Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Adoption Anniversary

35 years ago today I got a new father. I'm not talking about my heavenly Father. I already had a father who had gone to heaven. A year before, my mom had remarried. In 1983 the laws of Florida were such that parents were not allowed to adopt stepchildren until after a year of marriage.

On October 3, 1983, John Hamilton McGhee adopted Timothy Thomas Christensen as his son. It was a separate legal procedure to legally change my name to Timothy Thomas Christensen McGhee.

Whenever Dad told others about adopting me, he often expressed his emphatic wonder that “They changed the birth certificate.” That's true. They did. I thought I had my original birth certificate for some time. When I've looked for it in recent years, I've only found the one that's still the legal record of my birth.

Another adoption took place that day, too. Mom adopted my dad's daughter. She didn't get to name her Laurie Linda, but she had a daughter now. I was officially no longer the oldest child in my family.

Adoption is a picture of the kind of relationship God wants to have with us. No one is a child of God until they are adopted by Him. We know this because, “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

“[W]hen the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Galatians 4:4-7).

“[Y]ou did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:15-17).

Even Israel needs adoption. This is the very first thing Paul lists the needs Paul lists for the “Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” (Romans 9:4).

The Gospel message of how we get saved is how we become children of God.

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