The children in this photo are orphans. They live in a group home in East Asia, run by people who love Jesus and love children. In this group home they are cared for by volunteer house parents. Having lost their family of birth, they have found a home in a new family where they are chosen and wanted.
This is a picture of one part of the Biblical meaning of adoption. It’s a picture of children who, instead of being rejected and discarded, are loved and highly valued.
The other part of the Biblical picture of adoption speaks of inheritance. Paul says (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV)
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.
The reason for the gender-specific language here is that in that culture, it was sons who inherited. Daughters married into their husband’s inheritance. Paul uses the terminology of adoption as sons to underline the fact that as believers, we have come into a great inheritance. This is true for every believer, male or female – just as every believer is also Jesus’ bride. Whether you are God’s daughter or God’s son, you have an inheritance in Him.
There’s a third dimension of being adopted that is even more powerful. We can come to God as His beloved sons and daughters, and we can cry out to him as our Father, and he will listen.
Abba is not just the name of a famous Swedish pop band from the 1970s. It is the Hebrew word for Daddy or Papa. It conveys both tenderness and respect. This is the word that Jesus used when praying to His Father. He opened up for us a relationship of intimacy with our Father. Even though we deserve death and hell, we have been grafted into the family, given an inheritance, and given a relationship with a Father who loves us.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it’s easy to feel despairing, helpless and alone. In the face of these temptations, I want to remind you of these three powerful truths. If you have put your hope in Jesus, you are not alone. You are your Father’s son or daughter. You are chosen and loved by Him, and you have an eternal inheritance that nothing can take away from you. You are his forever, and you share all His glorious riches. We will receive the full inheritance in the Age to Come, but even now we have His Spirit in our hearts, giving us access to a foretaste of His blessings. So, in the midst of this crisis, we can pray, live and act with courage, boldness, confidence and hope – hope for the present and for the future.
God bless you.