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Adoption and the Glory of God in Parenting

February 21, 2012

Then Ziba said to the king, “According to all that my lord the king commands his servant, so will your servant do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table, like one of the king’s sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all who lived in Ziba’s house became Mephibosheth’s servants. So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.  (2 Samuel 9:11-13 ESV)

Adoption is one of the glorious truths in the story of Gospel redemption. God has redeemed a people and given them all the gifts of the kingdom. In fact, the Westminster Shorter Catechism defines adoption as, “A saving grace, whereby we are added to the number and given all the benefits of the sons of God.” No if ands or buts about it, we are given the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). In the above story of Mephibosheth (say that 5 times fast), someone who was not in the Davidic line was added to the greatest family lineage in the history of the world. This short, but significant, story sets the stage for God’s adopting nature throughout the rest of Scripture. He takes those who are not his, calls them his own, and gives them every blessing to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.

In the New Testament, the notion of adoption is that it is accomplished through the blood of Jesus. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the  Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

God not only gives us sonship in his family, he delights to do so. He delights in this because as his family grows, the blessing of Genesis 12 extends farther and farther. It becomes more ethnically, socioeconomically, and generationally diverse. His family is growing and people are being added to it…not to bring ourselves glory, but to extend his glory to the ends of the earth. God delights over you, he sings over you, he sent his one and only son to the cross because of his great love for you, and it brings him joy and glory to call you his son or daughter.

It is one of my greatest convictions that the doctrine of adoption should drive parenting. Having been adopted, we have joined the most important family line ever. Our children are a part of our earthly family. Some are a part of God’s family and some are not. We should not be tricked into thinking that our individual family membership trumps that of membership in God’s family. Pray for your children to become co-heirs of the kingdom with you. Lead them, but also be beside them in the journey as the Bible calls both you and your children “sons and daughters of God” without distinction. That is a humbling notion, isn’t it? As you wonder and awe at God the Father, share that with them as both their parent, but also as a sibling would. Share with them your spiritual inheritance that they would know the riches of the kingdom and want to follow in the footsteps of Mephibosheth…an unworthy man who was added to the greatest family ever.

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