Adoption is a beautiful thing. As a parent, you are able to experience the joy of bringing a new family member home for the first time. As a child, you are adopted into a forever family. No longer on your own, you have a family you can rely on who loves you. Some children come from difficult circumstances; and for these kids, in particular, adoption means new life. It’s a chance to start fresh and never again face abuse or neglect.
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The Bible tells us that when we are “born again,” we are adopted into the family of God. Once orphans, we were held in slavery to the power of sin; but as a child of God, we are set free from sin. We are now a part of a loving family with God as our Father. Spiritually speaking, we have no more slavery, abuse, or neglect. We no longer live in darkness but in light, and we pass from death into life.
But what does it mean exactly to be spiritually adopted by the Creator of the universe?
- We are born of the Spirit. In other words, we are “born” into the family of God.
This was a radical revelation for me personally. In today’s culture, adoption is forever. It’s amazing and beautiful. But even though someone is legally adopted, they will never share the same DNA as the family they live with. They will never biologically become part of the family. It’s physically impossible.
Now, this doesn’t take away from the “forever” aspect of adoption. But this version of adoption is not what the Bible teaches when it comes to joining the family of God. We are born into His family by the Spirit.
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, He told him that in order to enter into the kingdom of God, he needed to be “born again.” He needed to be “born of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. It is by this birth that we become children of God. (John 3:1-8)
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- We bear the image of God… sealed by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit plays an active role in the process of being born into God’s family, but that isn’t His only role in our lives. The Bible tells us that He makes His home in us.
When a baby is born, they are helpless. They need guidance, care, love, someone to meet their basic needs, etc. In the same way, the Holy Spirit becomes our guide. He teaches us and leads us in all that we do. He empowers us to accomplish everything God has purposed for our lives.
Ephesians 1:13 tells us that we are “marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” So while all human beings were created in the image of God, it is the seal of the Holy Spirit that identifies us as His children. Romans 8:16 also tells us that it is His Spirit that identifies with our spirit that we are indeed part of the family.
- We were chosen by God to be His sons and daughters.
The use of the word “adoption” (huiothesia) is significant for many reasons. For one thing, it speaks to the fact that our adoption is permanent. God permanently brings us into His family.
Secondly, this word choice by Paul implies that God purposefully chose us. Under Roman rule, it was against the law to disown a child you adopted. They believed that if you chose to adopt a child, you knew what you were getting when you adopted him into the family. (Most Roman adoptions involved adult males and were done for inheritance purposes.)
Oddly enough, it wasn’t against the law to disown your own biological child. In other words, adoption was more permanent than biological sonship in first century Rome.
I am in awe of the fact that Jesus made a way for us to be adopted into God’s family. He longed for us to be born of the Spirit so that we could dwell with Him for all eternity.
He chose us to be His forever sons and daughters!
Our Messiah made a way for us to be born of the Spirit and inherit all that comes with being adopted as a true child of God.
For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23
*Unless otherwise indicated, scripture quotations taken from the NASB.