Adoption: The Highest Privilege of Christian Grace

“The Christian…enjoys communion with Christ in the privileges of grace. The highest of these is adoption. Christians are the sons of God: ‘adoption is the authoritative translation of a believer, by Jesus Christ, from the family of the world and Satan into the family of God, with his investiture in all the privileges and advantages of that family’ (quoting John Owen) (Sinclair Ferguson, John Owen on the Christian Life, p. 89).

5 Comments

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  1. Mark,

    Sorry, I misunderstood you. I’m in total agreement with you on that. Personal stories are very important. We wish we knew more about the stories of our two boys’ birth-parents. Thanks for sharing.

    Dan


  2. What I meant by “keeping the adopted child rooted in his historical reality” was to keep the secretive aspects of adoptions away… banished… every child should have access to their stories.

    This has a personal connection. I was fostered fourteen months. But I don’t know where or with whom. It seems all records and all possible avenues are spent. I have no place, no people… for that period… and it never occurred to my adopting parents to tell me what they knew… and it never occurred to me to ask. Someone handled my adoption… communicated with my parents… who? What agency? What were the policies in force? How were children cared for and by whom?

    Historical reality is a broader concept as I mean it than original family. It is the constellation of facts that surround our life… embed and hold us.

    Thank you for your reply.


  3. I failed to provide the link to the article I mentioned in my comment above. I wrote:

    “The point of correspondence (between heavenly and earthly adoption) that I do not want us to miss is that adoption, particularly international adoption, concerns visiting an orphan in their affliction (read my article about his here:”

    Here’s the link: http://www.carolinahopeadoption.org/blog/archives/32


  4. Mark,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. The interaction is very helpful.

    You wrote: “Adoption as it is practiced in society, as opposed to heavenly adoption, should not lead anyone to think of the original family as correspondent to ‘the world and satan.’”

    I could not agree with you more. It was not my intention whatsoever that the John Owen quotation should be understood in that way. My reason for posting quotations like this one is so that Christians will grow in their understanding of and gratitude for the adoption they have received in Christ. Adoption is about relationship and all the benefits that result from it. If there’s a point of correspondence, that’s it. Certainly if we understand and value the great privilege God has given to us through adoption, it would be our great joy to provide full family privilege to a child in need if God called us to do so.

    You wrote: “In reality, that heavenly adoption which Paul discusses, is also a restoration or reconciliation, with our original and single father in heaven. It is a sort of reunion and in that sense almost the opposite of what society means by adoption which is a movement away from origins.”

    The point of correspondence (between heavenly and earthly adoption) that I do not want us to miss is that adoption, particularly international adoption, concerns visiting an orphan in their affliction (read my article about his here: . It seems to me that we must be careful not to press Scripture’s adoption metaphor (it’s really a model rather than a metaphor though) too far. That seems to be what you are guarding against. I am not one who would press the metaphor that far. Not even close. I’m more concerned with the big picture connections and implications.

    You wrote: “The social practice of adoption would be informed if it would adhere to a strong commitment to history and keep the adopted child rooted in his real story, that is his historical reality. This also includes his reality as a member of the human family…. and therefore his own, potential, adoption as a child of God.”

    I too wish the reality of adoption did not exist (though we have adopted two children of our own and love them as deeply as we love our two biological children). Adoption is not the way things out to be. Children ought to live with and be lovingly nurtured by their birth parents. That’s the way things should be. But we don’t live in a world like that. We live in a world where orphans do exist. I’ve taken two trips to serve orphans in two different orphanages in China. Both had over 300 children. All but two of the 300+ children at the first orphanage we visited were under the age of 1. Most of them were abandoned by their birth parents due to very unfortunate external pressures (to understate it quite a bit). Though there are more fundamental issues to be addressed in order to deal with this phenomenon, the fact remains that these children are in need of homes. I’ve talked with the orphanage administrators and staff. Adoption is the best way to address the needs of these orphans at this time.

    Thanks again, Mark, for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.


  5. I hope that this sort of thinking doesn’t lead anyone to imagine that human adoption is like that. Adoption as it is practiced in society, as opposed to heavenly adoption, should not lead anyone to think of the original family as correspondent to “the world and satan.” It shouldn’t lead anyone to think of the adopting family as “the family of God,” even when that family is Christian.

    In reality, that heavenly adoption which Paul discusses, is also a restoration or reconciliation, with our original and single father in heaven. It is a sort of reunion and in that sense almost the opposite of what society means by adoption which is a movement away from origins.

    The social practice of adoption would be informed if it would adhere to a strong commitment to history and keep the adopted child rooted in his real story, that is his historical reality. This also includes his reality as a member of the human family…. and therefore his own, potential, adoption as a child of God.