If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. — John 8:31-32

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Children of God

As I read over a devotional today about Galatians 3:25–26, I was reminded of a wonderful illustration I’ve been eager to share since I read it last week.

First, the bit from the devotional, at the Ligonier Ministries site:

Jesus Christ is the only one with the inherent right to be called the Son of God. In Him, however, we are adopted as children of God, and receive all the benefits that come with that status.

That reminded me of a blog post I read at the Sovereign Grace Ministries site. C.J. Mahaney quoted a section from a book by Russell Moore (“Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches”) that recounts when Moore and his wife picked up their two newly adopted Russian sons.

Moore noted how people kept asking whether the boys were brothers. “What she wondered was whether these two boys, born three weeks apart, share a common biological ancestry, a common bloodline, some common DNA. It struck me that this question betrayed what most of us tend to view as really important when it comes to sonship: traceable genetic material,” he wrote about one woman’s insistent questions as she tried to confirm their biological identity. Then he writes, and this is the part I really wanted to share:

When Maria and I at long last received the call that the legal process was over, and we returned to Russia to pick up our new sons, we found that their transition from orphanage to family was more difficult than we had supposed. We dressed the boys in outfits our parents had bought for them. We nodded our thanks to the orphanage personnel and walked out into the sunlight, to the terror of the two boys.

They’d never seen the sun, and they’d never felt the wind. They had never heard the sound of a car door slamming or felt like they were being carried along a road at 100 miles an hour. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance. Suddenly it wasn’t a stranger asking, “Are they brothers?” They seemed to be asking it, nonverbally but emphatically, about themselves.

I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “That place is a pit! If only you knew what’s waiting for you — a home with a mommy and a daddy who love you, grandparents and great-grandparents and cousins and playmates and McDonald’s Happy Meals!”

But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid, but they had no other reference point. It was home.

We knew the boys had acclimated to our home, that they trusted us, when they stopped hiding food in their high chairs. They knew there would be another meal coming, and they wouldn’t have to fight for the scraps. This was the new normal.

They are now thoroughly Americanized, perhaps too much so, able to recognize the sound of a microwave ding from forty yards away. I still remember, though, those little hands reaching for the orphanage. And I see myself there.

We’ve been learning about, and Paul continues to write more about, how the law is supposed to point us to our need of a Savior by showing us that we are sinful. I think I often stop at the “I am sinful” part, and do not remember, look to and expect change to come from my Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit within me as a child of God.

Here’s the Ligonier devotional quote again, with the rest of the paragraph that wraps it up:

Jesus Christ is the only one with the inherent right to be called the Son of God. In Him, however, we are adopted as children of God, and receive all the benefits that come with that status. May we take that privilege seriously and obey the wisdom that He gives us in His Word. Think today on the incredible privilege it is to be a child of God and endeavor to please Him out of the sheer delight that good children take in obeying their parents.

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