Sunday, November 8, 2009

Adopted into God's Family

I'm a little surprised that I'm still posting about adoption in the Bible and here it is already the 8th of November (National Adoption Awareness Month). Each time I think this will be the last post in this series, but then I'm so blown away by the riches of the theology of adoption in the Bible that I keep coming back for more.

Today I want to marvel at the grace of God in His adoption of believing Gentiles into His family and their sharing in the covenental relationship with true Israel.

"At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:12-13

Paul writes in the above verses about God graciously extending salvation to the Gentiles. Was this a new plan, a plan B as some have suggested? I don't think so. Rather, it seems that God has always had a plan of international adoption to build His family "that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea: 'I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.' And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there they shall be called the sons of the living God." (Romans 9:23-26)

Since Paul is quoting above from Hosea in the Old Testament, deciding to include Gentiles in His family must not have been plan B, but part of God's plan all along. In fact, it is clear from Scripture that God's family transcends race, culture and nationality. "For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham." (Romans 9:6) "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galations 3:26-29)

The theological argument for God's plan of international adoption has merit, as seen in the verses above, but much more precious to me are the living examples we have in Scripture.

Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute who feared God more than her own death, risked her life to hide the Israelite spies. The book of Hebrews credits her belief or faith for this act. Not only was her life and the lives of her family spared by Joshua and the Israelites, but God goes so far as to include her in the lineage of Christ. I think that shows God always had a plan of international adoption for His family.

Ruth the Moabite widow also chooses the narrow path when she follows her mother-in-law to Bethlehem and uncertain provision, rather than staying with her own family in Moab after her husband's death. Again, the Bible tells us it is Ruth's desire to be identified with the one true God and His people that enables her to make this difficult decision. We all know the happy ending to this story. Boaz extends help to Ruth and Naomi, perhaps out of duty and obedience to God at first, but then falls in love with Ruth and marries her. There may have been prejudice in Israel against foreigners, but not with Boaz. The honorable and noble Boaz was the son of Rahab, so he had an intimate understanding that being a child of God was a matter of faith, not genetics. And Ruth would become the grandmother of David, the boy who refused to cower in fear against Goliath and the Philistines, who grew into the great King of Israel described as being a man after God's own heart. And of course, our Lord and Savior would be born from the line of David. The reason Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to register for the census, before the birth of Jesus, is because they are both descended from King David.

God didn't accept Rahab and Ruth into His family as second class citizens or as slaves. In fact, there are three Gentile women listed in the geneology of Christ (Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth) in the first chapter of Mathew. I think the reason their names are specifically listed, since women are often not recorded in geneologies in the Bible, is to show us that God has always had a plan for building His family through international adoption.


  1. That's a very neat perspective and I don't know if you covered it yet or not, but what about the foreigners that were allowed to "be" part of God's people. If they believed in the one true God they could "be" apart of His people too.

  2. Interesting thought. I think the foreigners fell into two categories, those like Rahab and Ruth that had faith in God and identified themselves with the Lord and His people. There were also probably foreigners who were not believers, but benefitted from being under the umbrella of God's protection of His people (when He wasn't punishing them:). In the same way we have people in our churches who benefit from the wisdom of God's word and being in the church even if they aren't saved. It's only a temporal benefit, but one nonetheless. That's my two cents, anyway. Thanks for the thought provoking comment!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.