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Aug 2009


I am not adopted and I have never dreamed of adopting.  But I picked up a book recently so that I would understand my friends who are adoptive parents better…and have found that instead I understand myself better.

Adopted for Life, a new book by Russell Moore, has challenged me to ponder the biblical doctrine of adoption through the lens of the story of two boys the Moores adopted from Russia.  In an early chapter themed around the question of whether adoptive families are “real” brothers and sisters and moms and dads, Moore sheds this insight on our adoption in Christ:

The “are they brothers?” question irritated me so much, the more I thought about it, because it was about more than my adoption process.  It was about my pride and self-delusion.  It reminded me of my own tendency to prize my carnality, a tendency the Scripture warns leads right to the grave.  None of us likes to think we were adopted.  We assume we’re natural-born children, with a right to all of this grace, to all of this glory.

We’re ashamed to think of ourselves as adopted, because to do so would focus our minds on the gory truth that all of us in Christ, like my sons, once were lost but now we’re found, once were strangers and now we’re children, once were slaves and now we’re heirs….

Maybe such questions bothered me so much because they are being asked about me, all the time, within the echo chamber of my own fallen psyche and by unseen rebel angels all around.  Are you really a son of the living God?  Does your God really know you?  Does this biblical story really belong to you?  Are these really your brothers and sisters?  Do you really belong here?…

Our adoption is about more than just belonging.  Our adoption is about the day when the graves of this planet will be emptied, when the great assembly of Christ’s church will be gathered before the Judgment Seat.  On that day, the accusing principalities and powers will probably look once more at us-former murderers and fornicators and idolaters, formerly uncircumcised in flesh or in heart-and they may ask one more time, “So are they brothers?”  The hope of adopted children like my sons-and like me-is that the voice that once thundered over the Jordan will respond, one last time, “They are now.”


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