Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Sovereignty of God in Adoption

"And I will be a father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me," says the Lord God Almighty. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:18

The dapper, young man in the photo is my nephew. He will turn four next month. His first name is Jay. I took this photo of Jay shortly before he, his new family, and many of his new relatives entered a courtroom. Jay walked into the courtroom a Ugandan orphan being loved and cared for by an American family. Jay left the courtroom a member of the family, the son of Ian and Cheryl Pari, and forever afforded all of the rights and privileges of a natural born son. His adoption was complete, affirmed, sealed, and secured.

Jay is the fifth of five children. He has two older sisters (from Liberia) who are also adopted. And he has an older brother and sister who are Ian and Cheryl's natural born children.

Jay's former name was Jay Amani. Jay was abandoned on the side of the road, in Jinja, Uganda, when he was about two weeks old. The police found him and took him to the hospital. A social worker at the hospital asked the Amani Baby Cottage to care for him. The name of the orphanage served as his last name. Jay's new and complete name is Jay Joseph Askari Pari.

Click here to listen to Jay say his name. And pay particular attention to the genuine enthusiasm and authentic joy in this little child's voice. He is very proud of and very thankful for his new name.

The blessing of being in the courtroom and sharing in that beautiful moment when Jay received his new name reminded me of the sovereignty of God, as seen in His adoption of those He has drawn to Himself, extending to each of them the free gift of eternal life only He can give, as a result of the beautiful "Doctrine of Grace"--Election.

Jay's adoption process began almost two years ago when his adoptive parents chose him to be their child. As a toddler, Jay was utterly incapable of initiating the adoption process. His desire to be adopted, to have a family of his own (to the extent a two-year-old can have such a desire), held no bearing in his subsequent adoption. What orphan does not want to be adopted? Yet how many are never adopted? The child does not decide to be adopted. It is the loving adoptive parents that choose to adopt the child.

How amazing is God's grace! Just as my sister and brother-in-law chose Jay to be their son, so too has Almighty God chosen to be the Father of those He sovereignly saves from His holy wrath. God, so merciful and gracious and loving and kind, sovereignly chose to redeem His children who were once pinned under the curse of the Law. "So that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God" (Galatians 4:5-7).

It is the will of the parents, not the will of the child that results in adoption. Likewise, it is the sovereign will of God, not the will of sinful man that results in the adoption of those who repent and believe the gospel. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).

"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 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!' The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (Romans 8:14-16).

My sister and brother-in-law extended loving grace to Jay when they adopted him. Jay never sought them out. They flew halfway around the world seeking to make this precious child one of their own children. Jay was adopted solely because of the kind intention of his adoptive parents. Such is the kind intention of Almighty God. "He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved . . . Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to his purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:5-6, 11).

Yes, how beautiful and awesome is the grace of God! How blessed are those who are known to Him as sons and daughters! And how loving it is that God the Father chose to make adoption possible for those whom he sovereignly chooses, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 'I will proclaim your name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.' And again, 'I will put My trust in Him.' And again, 'Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.' Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives" (Hebrews 2:10-15).

Little "J.J." cherishes his new name. The orphanage that was once his home is but a fleeting memory. With the help of his parents (he could not do it on his own), Jay has left the orphanage behind in exchange for a new home and a new hope, and new promises. Jay says his name with such enthusiasm because he not only believes it is his name. He knows it is his name. He has been told so by his parents.

Oh, what an eternal blessing it is to have the kind of joy, hope, confident assurance, and faith this little boy has in his new life and his new name when one thinks of their relationship with Almighty God. Yes, such a relationship is possible. But it is only possible through genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Apart from the wonder-working, grace-filled, loving, saving, and sovereign work of God, you are a spiritual orphan. There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn, deserve, or orchestrate your adoption as one of God's children.

It might help you come to terms with this reality if you take a moment to see yourself as God sees you--not as you see yourself. Most people see themselves as good and worthy of God's love, forgiveness, and, yes, even adoption. But are you good in God's eyes? Take this simple test and see if you are, in fact, a good person.

Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Then according to God’s Law (The Ten Commandments), and by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemer at heart. Does that sound like a good person?

If God judges you according the perfect standard of His Law, He will find you guilty and sentence you to eternity in hell, which is the just punishment for your sins against Him. But there is good news. God doesn’t want to send you to hell. So, He sent His sinless Son, Jesus Christ—God in the flesh. He took upon himself the punishment you rightly deserve for your sins against God when He shed His innocent blood and died on the cross. Three days later, He defeated death when He rose from the grave.

So, what must you do to be saved? You must recognize that you cannot save yourself or escape God’s judgment. You can no more demand to be adopted as a child of God then Jay could demand to be adopted as a child in the Pari Family. Jay did not earn or deserve adoption by his parents. Likewise, you cannot earn or deserve your adoption by the God who gave you life.

You must confess your sins against God, repent (turn away from your sins), and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Your only hope is to receive the free gift of eternal life, which is given by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Then, and only then, will this be true about you. "'And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,' says the Lord Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:18).

1 comment:

Marissa Lynn said...

Great article. :D