November is National Adoption Awareness Month. To help promote awareness about adoption, we'll be sharing a few posts about adoption, ranging from stories about Redeemer families who have adopted to devotional reflections on the doctrine of adoption.
The following blog is from Greg Sund, a pastor at Redeemer, reflecting on the doctrine of adoption from his History of Redemption Blog Series:
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. – Ephesians 1:4-6 NASB; Romans 8:29-30 NASB.
These verses are incredible. They are so pregnant with doctrine and theology and truth about God, that I feel as if my head will explode with each step forward I take. I feel like I could write a thousand blog posts based off of these 94 words.
While you may think of yourself as “called” or “chosen” or “in Christ”, how often do you consider that you were chosen “before the foundation of the world”. That should cause YOUR head to explode. Before God spoke the earth into existence by the breath of His mouth, He knew you, He loved you, and He chose you. If you think you are significant because of your intelligence, or your charm, or your beauty, remember that God chose you before the foundation of the world. It was THEN that He adopted you into His family. It was not when you decided to follow Christ, or when you got your act together, or when you “figured it all out”. It was before the foundation of the world. Spend some time thinking about that, and let it blow your mind away. This should point you not to your achievement and your success but to an eternal and sovereign God who is so loving and so kind that He would adopt you and love you and conform you to the image of His Son.
Adoption is a theological topic that is very dear to me, as I now have two adopted children. I realize that any comparison I would draw between my adoption of them, and God’s adoption of me is limited and probably fraught with danger, given the infinite difference between myself and God. But I do sometimes think about how my children, before they were adopted by my wife and I were helpless. They could do nothing to “get adopted”. They could not merit my favor, they could not impress me, they could not charm me into adopting them. I loved them before I met them. I loved them from the day back in 2002 when God called me to eventually adopt them, 7 and then 9 years later. God loved me before the foundation of the world. He called me to one day be holy and blameless before Him. And since I could not make myself holy and blameless, He sent His Son Jesus Christ, to atone for all of my sins and to clothe me in His robe of holiness, that I could now stand before my Holy God, my Father, who adopted me, before the foundation of the world, who called me, who justified me, and who will one day glorify me, the praise of the glory of HIS grace!
For a wonderful discussion of the “order of salvation” (ordo salutis) please see Wayne Grudem’s book, Systematic Theology, Chapter 32.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba!’ Father! So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7).