Last week, I published part 1 of a piece on adoption since the Schaabling Shire Shoppe Amigurumi Pets come with adoption cards and it seemed fitting. I discussed the first two of six Biblical adoption stories, Moses and an unnamed woman. In both situations, the mother offered to place her child with an adoptive mother in order to save his life.
Among three of the other four examples of adoption in Scripture: Esther was genuinely orphaned (i.e., both of her parents died) and adopted by a close family member; Jesus remained with His mother Mary but was adopted by her husband Joseph; and Timothy was raised by his mother and grandmother and adopted by the Apostle Paul as an adult. In other words, the only one not raised by his/her mother—Esther—was adopted only because her mother had died.
Finally, the Apostle Paul tells us that God adopts us. This probably comes as no surprise since most people like to say that we’re all children of God. In fact, this is often used as an argument against Christians. However, what does the Bible say about God’s adoption of us?
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:12-17)
Both Galatians 4:1-7 and Ephesians 1:3-6 also refer to God adopting us as His sons through Christ, using the same Greek word. The Greek word originally used in these passages is huiothesia, which appears only five times in Scripture—all five written by Paul—but which, as determined from other extra-Biblical ancient manuscripts, we know to mean “the accepting of a stranger and establishing him as one’s own son and imposing on him all the rights and obligations of sonship.” (1)
So in other words, when we choose to follow God through Christ, God adopts us through the Holy Spirit. However, this is a choice on the part of the adoptive child, not just on the part of the parent. This is dissimilar to traditional adoption today, in which, generally speaking, the birthmother or the government places the child in a foster or an adoptive home.
Conclusion next week!