospel faces the decision—do I want to be adopted by this Father?
This is an important question to consider. Salvation is offered to us freely, and we can’t earn it, but there is a cost involved. Jesus paid for it with His life, and our lives become His in return. It is not unreasonable for someone to question the personal cost. Do I really need rescuing? Is it worth it?
Adoption changes your identity. When my older daughter Eden was born, I remember being surprised at the process of finalizing the adoption. I knew that adoptions used to be so private that the birth families’ names were withheld and the records sealed. But this was an open adoption, and it shocked me that, once we went before the judge, a new birth certificate would be issued that named Katie and Todd Beasley as her parents. It still seems odd to me that there isn’t a special notation on her birth certificate, or a couple of extra blanks to accommodate the names of her birth parents.
But the fact that there isn’t another box to check on the form highlights the dramatic shift that occurs when a child is transferred, irrevocably, from one family to another. It is as extreme as reversing the tilt of the earth’s axis.
Adoption is radical, drastic, binding, permanent.
The official records make it appear that our girls were born to us. They have a new identity once the judge swings his gavel. We love our girls’ birthmothers, and we want to honor them and the heritage that links them to our children. But now, the primary influence in the girls’ lives is all Beasley. The old is gone. The new has come.
In choosing Christ, I choose adoption. I accept that the primary influence in my life is Jesus. I choose the new identity, waving goodbye to the old and embracing the new.
I could look at the life I have, determine that I am happy and content, and reject the invitation of the Lord to belong to Him. Like a little child who doesn’t recognize adoption as a rescue from a treacherous world, I might not see my need for a Savior.
And this is the case for some. They see the cost of giving themselves over to adoption and discard the invitation. They view the life that they choose, and the identity that they have crafted for themselves, as superior to being a child of God. They refuse to transfer authority to Him, not realizing that, even without their consent, He is in authority over all.
I’ve been through the pain of loss and the arduous process of adopting. It is costly, and at times you wonder if the wait will ever end. But adoption is something to which you commit yourself, anticipating the joy that will follow. Reading this verse, I see so many parallels to the cross and my experience with earthly adoption. God determined to have His children. He made His love and commitment evident by putting His own son on the cross for us. Jesus, “for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). His blood is the currency which cancels the debt incurred by our sin.
Jesus is the earnest payment that invites us to adoption as children of God.
Without a heavenly Father, you are orphaned in a broken and dangerous world. Maybe you are so happy with the life you have built for yourself that you can’t believe anything is missing.
Or, maybe you feel the need. You try to ignore it, but it nags you. The things that you run after never seem to pan out. The chase is exhausting and you are tired of being hurt. Whatever you believe will satisfy is never enough. Maybe you’ve begun to recognize that you need saving.
Coming to Jesus is a rescue, but He doesn’t snatch you out of danger then pat you on the back, wish you luck, and send you on your merry way. Adoption changes everything.
A dramatic transformation.
A new identity.
A Father and a family and an inheritance of glory and joy.
Do you know Him? Are you now enjoying the relationship with a loving heavenly Father? Thank Him now for not just saving you, but irrevocably holding you as His very own.
Does being adopted as His child sound like what you need? If you are starting to recognize that you need Him but aren’t sure what to do, I would love to hear from you. My email is at the bottom of each post. In the meantime, my prayers are for this post to light up the screen of whoever needs to read it.
Peace and grace to you all,