Adoption - What does the Bible have to say?
When speaking about adoption, most Christian presentations focus on God's decision to adopt us. Romans 8:15 tells us our adoption gives us the right to call God "Abba Father." Ephesians 1:5 (NASB) says that God adopts us "according to the kind intention of His will." Our ultimate spiritual state is held up as the definitive view of adoption. Which is too bad because, while God's adoption of us exemplifies the spirituality of adoption, there is a much better illustration of the practical side.
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The most famous adoption announcement is rarely seen as such. It's found in Matthew 1:18-25:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel' (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
God chose His Son to be adopted. God incarnate was adopted. People have myriad reasons why they don't want to adopt—including that they don't want to raise another man's child. This passage destroys those arguments. God didn't have to arrange for Joseph to adopt Jesus. He could have found another way to support Mary and her child. But in this act, God forever establishes the honor of raising another's child as well as the perfect acceptability of having parents who are not blood relation.
Two of the greatest and most godly leaders in the Old Testament were also adopted. Moses was adopted by an Egyptian princess (Exodus 2:1-10). Samuel, the holy prophet of God, was fostered by Eli (1 Samuel 1-2). Both were chosen by God to lead His people to worship Him.
Adoption also fulfills the definition of true religion. James 1:27 reads, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." Like many verbs in the Bible, "visit" is much deeper and more active than the English would suggest. It means to look after, have a care for, provide for, furnish with necessary things. There are few more significant ways to care for an orphan than to take him into your home and give him a family.
There is no legitimate argument that can be made against the concept of adoption. Whether adoption is right for an individual family is between that family and God. Adoption isn't always easy, and it's usually expensive. But it is absolutely biblical. If adoption was good enough for the Son of God, then it is a blessing for His people.
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