The next reason why we have chosen to adopt from Ethiopia is that adoption exists as a picture of salvation. The truth fills the pages of the New Testament. Author and theologian Robert Reymond writes, ‘Throughout the New Testament, the concept of adoption is ever-present. The writers of the New Testament often used words such as ‘son’ [2 Corinthians 6:18; Galatians 3:26; 4:6-7; Hebrews 2:10; 12:5-8; Revelation 21:7], ‘child’ [John 1:12; 11:52; 1 John 3:1, 10; 5:2; Romans 8:16, 21; 9:8; Ephesians 5:1; Philippians 2:15], ‘little child’ [Hebrews 2:13-14] and ‘sonship’ [Romans 18:15, 23; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5; Romans 9:4] to demonstrate the change in relationship with the Father that we experience on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, the Westminster Larger Catechism [answer to Question 74] addresses the question of our own adoption as children of God, stating, ‘Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.’
In other words, as the New Testament writers so clearly state, our adoption as children of God involves:
- His choosing of us in Christ because of His gracious love towards us.
- Our receiving of Father's name (Ephesians 2:19; 3:14-15) and our assurance of His protection and provision as His children
- Our "sealing" by the work of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), and the comfort and hope of knowing that we can never lose our salvation. It is certianly noteworthy that when Paul was writing in the first century, it was Roman law that an adopted child could never be "disowned" as a biological child could. No doubt this was part of the reason Paul appropriated the concept of adoption with our salvation.
- The hope and joy of our future inheritance and blessing in Christ as co-heirs with Him (Romans 8:17; 1 Peter 1:4-5)
Clearly, each of these four, biblical aspects of our eternal adoption is present in the practice of domestic and international adoption. Consequently, when one then begins to understand the miracle of our eternal adoption by our Heavenly Father, then the picture of ‘earthly’ adoption gains a new, far richer, and more beautiful dimension.