Thursday

Do You Know We're Adopted?

I am the granddaughter of Italian and Portuguese immigrants who traveled to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Whenever we coaxed, my grandmother would tell us how the ship on which she immigrated dodged German U-boats during World War I to cross the Atlantic from the Azores to Ellis Island.

I visited the National Archives a few years ago when I was in Washington, DC. Flipping through pages and pages of microfiche, I located my grandmother's 1934 census form. 

It was eerie to look at the handwritten page on which some unknown census worker had noted details of my grandmother's life. Single, 25, worked in a textile mill, lived with two brothers, a mother, and father. Reading those notations made me feel like I was peering over the census worker's shoulder and into my ancestor's kitchen.

Luke 3 contains a geneology not unlike my own. It begins with Jesus, the adopted son of Joseph, and travels back through quite a few generations until it reaches names that are more familiar. "Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh,"  Jesus's adopted genealogy ends with these final entries: "Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

As believers, we are grafted into that line (Romans 11). Instead of a physical genealogy, we have a spiritual one. Mine begins with a pastor named Wayne Wall, who led me to the Lord. It continues back through the man who led him to the Lord, all the way back until Gentiles were grafted into God's family through early church missionaries, through the work of one of the disciples,  and ultimately back to Jesus Himself.  This is where my spiritual genealogy ends -- right where it began, with Jesus, the Son of God.

Have you been adopted into God's genealogy? Don't think you belong to the family simply because you exist. The idea that everyone is a child of God is true only in the sense that he created us, like a painting belongs to Monet because Monet created it.

To be adopted in to God's family, not just his creation, we must call on him with a heart that is willing to forsake our sin and throw ourselves solely on his mercy, acknowledging that it is only Christ's finished work on the cross that can ever pay the sin debt we owe.

God's word encourages us to "examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-- unless, of course, you fail the test?" (1 Cor. 13:5).

One day we will all stand before God. He will ask us, "Why should I let you into my heaven?"

If our best answers are lists of our good works, the book of Isaiah says our good works are filthy rags in God's sight.  They are not enough to earn us a place in heaven or into God's family.

In His mercy, though, God provided a way of adoption. Listen to his words in Titus 3:

 "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."

Have you been adopted? Are you grafted in to God's family? If you are not sure, throw yourself upon God's mercy and pray,

"Lord, I acknowledge I have sinned against you and am not worthy to be called your child. I believe Jesus died on the cross to pay the punishment for my sin, because He was perfect and had no sin of His own to pay for. I accept what He did on my behalf. I forsake my sin and ask you to come into my heart and change me. Amen."

If you prayed this prayer and really meant it, God heard. The Bible says it's not his will that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.

Listen to what God's words says about those who have accepted Jesus by faith:

 For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will-- to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace" (Eph. 1:4-7).

Welcome to the family!


For more information on how to become an adopted son of God, CLICK HERE.

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