Black’s Law Dictionary defines adoption as “[t]he creation of a parent-child relationship by judicial order between two parties who usu[ally] are unrelated.”
This may seem obvious to you, Reader. However, what does the rest of the world think of when they hear the word “adoption?” If you just Google the word “adoption,” you might be more likely to get results for “pet adoption” or “dog adoption,” than anything to do with the “creation of a parent-child relationship.”
Now, as Christians, we know there is another layer to adoption. We know that God’s Plan A for rescuing the world from the reign of evil has a lot to do with adoption. Paul writes in Ephesians 1 that we were “predestined for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.” John also describes our spiritual re-birth in terms of having “the right to become children of God.” Even the Israelites obtained their favored position through what Paul describes as “adoption” in Romans 9.
What we have to conclude from this is that there is only one man who can claim a right to be in God’s family by “blood.” That is God’s Son, Jesus. The rest of us, all those who have obtained the heavenly inheritance, who have not been left “as orphans” (John 14:18) … the rest of us have gained our standing as sons of God through adoption.
So then, we have a horizontal and a vertical adoption. It is from our vertical adoption into God’s family that we gain vision to bring former orphans into our families through horizontal adoption.
Photo by Melvin Schlubman.