How does the Bible view the adoption of children?

Adoption is the taking in and treating of another person’s child, who otherwise would grow up  an orphan, as one’s own. The act of adoption into a loving family is virtuous in God’s sight. Our Heavenly Father is the greatest adopter and promoter of adoption in all the world. “Sing to God, sing praises to His name… A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity…” (Psalm 68:4-6). 

Adoption in the Bible

The principle of adoption is taught in the Bible. Paul applies the term “adoption” to Christians because God treats them as His own children, even though by nature they were strangers and enemies (Romans 5:8, 10; Colossians 1:21). This implies that we by nature had no claim on God. Instead, His act of adopting us is one of pure love (John 3:16).

Paul wrote, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).

The Holy Spirit is the One who brings about this awareness of adoption to God. The awareness of adoption brings the feeling of love and confidence that children have toward their parents. It is contrary to the fearful spirit of servants toward their masters (Galatians 4:7). As adopted sons and daughters, we are now under His protection and care. Therefore, in loving gratitude we ought to manifest the spirit of children in willing obedience Him (Romans 8:12).

Paul also uses this expression in his writings to describe the typical adoption of the Jewish nation (Romans 9:4), the actual adoption of Jewish and Gentile believers as the children of God (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5), and the finalized adoption of believers in the future home of glory (Romans 8:23).

Examples of Adoption

There are several examples in the Bible for adoption. These examples show the blessings that came about from taking in a child that is not blood into ones family.

In the Old Testament, Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter when Pharaoh ordered a death decree to all Jewish male babies (Exodus 2:1-10). Moses’ life was spared and the Lord used him in a mighty way to deliver the Israelites from slavery.

Another example is that of Esther. She was adopted by her cousin Mordecai after her parents were killed in the war (Esther 2:5-7). Later, Esther, was chosen by God to save not only the life of Mordecai, but also all of the Israelites from sure destruction (Esther 7). Ultimately, her life honored God and she was used to save many of God’s people.

Lastly, Mephibosheth was essentially adopted twice. Initially, he was adopted at the age of five by his nurse when his father Jonathan was killed in battle. Upon rescuing this child, the nurse fell and hurt his feet so that he was lame the rest of his life (2 Samuel 4:4). He lived in hiding until he was an adult. Later, King David learned of him and desired to have him live in his palace. Mephibosheth was an heir from the previous king’s lineage, which could have been a threat to the throne. Regardless, David took him in as a son and had him eat at his table all of his life (2 Samuel 9:11).

All are Called to be adopted

Lastly, adoption is one of the most clear and beautiful acts of love. It has always been God’s plan to adopt all people into His family.  God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but rather a loving Father to all who desire to be His children.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6). 

May we accept this invitation into the family of God and receive the salvation He offers us by His grace.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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