Week 9: The New Testament and Adoption
Day 5: The Process and Price of Adoption – (Ephesians 1:3-14)
I love the book of Ephesians. If you could get a peek at my Bible, you might think that a pink ink pen had blown up all over the first half of the book. It used to be red, but it has faded. Chapter four has a little heart drawn at the top of it. We’ve already discussed chapter five and even a little of chapter six in this series. For such a small book it is certainly packed with a lot of riches, among them the process and price of our adoption.
Once again we see many of the same ideas as in Romans 8-10, but I especially like where it starts, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) That’s a lot of blessing! I love that Paul starts this look at adoption and redemption with a moment of praise. We truly are so blessed! We have been given “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”, that’s nothing to sneeze at. This is our inheritance as God’s children!
The next three verses speak of the process of our adoption. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)
Think of it, before the world even began God’s desire was for us to be His children. He wanted us to be holy and without blame so that we could stand before Him. He didn’t want us to stand before Him in condemnation, but rather in love. Before we were even born, He set the plan in place so that we could be adopted into his family through Jesus Christ. I think sometimes that our notion of God doing this “according to the good pleasure of His will” has gotten a little warped by our contemporary way of thinking. Both here and in Philippians 2:13, Paul uses this phrase. If we read it carelessly it could seem like we’re just sort of “at His will” or “at His mercy”, which in this day and age usually has the connotation that whatever follows may or may not be good. But in both places the word translated as “good pleasure” has the idea of a kind intention or benevolence. God’s desires toward us are good not evil. His will for us is not destruction. He wants us to be His children. In fact, 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that He “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” And why has He set all this in motion? That we would be “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (See also Ephesians 1:10-12)
Adoption isn’t cheap these days. The average infant adoption, whether domestic or international, costs approximately $30,000. Adoption through the foster care program may be as little as $3,000, but at times it comes with a great heartbreak price tag because of adoptions that don’t go through. I hate to say that, but I have seen it many times. In fact, I’ve seen good families, who wanted desperately to adopt, give up completely after seeing the child they had already been caring for and loving for months or even years be taken away and put into homes where the mother had been “meth free” for as little as a week. Adoption isn’t cheap.
Our adoption wasn’t cheap. We are “accepted in the Beloved”, in Christ. His death is the price of our adoption. Ephesians 1:7-9 says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself…” Few, if any, of us would ever be required to make such a sacrifice in order to adopt.
Many people balk at adoption because of the price. Others balk at orphan ministry in general because of the price. I will not deceive you and tell you that there will be no sacrifice. Nor will I let you think that by pursuing either of these things you are destined to “financial success”, especially as the world sees it. But the cost to us is so minimal compared to the price that was paid so that WE might be adopted. Don’t let finances stop you. If God is leading you to adopt or to step further into orphan ministry, follow Him. Sometimes He uses finances to guide individual steps, but when fear trumps faith we’re walking on dangerous ground. Let Him lead you. I have often heard it said that God does not give us more than we can handle. I don’t believe that to be true. I do believe that God never gives us more than HE can handle. Trust Him.
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