Restoration and adoption
Senior Minister Mat Yeo writes about how fostering has reminded him of God’s love for us, and the restoration and adoption he grants us.
As you probably know, our family has been fostering for almost two years now. When we receive a child, at the outset we are told one of two things regarding the plan for them. They are either on track to be restored to their family, or they are on track to be adopted.
Now it’s never that clear cut of course, especially at the start. But generally those are the two pathways.
As I’ve thought about it, it’s actually a very good picture of what the Lord has in store for all those who come to him in faith. But in God’s case, it’s not an either/or—it’s both!
Now, ‘restored’ isn’t a word the Bible particularly uses to describe our relationship with God. But the very similar word it does use, which I’m sure we are all familiar with, is the word ‘reconciled’. That is the idea that two parties who were once together, then apart, have now been brought back together. (Colossians 1:21) That is a great word to describe some fostering scenarios and a brilliant word to describe what Jesus’ work on the cross has achieved for us.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. 2 Corinthians 5:18–19
Or think of the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. A young man who chose to spurn his father and leave, but who eventually came back and received the father’s loving embrace. Reconciliation!
Five times in three different letters, Paul uses the word ‘adoption’ to explain the effect of the work of all three members of the Trinity. We are predestined by God for adoption as sons and daughters of the Heavenly Father by the work of the Son (Ephesians 1:5). The Spirit brings about our adoption to sonship and by the Spirit we cry “Abba”, Father (Romans 8:15).
What an extraordinary truth, that we are fully members of the family of God. That we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). That we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14)
Sarah and I have the enormous joy of both raising a child and also having a living, breathing, constant reminder of God’s unfathomable love for us all. I pray we all might rejoice as we think of the new relationship with God that Jesus’ sacrifice has made possible.