Theology Thursday: God is our Heavenly (Adopted) Father

Adult hand holds child's hand with green foliage in background

“Is this going to be my last stop?” Those were the first words I remember my oldest son saying as he got into my car to come home with us. He was a six-year old foster kid at the time and we were taking him to his fourth house for the year; that meant his fourth bedroom, neighborhood, kindergarten class and family. His words cut me deeply as I could not fathom what it would be like to be six years old and to have to leave literally everyone you had ever known to go live with complete strangers. My wife and I did the best we could to reassure him that he could stay with us as long as he wanted, and gradually his anxiety began to fade. While none of us knew it yet, we would indeed end up being his last stop as he joined our forever family through the process of adoption.

While relatively few people know what it is like to be in foster care or go through the process of legal adoption, all Christians know what it is like to go through the process of spiritual adoption. On numerous occasions, the Apostle Paul refers to salvation as a form of spiritual adoption by which those who accept Christ as savior are adopted into the family of God. One such teaching is found in Romans 8:14-15 where Paul states, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!’” In these verses, Paul draws a powerful parallel from the relationship between a Christian and God the Father to the relationship between an adopted child and his earthly father.

When it comes to legal adoption, I would be lying if I said the adoption process was not difficult or even downright painful at times. Foster kids often have a deep seated fear of abandonment, feeling that the loss of their biological family and/or subsequent foster families was somehow their fault. They will test boundaries and even try to push their adopted parents away to be sure that their new parents really will love them no matter what, rather than send them away. Our son was no different and would, on occasion, put my wife or me in tears by things he said or did. But God used these difficult situations and the process of adoption to transform our lives and teach us some important lessons about God’s unconditional love and commitment to Christians.

As my son often tested the boundaries of my love by acting out, so too have I often tested God’s love and boundaries. As my son has gradually learned that we are never going to give up on him or send him away, so too will Christians who put their faith and trust in God and “have received the Spirit of adoption” eventually learn that God does not give up on his children. God, our Heavenly Father, has made a commitment to us, His adopted children, and His unconditional love will not waiver no matter how much we might try to push Him away. God’s heavenly kingdom will indeed be our “last stop”!

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.