Sunday, September 04, 2005

Twice Adopted

I've always appreciated the title of the bestselling book written by radio talk show host Michael Reagan -- Twice Adopted. As a young boy, Michael was legally adopted by then-actor, later-president Ronald Reagan. Later on, Michael was adopted into another family and became a child of God. These two adoptions became the focus of Reagan's life, as well as the focus of his book.

I love the first verse of 1 John, chapter 3: "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" How incredible it is, indeed! After all, we certainly don't deserve to be called God's child.

There is a belief that all people are God's children, but the Bible doesn't tell us that. Sure we are all God's creation, but we are not taught that God adopts us all. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as His children. In the New Testament we see:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
Adoption comes with receiving Christ as Savior. There is no other way. As politically incorrect as it may seem to some, you are not God's child if you have not turned over your life to Jesus. That's what the Bible tells us.

God didn't have to adopt us. We could have simply been given salvation, but God went the extra mile and made us part of the family. Back in the times of the Roman Empire, adoption was frequently a process for a childless man to find an heir. Adults, not infants, were the ones being adopted. Infants don't quite understand it all the way an adult can. Can you imagine Bill Gates needing an heir and picking you off the street? That's nothing!

I've always had a good insight into adoption. I was adopted as an infant; plucked from an uncertain future and given so much more. But perhaps my insight is still insufficient. I don't remember my life before my adoption. That only makes good sense since I was only six weeks old! So I really don't know what I was saved from.

I also cannot remember a time when I wasn't a Christian. I can remember plenty of times when I didn't act like a Christian, but that relationship has always been there. My testimony isn't flashy and dramatic. I didn't live the life of a complete heathen. I wasn't pulled from the penitentiary. I didn't live like Nikki Cruz in The Cross and the Switchblade, or even like a singing and dancing Shark or Jet in West Side Story. I don't have a full grasp on what kind of life I have been saved from, except in seeing people I care about struggle in a life without Christ. So my view of the alternative isn't exactly firsthand. The skeptic in me sometimes wonders if it is so bad with living a life with ME as a center. Then, when I think I have it all together, the rain comes down and I run back home like the prodigal who selfishly wandered too far. Back to my Father. My Father, who tells me I don't have to live like that. My Father, who lovingly wraps His arms around me and holds me. My Father who will never leave me nor forsake me.

God Almighty is not simply my judge. He is not just the One who provided a way out of the penalty for my sins. He is my Abba... Daddy. That I can call the Divine, "Father" is nothing short of amazing. It is a priviledge no human being deserves. But it is a priviledge freely given by our Creator through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

"Lord, I thank you that I, too, was twice adopted."

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