I have a friend who has four children, one of whom is adopted. I was with him once when he met someone for the first time and was answering questions about himself. When the question ”which one was adopted“ was asked, he gave his usual reply. With a dismissive wave of his hand he replied, ”Oh, I can’t remember.” It was his way of saying that all of his children were precious, equal, and loved.

Do you know that God feels the same way about you?

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he addressed a situation that had arisen between the “Judiazers”(Jewish converts) and the Gentile Christians. The Judiazers were insisting that converts to Christianity had to become Jewish (under the law) before becoming Christian. This involved many aspects of Judaism, including mandatory circumcision.

Can you imagine your Evangelism team going out door-to-door with that? That’s a hard pass, fellows.

Fortunately, Paul made the case that Jews and Gentiles were all adopted into the faith equally, and there was no need to go through the Law first:

Galatians 4 (Common English Bible)

But when the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son, born through a woman, and born under the Law. This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God.

This passage gives us permission to call upon God as our Abba-Father. It speaks of a tender relationship between parent and child. It invites us to sit on Dad’s lap and tell him our troubles. It guarantees our inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

We are redeemed into the family of God, and God calls us his sons and daughters. Christ was sent in the fulfillment of time to level the playing field, giving us equal access to the Father. Like any family, we will have differences and squabbles with each other, but at the end of the day, Jesus calls us all in from the backyard, and we put our feet under the same table … one that he has prepared for us.

The next time you come to the table to receive communion, remember this. The body that was broken and the blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of sins are acts of redemption that were done for all of God’s adopted kids. May we be humbled, grateful, and ready to welcome our brothers and sisters there.

Come to the Table

Freedom Through Adoption

My brother-in-law was adopted as a baby and knew nothing about his birth family until recently. Out of curiosity, he began a search of his ancestry and discovered that, lo and behold, he has a sister. They were able to connect and finally met a few years ago. Now they make regular trips to each other’s home as they discover who they are in the context of who they were. One look at a picture of them with their cheeks pressed together assures us of what the DNA confirmed: their large, beautiful eyes are a perfect matched set. This is the evidence of their blood tie.

In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul writes about adoption. He contends that it was God’s plan all along to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 1 (The Message)

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

The Message translation is exuberant in calling this a “celebration of God’s lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Jesus’ activity on the cross is all paperwork that was needed to finalize our adoptions. His death and resurrection enable us to enjoy the freedom of knowing that our sins are permanently forgiven, and we can be a part of God’s long-range plan:

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

Do you know who you are? You are an adopted child of God. Our brother Jesus has been watching out for us since we were conceived. What does it mean to you to know that you are part of God’s plan and his purpose?

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

For me, it means freedom. I am free to love, free to seek God, free to find forgiveness, and free from sin and death. Being part of the family of God allows me to be a part of what’s coming next, and I can’t wait.

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This down payment from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

Do you know this freedom? If you don’t, you are just one prayer away from having it all. When we confess Christ as Lord, put our whole trust in his grace, and repent of our sins, we receive eternal salvation. Is today the day?

Welcome to the family.

Sunset Freedom by Michelle Robertson