We All Are Orphans

Those who know me or have read my book, Adopting the Father’s Heartknow that I struggle with how fostering and adoption fits with my desire to serve on the foreign mission field. Logistically it still baffles me a little.

 

Friend from Mercy Center Children's Shelter Thailand

Friend from Mercy Center Children’s Shelter Thailand

 

But, God is teaching me how the two originate from the same source. Any desire to reach out to others comes from a Father’s heart.

A book that I am reading now is Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father

Dan Cruver, author of most of the book, explains how we usually have a horizontal view of adoption. In other words, when I say adoption, you usually think of a family adopting an orphaned child. Dan contends that we have lost sight of the vertical aspect of adoption.

We all are orphans needing adoption by a Heavenly Father.

What does that have to do with serving on the foreign mission field or doing anything missional for that matter?

Dan along with a few others are reshaping my concept of adoption, so that I can take a “God-centered view rather than a man-centered one.”

The rest of this blog I quote a lot from Dan Cruver’s book, so if it resonates with you, I recommend you buy the book.

“Paul is the only writer in Scripture to employ the word adoption, and he does so in four separate passages.”

Before Time: Ephesians 1:4-5

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,according to the kind intention of His will,  NASB

We see that God’s first work of adoption happened even before He created the universe…

Adoption was not a divine afterthought. It was in God’s triune mind and heart before the first tick of human history’s clock. Adoption therefore predates the universe itself. Only God and his triune love are “bigger” than adoption.

Cruver, Dan; John Piper; Scotty Smith; Richard D. Phillips; Jason Kovacs (2010-12-26). Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (p. 12). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

I love that adoption was on God’s mind and heart before Creation!

Israel: Romans 9:4

who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,  NASB

God redeemed them (Israel) before he adopted them. He redeemed them in order to adopt them.

Cruver, Dan; John Piper; Scotty Smith; Richard D. Phillips; Jason Kovacs (2010-12-26). Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (p. 13). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

The fact that God redeemed Israel, as a people or nation, before He adopted them is important.

Jesus: Galatians 4:-6

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption assons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Just as God redeemed Israel in order that he might adopt them, so also has God redeemed us in order that he might adopt us! Redemption is not the end of God’s work. Adoption as sons is.

Cruver, Dan; John Piper; Scotty Smith; Richard D. Phillips; Jason Kovacs (2010-12-26). Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (p. 13). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

For me, that is transformational!

New Heavens & New Earth: Romans 8:15,22-23

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”…22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.  NASB

When the story of redemption reaches its intended goal, the Bible calls it “adoption.”

Cruver, Dan; John Piper; Scotty Smith; Richard D. Phillips; Jason Kovacs (2010-12-26). Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (p. 14). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

Paul’s use of adoption in Romans 8 teaches us that missional living is not directionless living. Missional Christians daily fix their eyes on the climax of God’s work of adoption—God’s renewed heavens and earth. So we see that Paul teaches that God does not merely redeem us—through adoption he brings us into the warmth, love, and gladness of his own family. Redemption was never intended to be God’s “be-all and end-all” work of grace. God redeemed us in his Son so that he might love us and delight in us even as he loves and delights in his eternal Son. As we shall see, adoption is God’s act of making room within his triune love for prodigals who are without hope, and providing them with homes in this world and the world to come. This is the story of adoption.

Cruver, Dan; John Piper; Scotty Smith; Richard D. Phillips; Jason Kovacs (2010-12-26). Reclaiming Adoption: Missional Living through the Rediscovery of Abba Father (p. 14). Cruciform Press. Kindle Edition.

I can’t say it any better than that! Next week I will follow-up with some practical application of this adoption theology and how it shapes who I am and how I live my life.

What about you—Do you see yourself as a son or daughter that cries out “Abba, Father?”

I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “We All Are Orphans

  1. I love that picture of you up top. As I was looking at it, I was like, “Ah… That’s such a good picture. Is that steering wheel on the wrong side?! It is on the wrong side!!!!”

    As far as crying Abba, father, I sure do. Every single day. I never considered myself orphaned though. I had great parents that made sure to provide for me, so it’s almost painful to consider that I was/am and orphan. However, I understand fully the idea of God adopting us as his own. I will most likely get my hands on a copy of Dan Culver’s book so I can explore this idea further.

    • Yep, the steering wheel is on the other side. That was from when we were in Thailand. That cute little boy was one of our favorites that lived at the Mercy Center Children’s Shelter in Pattaya, Thailand.

      Do get the book and read more of this idea of us all being an orphan. As we grasp this concept, our motivation to serve others moves from an external motivation to an internal motivation.