My wife and I are blessed with, what it seems, the best kind of friends God has to offer. I could speak for days about the gratefulness I have for the friends Christ has gifted to my wife and I.
Two of those friends are Steven and Lauren Shaw. They lead the singing for almost every age group at our church (check out their music here). I have known both of them for almost ten years. They are the salt of the earth kinda people. Great in generosity, committed to God’s people, saturated in kindness, centered on Christ, and overflowing in love & laughter. And the exciting news is, God blessed them yesterday with their first son, Eli King Shaw.
Even in the first day of his newly-birthed life, Eli has already caused me to rejoice in Christ’s amazing grace and love. You see, God has given Lauren and Steven Eli via adoption. You can read their whole story here on their most wonderful blog. Upon his birth, there are 10,000 things I have thought about – God’s generosity, kindness, care, love, provision, sovereign control, etc, – but, more than anything else, on the occasion of Baby Eli’s birth, I was reminded of the high blessing of adoption we have in Christ…
“Adoption is…the highest privilege that the gospel offers: higher even than justification… That justification – by which we mean God’s forgiveness of the past together with His acceptance for the future – is the primary and fundamental blessing of the gospel is not in question. Justification is the primary blessing, because it meets our primary spiritual need. We all stand by nature under God’s judgment; His law condemns us; guilt gnaws at us, making us restless, miserable, and in our lucid moments afraid; we have no peace in ourselves, because we have not peace with our Maker. So we need the forgiveness of our sins, and assurance of a restored relationship with God, more than we need anything else in the world; and this the gospel offers us before it offers us anything else…And as justification is the primary blessing, so it is the fundamental blessing, in the sense that everything else in our salvation assumes it, and rests on it – adoption included.
But this is not to say that justification is the highest blessing of the gospel. Adoption is higher, because of the richer relationship with God that it involves… Justification is a forensic idea, conceived in terms of law, and viewing God as judge…Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship, and establishes us as His children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the father is a greater. (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pp. 186-188).
God has given us adoption, like that of Beautiful Baby Eli’s, to rejoice in. It is a gift from his hand. However, in addition to being a gift, it also comes as a picture. God has given us adoption to teach us of the adoption He offers to all in Jesus Christ. In grace He sent His Only Son to, by grace, make many sinners His sons. For, “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child…“ (Galatians 4:4-6). The purpose of Christ’s cross was the sinner’s adoption.
As I rejoice in Baby Eli and his wonderful parents, I am reminded of my own adoption and the wonderful Father who has made me His own.