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The right to become

February 22, 2011

She appeared out of her poverty at my window, smiling, filthy, fingers outstretched. She acted like our moments were stolen, while we talked and delivered precious gifts of food, a t-shirt, crayons, a book about a Heavenly Father. As a street child, she was not welcome in the restaurant, and the guard chased her away each time. Before she could answer my questions or sit down, she was signaled away to her hidden master whose cruelty kept Rona enslaved. My little friend with only a piece of a name, no family, no hope. One single declaration could’ve changed her future, a declaration of adoption.

When God responds to our faith by justifying us , He declares us acceptable. Our old identity of condemnation is cast off, while, “to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God … born of God” (John 1:12).  Instead of oppression, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).  From spiritual poverty we’re invited out of sin’s slavery by God’s grace and legally adopted as children who cry “Daddy” to our Heavenly Father.

Life changes when we’re adopted. We join the family of the adopted, with brothers and sisters in Christ who aren’t separated by race or language or earthly distinction (Gal. 3:25-28).  As part of this family, our Father wants to bless those He’s redeemed, so He makes us heirs of His abundance (Rom. 8:17).  We become co-heirs with Jesus Christ, meaning our current life receives new blessings and provisions, but the fullness of our adoption has yet to be realized.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Our full inheritance as adopted sons is yet to be completed. Adoption is legally declared and grants us many benefits in this life, but so much more awaits (Rom. 8:23).

From out of the impoverished darkness of spiritual captivity, adoption grants us new identity as a child of God, a new place in the family of God, a new reality for life here on earth, and a new future with a full inheritance awaiting us. For the desperate, it’s a dream come true.

Several years after I  last saw Rona, I met a little girl with similar dark eyes and tiny fingers, while helping in a classroom. But she had colorful clothes and clean hair, matching shoes and a bow. She spontaneously danced around the room, taking every opportunity to hold hands and sit close; she was used to love and trusted easily. The little girl had been found as an infant, abandoned in a field, broken and disfigured, unwanted, but she had been scooped up and rescued. She received a new identity, a new family, a new life, and a new future. After school, she was welcomed with affection by her family. She had been adopted.

Physical adoption is an earthly glimpse of a divine rescue. There’s no need to stay in spiritual rags, beg for crumbs, and scurry back to a hateful master in darkness. Once “adopted,” we should never crawl back to our desperation again. Imagine the scope of affection, inheritance, and future hope we receive once rescued out of our spiritual poverty, embraced by the One who wants us to call Him “Abba,” and welcomed safely home!


Have you seen or experienced a glimpse of earthly adoption that whispers to you of the divine?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 9:35 am

    Beautiful picture of God’s love Julie! What is amazing to me about our adoption is we don’t do anything to deserve it. God doesn’t look down and only choose the most beautiful (or the most messed-up). Just like our child waiting for us in Ethiopia, we can do nothing to deserve adoption. And I love that you included Gal. 3:25-28–one of my favorite passages on salvation.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      February 22, 2011 10:26 am

      Such good insights, Sandra, from an adoptive mother. I’m really excited to see where your journey leads, and I can’t imagine what your “welcome home” will be when your little boy comes to you! Makes me think of God’s anticipation of us coming to heaven at last.

      Julie Sanders

  2. February 22, 2011 4:38 pm

    Oh, I love this description, Julie. I think one of the most vivid pictures of this to me was on a missions trip to Haiti back in the 90’s. We went to the abandoned children’s ward in a “hospital,” where unwanted children were literally left to die. We were able, by God’s grace, to get the paperwork through to take the children who were currently there to a Christian orphanage. I will never, EVER forget UNTYING tiny Caroline from the bed where she was kept and surely would have died, carrying her out into the sunshine and into the arms of people who loved the Lord Jesus and would love her, as well.

    The truth sets us free, indeed.

  3. February 22, 2011 11:41 pm

    Beautiful. Beautiful post, and even more beautiful truth.

    This gift of heavenly adoption as God’s child (God’s child! Amazing! He created us, loves us, and welcomes us – no matter how much we have missed the mark) is so beautiful that I often feel like crying. And those feelings are just from what I understand now. What I understand now is only a fraction of what we will know and experience in the life to come.

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      February 23, 2011 8:53 am

      I thought the same as I considered how to present this post. I am only able to glimpse a little bit now, and it’s so amazing. Someday we’ll really “SEE” the abundance in full detail. Truly, I can’t yet imagine how great it is to be an adopted daughter of the Heavenly Father!

      Julie Sanders

  4. stephanieshott permalink
    February 23, 2011 10:35 am

    Julie ~ I’ve been pondering your post since yesterday and I have to tell you, it brought on a flood of emotions. I’m SO thankful for the significance of adoption. It is so personal for me on so many levels that all I can do is stand in awe at how wonderful God is! He ordered my steps before I was ever born and placed with two wonderful parents. He gave me a godly husband who adopted my oldest son and made him legally his. And more amazing than all that is that God birthed and adopted me into His forever family, making me forever His! Oh, what a Savior!

    • Julie Sanders permalink
      February 23, 2011 11:25 am

      I’m really looking forward to you sharing your story at the retreat in April. I know the picture of adoption is more real to you than I could every know, and I’m thankful, friend, that you’ve shared it through your life and message!

      Julie Sanders


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