Three KINDS of “Adoption”
Cookie is a good little dog and she hasn’t made but 5 piddles in our house in two weeks. She is getting the idea that outdoors is her toilet and not my nice carpet. John and I installed an invisible fence ourselves and we just started today training her with it. (She doesn’t like that jolt!)
All of this puppy activity got me to thinking. Why do they call it “pet adoption”? Is that really the best choice of words? Why not pet purchase … or pet domination … or pet slavery? (slavery won’t work, because they don’t do a darned thing constructive!) How about pets as sojourners? I mean, are we really adopting them?
When a family adopts a real child, that child becomes a real part of the family. We don’t tell the other kids, “Oh, she will only live for about 14 years and then we will have to put her to sleep.” Or “don’t feed that child! She gets the little round pellets in the bowl over there.” Would we ever refuse medical treatment and opt for euthanasia because it costs $500? . . . or put an ad in the paper: “free to a good home” because our adopted child wasn’t “working out”? Would a family ever put their adopted child in a cage? (not usually!) Even more absurd: would you take that child to the doctor as an infant and fix him/her to make sure he/she can’t reproduce?! God forbid!
Families that adopt children are usually a special kind of people, I think. They have abandoned the idea that they need to see their own likeness in the child they call their own. They take someone else’s biological child and value that child just as if it was birthed from their own loins. And that child is their child, even if it doesn’t look like them or have their disposition.
After pondering these things, I started thinking about the Heavenly Father and how he has used the concept of adoption to explain to us what He wants for us. He has used this word, this concept “adoption.” We are not all God’s children as some like to think. We are fatherless children by nature because of sin, but He has extended His hand to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. By His death, burial and resurrection for our sin, we can be cleansed from all sin and filth and brought into the family of God. He wants us to have this forgiveness of sins and everlasting life by becoming part of Christ, who is His Son.
In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5)
Unlike our kind of adoption (of children not dogs), He doesn’t have just a small number of bedrooms in which to put a few sons or daughters. He can adopt many! Have you ever read how big heaven is? HUGE!!
Furthermore, no human child has to be born twice to become a part of a loving human family … to become adopted … one birth is enough for a child to enter this world. (all the mothers said amen!) The new family just takes him/her home. God’s adoption of us is really something different than what we humans do with children. He somehow births us as a part of our adoption.
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you . . . (John 14:2)
Those who are saved or born again by having trusted Christ for His cleansing of sin have been adopted. As we grow in Christ, we somehow inherit His disposition and begin to “look” like Him (in our spirits) … even while in this flesh. We are REAL sons and daughters of God!
To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:11-13)
You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15)
Somehow, our future holds an even more complete assimilation into the family of God as He transforms our bodies into that which He was after His resurrection.
So God’s adoption of us is not unlike our adoption of children, but it is so much more! He has rescued us from sure destruction! (I could write extensively about how God’s adoption of us is not like our adoption of dogs, but why?) OK . . . He doesn’t cage us, He wants us to reproduce, and He gives us all the best things to eat!
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)