My decades of pastoral ministry have been filled with countless joys. Among my happiest memories are the times parents introduced me to their newly adopted children.
So many churches are filled with stories of parents willing to travel to distant lands, to invest thousands of dollars, and sometimes to enter dangerous and impoverished countries with one purpose in mind: to adopt a child.
Meeting these children was a unique joy. Each time I met these adopted children, I felt God’s pleasure. Each time I admired the selflessness and compassion of these parents. And each time I was reminded of the Savior “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
In each of these instances I was reminded of God’s love—for me! Just as human adoption is deeply personal, the doctrine of God’s adopting grace is deeply personal. It is assuring. It reminds me that God loves me. “Adoption is a family idea,” writes J.I. Packer, “conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection, and generosity are at the heart of the relationship.”¹
Do the words closeness, affection, and generosity describe your experience of God? If not, perhaps you are more aware of your sin than of the adopting grace of God. If not, perhaps you are more aware of justifying grace than of adopting grace.
In order to experience more of the affection of God, the closeness of God, the generosity of God, I recommend you study the doctrine of adoption until you are assured of and secure in the love of God.
And for the next few weeks we will study this topic on the blog in order to experience the affection and closeness of God.
That God is my Father and has welcomed me into his home is a truth so profound and awe-inspiring that I cannot help but be moved when I meet a child who was once an orphan but has now been transferred into a warm and loving home. Human adoption reminds me of God’s adopting grace.
This post is part of a series of posts exploring and celebrating the adopting love of God, entitled Adopted!
1. J.I. Packer, Knowing God (IVP, 1973), p. 207.