“Adoption is the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification.. . To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.” J.I. Packer
When I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s, I did not know anyone who was adopted. Even though at least one person in my schools might have been adopted, it was not very common then. And if someone was adopted, the kid might not have known they were, or they were told by their parents not to tell others they were adopted. That stigma associated with adoption was very real, but oh so unfortunate. Let me explain briefly.
My wife and I have been married since 1984, but we could not have our own children. So, in about 1996, we began the long and laborious process to adopt a child from here in the US. Finally, in May of 1998, we were asked by our agency if we would consider adopting an infant of East Indian descent who may possibly be deaf. We called the agency the next day and said yes, and within about 2 weeks, we had brought home a beautiful 7-week-old girl who we named Abigael. By the way, Abigael means in Hebrew and Gaelic, “My father rejoices.” And, boy, did I ever (and still do!)
From my and my wife’s perspective, we did not have to learn to love this child — it happened immediately, and we could not imagine loving Abi any less than if we had a natural-born society. I believe this is a work of God that practically any other parent of an adopted child would attest to. And this is because adoption is what God does for each of us when we are saved by Christ.
As Packer mentions in the quote above, in salvation and justification, God does not just declare clean of sin with the righteousness of Jesus, but God goes a step further and amazingly places believers in His family, with all of the rights of a dearly-loved member of the family.
As W.E. Vine writes in his Expository Dictionary, believers are assured of their adoption by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And this adoption by God is not to be some third-cousin by marriage in God’s family, but to be deliberately chosen by God to have all of the fatherly concern of the Father and all of the rights of His own daughters and sons.
To be directly chosen, to have all of the privilege and standing of the Son of God with the Father — this is a wonderful and incredible fact of the gospel! I will have more to share on this important aspect of our relationship with the Father and the Son. Rejoice, dear friends!