Adoption perhaps stands second only to marriage as a physical, earthly actualization of the gospel. The whole process from the parents’ selection of the child to that family’s struggles (i.e. paperwork, financial cost, corrupt legal systems, and time away from loved ones) to securing a precious child from a rough situation displays how Christ graciously chose us and also suffered for us so that we might have eternal bless. And for this reason alone, the church should be excited and supportive of adoption. Moreover as James writes, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the father is this: to visit the orphan and widows in their affliction” (1:27). But, the benefits of adoption as an expression of true faith do not stop here.
The arrival of adopted children also brings the Great Commission zooming into in our towns and communities. When our children’s ministries are filled with Asians, Africans, Hispanics, Caucasians, and every other race, our churches can no longer make missions something that happens out there (oh say, in Africa somewhere). It’s happening here and now on the playground. When we teach Sunday school, we are reaching the nations. With the entrance of each adopted child into our kids’ zone, our churches begin to resemble heaven more and more!
Are you excited? I hope you are! Adoption when done through the love of Christ is amazing.
The Community Challenge
Now, it will challenge our application of the gospel. If we think that church should be a nice social club for this ethnicity or for that culture, we will be troubled. Likewise, those who love the idea of their child marrying someone just like them will probably be put out by the possibility of their child marrying someone with different skin tones. But those who think this way don’t ultimately have an issue with adoption.
The One Way Forward
Their problem is with Jesus. Our Savior teaches that “Here there is not Greek, Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all” (Col 3:11). If this is true, then the color; culture; and; ethnicity of our kids or of our kids’ friends don’t matter. Now, putting off sin and embracing Christ is a big deal. But all the other discriminating ideas we embrace are superficial and can be outright sinful. Notice that James 2:9 says, “But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” To be a loving follower of Jesus, we must joyfully embrace adoption and all its ramifications for our local church. There is no other biblical option.
After all, our Savior is not all about protecting our church’s music style or our family’s homogeneous Christmas pictures. His plans are way bigger than making sure we feel comfortable in our sanctuary. Jesus is about saving people from all over the globe. Notice, he commands us to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Math 28:19). He wants his people to follow his example and love all people from all cultures and ethnicities as if they were our brothers, our family members. Adoption powerfully reminds all of us of God’s mission and also enables all of us to partake in God’s global kingdom plan.