In cultures from Ancient Rome to Feudal Japan, there were strong traditions for wealthy, landed aristocracy to adopt promising young people into their families. Sometimes adopted sons married daughters born into the adopting family. Often the adopted child entered the aristocratic lineage and ruled after the death of the adopting father. Julius Caesar adopted his great-nephew, who later became Caesar Augustus. The great unifier of medieval Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, had multiple adopted sons.
Typically, modern adoptions are amazing displays of love and compassion. Though they may not lead to life in a palace, they usually offer stability, hope, and love to orphaned children, abandoned children, or children born under complicated circumstances. Modern adopting families generally treat adopted children with the same care that birth children receive. Clearly, the best interests of the child are at the heart of the ideal adoption.
When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior, that person begins to receive blessings almost too numerous to count. In fact, Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” “Every spiritual blessing”—wow! I don’t think God’s inventory runs too short, so “every spiritual blessing” is a LOT!
Interestingly, in the list of specific blessings that follows Ephesians 1:3, we are told that God adopts believers as his children “through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5) What high privilege! What honor! Which would you rather—adoption by Julius Caesar to become a future Caesar, or adoption by God Himself, the Creator of Julius Caesar? Who can ultimately provide you with a better home, a better future, and purer love?
Note also that the verse says, “according to the pleasure of His will.” It pleases God to adopt those who believe in His Son! He is happy to do so. God is delighted to adopt you (or He will be if you’re not yet a believer in Christ, but eventually become one)! God never says, “Okayyy, alriiight … one more mouth to feed, but I guess a promise is a promise …” No, think about the great pleasure you’ve known when you’ve given a really amazing gift to someone you love. That approximates God’s pleasure in adopting you!
And without getting too technical on you, the term used for the adoption in the original language of this verse was a legal term for adoption with full rights of inheritance—no second-rate children in this family! Other parts of the New Testament go into more detail on being co-heirs with Jesus, so we’ll save that for later. For now, just know that, as God’s adopted child, you don’t have to sleep in heaven’s basement.
The apostle John rejoiced in the truth of our adoption by God Himself. In 1 John 3:1, he wrote, “See what sort of love the Father has given to us: that we should be called God’s children – and indeed we are!” Are you beginning to feel it? God loves you! God loves you! God loves you! Any way you slice, dice, or parse those three words, the outcome is sublime.
This is another one of those truths that is not contingent on how we feel. De hecho, I mean, in fact, it is precisely when we feel our worst that we need to recall and meditate on this great truth. God loves me, and I am His child. He has a vested interest in me and in my well-being. And that’s just the part I can understand now.
How cool will it be when the fullness of our inheritance with Christ is revealed on the day we see Him face to face! What a blessed hope! Now go out and rejoice today!