The Great Adoption Story
I'm a sucker for a good love story.
Give me a '90s Rom-Com marathon and a few cherry Pull-N-Peel Twizzlers, and I'm set.
If you're like me, you find yourself smiling and laughing alongside these characters - especially when they're played by Sandra and Meg.
These stories are fun to watch because we get to spend an hour and half hoping for love to win.
Isn't that what we all want? Love to win.
And when the end credits come and we realize it was based on a true story... Oh, man. It hits deeper.
Same is true for these stories we've been reading. I hope you've been as inspired and encouraged as I have been. So thankful for these beautiful people willing to share their stories with us. If you haven't had a chance to read these, make it happen. You won't regret it.
A Love that Changes Everything
And the best part - the very best part - is all of these stories point to a bigger story. The greatest story.
The greatest story ever told.
And it includes you and me!
We're invited to be part of this story. It's told within the pages of the Bible and written on our hearts.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's look at the Bible for a minute. What is it? Why do we have it?
Is it just a good idea?
A moral way of living?
The Golden Rule. Yeah, most agree that's a good one.
We may think it's good, but what does it have to do with us?
From cover to cover, the Bible is a love story. Not just any kind of love story. The greatest love story ever told. And it hits deeper, because it's true!
Spoiler alert: LOVE WINS!
That alone should make us want to pick it up and read more.
It's so incredibly great because it's a love none of us deserve.
It's a love we could never earn.
It's a love that changes everything.
Even our own identity.
For this, we can think of the Bible as The Great Adoption Story.
In the beginning, sin entered the world and, with it, we were separated from God. We were orphaned and alone, desperately in need of a Father.
God is holy, set apart. So, a sin so bad could not be with a God so good. We could not be made right and become part of the family of God without sacrifice.
But, that sacrifice came. It was foretold in the beginning when Adam and Eve left the garden. Every story that followed in the Old Testament serves as a giant arrow pointing to the New Testament, where we meet Jesus.
Every ancient story points to Jesus - God's own sacrifice.
It's mind-boggling how incredibly detailed the Author of this book is...and by Author, you know I mean God Himself... It's like He had a supreme plan all along...
The sacrifice of His Son on the cross for our sins made us sons and daughters of God.
He is a God of family, of togetherness, of restoration.
Let that sink in.
Because of Jesus, we are no longer separated, orphaned and hopeless.
Who We Were
We see this painted for us in Paul's letter to the Romans. This will give us a clear understanding of who we were then - before adoption - and who we are now - after adoption.
Get ready, it's good stuff.
First, Paul tells about the purpose of the law. He writes,
"I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law." - Romans 7:7
So the law reveals our need for rescue. It's the thing that makes us realize how short we fall. There were 613 laws, y'all. Keeping all of those all the time or you're doomed? Why even try?
Paul goes on. I so appreciate how transparent he is. He didn't say, "Why try," but in a way, he's uncovering this tendency in us. He writes,
"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do - THIS I KEEP ON DOING. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it but it is sin living in me that does it." - Romans 7:18-20 (emphasis added)
And this next part...
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?" - Romans 7:24
That right there is where we are before adoption. Some of us may find ourselves right there right now. Take courage, my friend. Your rescue is alive! His name is Jesus.
We are wretched people in desperate need of rescuing. We are unable to be good enough and overcome the sinful tendencies in us and we are headed towards death.
There is no sugar-coating this reality.
But, praise God! Spoiler alert: it doesn't end there.
(This doesn't really count as a spoiler because like we said earlier, we already know how this story ends... LOVE WINS. Period. No if's, and's, but's or maybe's. We just have to accept it.)
God had this plan for adoption from the very beginning.
Paul starts the next part with a few of the most freeing words of the Gospel,
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do...God did by sending his own Son...to be a sin offering." - Romans 8:1-4
The requirement of the law was finally met!
Did we do anything? No, Jesus paid it all. We simply accept this gift of salvation and believe.
Paul is on fire with this. He doesn't stop there. Can you imagine being a Roman and reading this letter?! This is revolutionary for us today. Just think what it was like then - as someone who was living under the law and Roman authority?
Law and order was the way of the land.
Paul says now everything has changed! You're not living under the law. You are a CHILD OF GOD!
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God...the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" - Romans 8:14-15
He's not just God. He's FATHER.
We get to call Him Father because we are His children.
And it just keeps on getting better...
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." - Romans 8:17
Do we live in this freedom? I, for one, can sometimes start my prayers with "Father," in a habitual/routine sort of way.
No more. Lord, help me.
This is a gift. It reveals our relationship and our adoption into His family. The family of the Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The cool thing about an adoption - well, it can't be undone.
It's as if it were a covenant.
Okay...not "as if."
It totally was.
If we remember back to Abraham when God said He would make a covenant with him, we know the covenant is a special type of promise. With a contract, both parties sign. If one person doesn't fulfill their end, the deal is off.
Not so with a covenant. It means even if the other person fails on every account, God still keeps His promise.
No matter what.
That's how much He wanted to adopt us!
It was a no-matter-what promise! He wasn't going to let even one mess up stand in the way of having you or having me in His family!
He saw us as the orphaned children we were and, in the same way Shannon (see part 1 of this series) spoke over her not-yet son, "No, I LOVE that baby! Let's see if CPS can let us have him," God said, "No, I LOVE that child. Let's get him! Let's get her!"
Let's find strength not in our ability to do all the right things but in Jesus who paid it all for us. Let's find joy in our identity as a child of God. May peace overwhelm our hearts as we grow into this love that has been lavished over us. May we rest from all fear knowing we are adopted into the highest family and heirs of the Kingdom of God!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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