Week 9: The New Testament and Adoption
Day 3: Adoption and Israel – Romans 9
“Can you imagine a woman giving birth to a child and then casting it out into the field to wallow in the afterbirth, unbathed, uncared for, naked and exposed to the elements? Can you imagine a child in such a miserable state that those passing by would not pity it, would not have compassion upon it, but would instead loathe it? …That miserable state, so vile that no one will stoop to help, is how God describes the state of Israel when He first found her.” (The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption, pp. 12, 13)
Ezekiel 16 gives us a clear accounting of Israel’s adoption by God. There she lay in her own blood, vile and repulsive, but God stooped down and said to her “Live.” He made her His own. Brought her into His family, clothed her, gave her gifts and made her beautiful.
The same chapter also tells us of her treachery. It tells how she would go out and use the very gifts that God had given her in worship to false gods.
It also tells us that God would continue to seek after her to draw her back.
In Romans 9 and 10, the apostle Paul expresses his own grief over Israel. He says, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Romans 9:3-5
Paul longed for the salvation of his people. He understood the amazing position that they held. God had stooped down to their low estate and adopted them. He had blessed them with His covenants and His presence. No other people had enjoyed the favor God had bestowed upon them. And yet, “…Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone and a rock of offense: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 9:31-33)
The keeping of the law alone would not save Israel. One thing was still lacking: Faith. Because of this, when Christ came, they stumbled. Their adoption, their salvation, was on the same basis as ours. Just as we saw in the last section that we are saved by hope, we see here that this was the difference between the Jew and the Gentile when it came to Christ, “The Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.” (Romans 9:30)
Ephesians 2:8,9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Even if Israel had kept every aspect of the law, it would have been in vain without faith.
But God does not give up on any of us. Jeremiah 2 gives an amazing account of God’s sorrow over Israel. He has promised to leave a remnant. (See Isaiah 10:22 and Romans 9:27-29) His mercy will be seen.
Not every adoption has a storybook ending. In fact, I have personally seen and heard of many that have not. But, as we look at God’s example, we cannot let that possibility deter us from carrying out His command. Did He know that Israel would reject Him, would turn to other gods, would kill His ONLY BEGOTTEN Son? Of course He knew that. He has perfect knowledge. He knew thousands of years before any of these events took place. In fact, He knew before time began. And yet, He adopted them… He adopted us. How many times do we fail Him, and yet He continues to love us.
Adoption, like any other step of obedience to our King, requires a certain amount of willingness to be vulnerable, to take a chance that the one upon whom we pour out our love will respond by breaking our hearts. God took that chance with us. It should not cause us to fear, but to rejoice in the knowledge that God’s grace in all things will prevail.
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption