Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why We Are Adopting-Part 2

2. God loves the nations.
The second reason that we have chosen to adopt, specifically internationally, is because of God’s revealed love for the nations. As far back as Genesis, God reveals His plan to bless every nation through the descendants of Abraham [Genesis 12:1-3]. In Psalm 2, the psalmist, speaking of the ‘inheritance’ of the Son of the LORD, writes: ‘I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.’ Also, in Psalm 22:27, we read, ‘All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will worship before You.’

I am currently in the process of preaching through the Book of Acts, and two truths that God continually reveals in this book are: (1.) every individual, regardless of race, is a sinner in desperate need of a Savior; and (2.) the Gospel is, indeed, the universal power of God for salvation, for all who believe. The Jewish leadership of the first century, particularly the Pharisees, held to a tradition and a conviction that God in some way favored the Hebrew race above all others in the world. This primitive form of racism; however, could never be supported biblically. Further, it reflected a belief, on the part of the Jews, that there was something ethnically inherent to the Jewish people that God in some way ‘preferred’ over the Gentile nations. At its root, this type of racial exclusivity demonstrated that the Jews believed they were in some way more ‘like God’ than all other nations.

However, YHWH our God is fundamentally different than everyone and everything. He is the eternal, infinite and transcendent Creator who created ex nihilo, out of nothing. He is the uncaused Cause, the unmoved Mover. There was never a time when He was not, and there will never be a time when He ceases to exist. He is in need of nothing. In fact, God had no compelling need to create. He was fully self-sufficient from all eternity. In his classic work, Desiring God, John Piper rightly asserts, ‘Within the triune Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), God has been uppermost in His own affections for all eternity. Therefore, God has been supremely happy in the fellowship of the Trinity.’ Thus, God is essentially [in His essence] unlike anyone or anything.

For this reason, no man, no nation, no culture may rightfully claim to have the ‘inside track’ with God [It was always God’s plan and will to save Gentiles (see Isaiah 49:6)]. No individual or group of people, to include ethnic Jews, is any more God-like than the rest. This was, indeed, the point the Apostle Paul was making in the first three chapters of his Epistle to Romans. This section culminates in the great passage in Romans 3:

But now apart from the Law of righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for their is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Commenting on this passage, Douglas Moo writes,
'[Paul's] 'no distinction,' as we would expect, has to do with the absence of any basic difference among people with respect to their standing before God. Jews may have the law and circumcision; Americans may lay claim toa great religious heritage; 'good' people may point to the works of charity; but all this makes no essential difference to one's standing before a righteous and hold God....Paul, then, is indicating that all people fail to exhibit that 'being-like-God' for which they were created.....'

Therefore, regardless of culture or ethnicity, an impassable gulf separates us from God. It is a chasm that no man, regardless of how ‘righteous’ his is, could ever even begin to cross. Yet, it is not until one understands this infinite gap that separates sinful man from the one true, living, and holy God, that he or she can even begin to grasp the unfathomable miracle revealed through our adoption into God’s family. We are finite and sinful…God is infinite and holy! No degree of human effort, regardless of how sincere, could even begin to bridge the gap that separates us from our Creator. Yet, God, who is infinitely rich in divine mercy, chose, in accordance with the council of His own will, to condescend to us, through the Person of Jesus Christ, and save His people. It is through the redemptive work of Christ, and the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, that God the Father has adopted us as His children. This is, indeed, a miracle of infinite proportions…one that the mind can never fully comprehend.

It is only when we understand the infinite gap that separates us from God that the ‘gap’ separating us from other humans in other races is ultimately put into proper perspective. People often stress to Kimberly and I the great cultural and racial gap that will exist between us and our Ethiopian children. Yet, such concerns ultimately fade completely from our view when considered in light of the infinite, eternal gap that God bridged, through the work of Jesus Christ, in order to reconcile us to Him.

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