Sign up for the weekly email:
The Longing for Redemption in Adoption
For whatever reason, adoption is a subject that gets far too little attention in the Christian church. Perhaps we neglect this topic because of the awkward and sometimes painful conversations we have had with someone struggling with childlessness; perhaps we haven’t ever given it much thought, or don’t know how to be properly sensitive to the circumstances that often surround it so we take the safe route and stay away from the subject as often as possible. Whatever our reason for remaining silent, we all are worse off for it.
A Three-Part Series
The reason we, as believers in Jesus Christ, ought to focus more on this subject is that it is central to our hope and faith. Adoption is inherently redemptive in nature, both in our earthly families and in our spiritual family. This is the first of a three-part series where we will look at:
- The Longing for Redemption in Adoption (Part 1)
- The Choice of Love in Adoption (Part 2)
- The Confidence of the Child in Adoption (Part 3)
The Longing for Redemption in Adoption
The first thing concerning the redemptive nature of adoption I want to look at is the longing for redemption in adoption. In order to understand adoption, we have to understand that it only exists and is necessary because something is broken. This doesn’t detract from the inherent good of it, but it establishes the basis of why it is so wonderful.
In a perfect world, there would be no need for adoption, no children would lack loving and caring parents, no husbands and wives longing to care for children they have not been given. In a perfect world, there would be no broken and downcast sinners; cut off from the source of life and under the curse that separates them from the love and communion of the creating Father.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.
All of creation feels the brokenness of the curse of sin. Creation itself groans and longs for redemption; a redemption ultimately accomplished by the work of Christ and the adoption into Christ of all who believe. Children who don’t know the steadfast love and security of a faithful father and mother long for their heartache to be redeemed in adoption.
The beauty of earthly adoption is displayed most brilliantly against the brokenness that makes it necessary. In this cursed world, countless children are born to parents who are either unwilling or unable to care for them, or disaster strikes and their parents fall to sickness or war.
This leaves image bearers of God, at the most vulnerable stage of their lives, without anyone to protect them, care for them, and love them. We know the kind of dangers that face children without someone to look out for them and advocate for them, in our country and so much more so around the world. Vulnerable and separated from the love and care they need, even if they don’t understand what they are longing for, they long for the redemption found in adoption. They long for the restoration of the love and security God’s perfect design decreed should be theirs from birth that was denied them in this broken world.
Similarly, husbands and wives, longing to fulfill God’s design for marriage and the family in being fruitful and multiplying, when they are unable to have children by biological means, long for redemption in adoption. They long to have the brokenness of feeling incomplete healed; to be able to give the love, care, and devotion they have within them to a child of their own; to invest themselves into the next generation by pouring themselves, their love and knowledge and experiences, into those what will ultimately remain by their sides and care for them when they are old and grey.
A Spiritual Adoption
All of us understand the longing for redemption in light of the brokenness in the world around us. What we lose focus on, is that the redemption is accomplished by adoption; the Son of God came into this broken world, fulfilled the demands impossible for us, and it is by our being adopted by the Father, through and with His Son, that we are restored to a right relationship with the Father and one day will be freed from the brokenness of this cursed world. We, along with all of creation, groan inwardly in longing for our redemption in adoption.
Like what you see? Read more!
Caleb Stomberg is husband to Lindsey and father to their seven children. He is pastor at Legacy Reformed Baptist Church in East Grand Forks, MN. Caleb enjoys woodworking, hunting, and anything Tolkien.