"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba Father'"   (Romans 8:15).

I have always cringed while reading scriptures like this. It has always bothered me when I hear about us being "adopted" into God's family. I mean, it's not that I don't feel very happy and blessed to be in God's family, it's just that I feel very pathetic when I hear about being adopted like that. It's as if God felt sorry for me, a poor orphan, and took pity on me and brought me into His family. I think you know what I mean. I feel like I'm really not one of God's kids, not related by blood, but he felt sorry for me and adopted me into His family anyway. Have you ever felt this way? I believe it's because of our concept of adoption.

Man's Idea of Adoption

Have you ever seen the musical call "Annie?" It was based on the comic strip call "Little Orphan Annie." It's basically about this little girl named Annie who lives in a horrible old orphanage with some other little girls. The head of the orphanage, Miss Hannagan, is a mean drunk who makes the girls work all day long scrubbing the floors and cleaning the windows. Annie is always trying to escape but she always gets caught.

One day a pretty young woman knocks on the door and tells Miss Hannagan that she is the secretary for Mr. Oliver Warbucks, the famous billionaire. She says that she has come to select an orphan to come and stay at the Warbucks mansion for a week as some kind of P.R. move for the billionaire. You guessed who she chooses. After they arrive at the mansion, Annie is asked what she would like to do first. Her reply is, "I think I'll start with the windows, then work my way down to scrubbing the floors." The secretary laughs, "No, you don't understand dear, you don't have to do any work here. You are here to enjoy yourself!" Annie gets into lots of trouble that week. However, she ends up winning the heart of "Daddy" Warbucks, not by her works, but just by being herself. Warbucks adopts Annie.

Our Backward Mindset

This article is not about works and grace, but I do want to touch upon our idea of adoption. What is the main advantage of adoption? That's simple; choice. You get to choose who your son or daughter is going to be. With natural childbirth, you have no choice. Whoever is born to you, that's your choice! But what is the main disadvantage to adoption? Isn't it the fact that the child will never be your own blood relation? Our concept of adoption is that it is a last resort for those who cannot have children naturally. We also feel sorry for children like Annie because they have no real home and nobody wants them.

The way that God adopts, however, is totally different!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will" (Eph. 1:3-5).

The adoption of God is nothing like that of the world. His adoption is completely glorious!

Spiritual Birth

In order to become a part of God's family, you don't have to wash the windows and scrub the floors! There are no "adoption" papers to sign to make everything legal. That is only necessary when the "adoption" is based on the law and the child will only be joined to the parents legally and not naturally. In God's household, children must be born into the family. They must be His blood kin! You must be born from above (Jn. 3).

The Chosen of God

Not only are God's kids born into His family, they are also chosen before the foundation of the world! God chose us in Christ before there was anything! Do you see the glorious fullness of God's plan and purpose? He chose those who would be born to Him by nature. This is better than childbirth as we know it because He actually got to choose who would be born to Him. He saw you before creation and still chose you to be born in Him! What a gracious God! In fact, you didn't have to do anything to impress Him in order for Him to choose you. He chose you because of who you are! Before there was time, God saw you in Christ and chose you to be born (in time) into His family. He must have liked what He saw. How did He choose us before we were even created? I have no idea. But remember, God is not bound by time or space. He can see us before we were created because there is no before with God. This is God's idea of adoption. Now aren't you glad that you were adopted by Him?

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