I watched a Shirley Temple movie recently, Curly Top, and was reminded of her role as Elizabeth, a young orphan. This old B&W film recounted her life in an orphanage when suddenly someone chose to adopt her. Elizabeth questioned this man on the meaning of adoption. He replied to her, “you will live in my house and have the advantages of everything I own.” That’s also a picture of the scriptural meaning of adoption from Eph. 1:5.
The family of Abraham was adopted by God and the nation was named His firstborn son. Israel was the predestined vessel God chose to bring His love to the world. Paul tells us in this verse that we are also predestined for adoption, however, ours is a spiritual adoption. Just like in Curly Top, we were picked out or chosen by Him. That gives us rights and privileges as John tells us in his gospel.
But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. (John 1:12, 13 NLT)
Since we become His children when we come to Christ, who is also called the Son of God, we become co-heirs. What belongs to the Son, belongs to us.
For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 NLT)
What a wonderful spiritual blessing we have in Christ! He elected us because He already loved us. We were specifically selected to be His adult children with the status due His family. That little word ‘for’ or ‘unto’ adoption connects them. It literally means a work done with a view in sight. When God was planning His creation He had our adoption in His view and it would be accomplished through Jesus Christ. One Son giving His life for all of those who would become His adopted sons. The NLT translation reads, “This is what He wanted to do and it gave Him great pleasure.”
So what do we do with this spiritual blessing of adoption? Jesus answered that question:
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. (Luke 6:35 NLT)
John confirmed it for the end times:
All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:7 NLT)
Remind yourself of your position in the family of God this week. If things aren’t going smoothly for you it’s your right as an adopted child of God to claim His promises from Eph. 1:3-14.