Your Adoption Has Been Finalized
About two weeks ago, I was having dinner in a little South African village at the home of Alex and Mutinta Phiri, two of the most humble and godly people I’ve ever met. I arrived ten minutes early so I was kindly ushered to the table and asked to sit down as the rest of the family was corralled.
As I quietly (and somewhat nervously) surveyed the contents of dinner, I spied an enormous dish of something I couldn’t possibly identify. To be candid, I couldn’t even tell what food group it represented. Was it giraffe’s neck? I’d had that before and found it acceptable to my palette. Was it something more exotic? Fearing that I wouldn’t be able to eat it, when Mutinta started to scoop some onto my plate moments later, I said, “I’m still getting adjusted to the time difference; would it be ok if passed on this?” Mutinta answered with a grin, “No, it wouldn’t. I don’t know when I’ll ever host you again.” So I said, “Of course.”
That sweet exchange was the beginning of a night filled with meaningful and enjoyable dialogue. Over the last two years, Alex and Mutinta adopted five children—including two sets of siblings—who were orphaned by the AIDS virus, and they spent the evening explaining to me the reason they would add five children to the three Mutinta gave birth to: “We believe in adoption because of the adoption we’ve experienced by God in Christ.”
Indeed, earthly adoption finds its meaning and motivation in the reality of the inclusion into God’s heavenly family that every Christian enjoys.
In his book Adopted For Life, Russell Moore writes:
“The universe was meant to be a home where the image-bearers of God rule and serve under their Father. It was all to be ours. The primeval insurrection in the garden, though, turned the universe into an orphanage – the heirs were gone, done in by their appetites. A serpent now holds the cosmos in captivity, driving along the deposed rulers as his slaves. The whole universe is now an orphanage.
But then there’s Jesus. When we were still orphans, Christ became a substitute orphan for us. Though he was a son, he took on the humiliation of a slave and the horror of death (Phil. 2:6-8). Jesus walked to that far country with us, even to the depths of the hog pen that we’d made our home, and hung on a tree abandoned by his Father in our place.
Only he could do this because only he, the one sinless human, didn’t have the cosmic blackmail against him that the Accuser can call up for all of us. The Lord Christ simply announces that ‘the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me’ (John 14:30). Jesus’ attitude is similar to what yours would be if a co-worker challenged you to a lie detector test for being part of an Islamic terrorist cell. You wouldn’t cower under your desk (I’m assuming here that you’re actually not a member of an Islamic terrorist cell) because you know it isn’t true. Jesus doesn’t fear Satan’s accusation because he has nothing to hide from the demonic watchers, from himself, or from his Father. He is truth, and the truth makes him free indeed.
We cannot consider our adoption as children of God without turning to the cross. When Jesus is stapled to this Roman torture device, he bears the full weight of the curse of an orphan creation. The apostle Paul is able to speak of us as receiving adoption as sons only because Jesus becomes “a curse for us.” In the gospel, the Holy Spirit simply announces, ‘for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree – so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith’ (Gal. 3:13-14).
On a Friday two thousand years ago, a Roman soldier strikes a spear into the dead, bloodied flesh of this Man. Some government employee pulls spikes from the carcass melded to wood, then goes home and scrubs off the blood of Christ as he washes up for dinner. He may toss his children in the air with hands still embedded with the blood of Jesus under his fingernails. The body removal has to happen before dark; his body can’t hang on that tree overnight because Israel ‘shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance’ (Duet. 21:23). But God lifts Jesus out of his hole in the ground and gives him the universe as his inheritance. The curse is lifted – for Jesus and for all who are found in him.”
This Thursday afternoon article is not a plea for you to consider adoption—although perhaps God is calling some to this great privilege. What I want to remind you of is this: if you are in Christ, you are God’s son or daughter. Because of Jesus and his work, a place for you has been prepared at the table. You are secure in him. In light of that, let’s continue to make our church the sort of welcoming place that adoption so beautifully exemplifies.
The rest of NP News for 11.2.2017 can be found on the “This Week” page at https://www.northpointcorona.org/this-week/