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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

May 4, 2018

God's adoptive children

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

As foster parents in the Philippines we met four couples who came to the Philippines to adopt a Filipino child. The couple from Norway who adopted our foster child "Joe" – he lived one year with us – could not have children on their own. They were delighted to have the opportunity to finally have a child. Of course, people who adopt a child don't know what inherited characteristics or potential health problems might be lurking in their new child's make-up. In many cases they don't know the child's biological parents, so they are not familiar with the child's family background and history.

But for most adoptive parents those concerns are not so important. Their joy over having a child outweighs any concerns. A child who had no home (or who was left at a garbage dump like our "Joe") is accepted as one's own child, regardless of the background.

God "adopts" as well, but with one big difference: Our past is burdened with sin and God is fully aware of that background. But He accepts us in love as His children. "This Man receives sinners", was the complaint of the Pharisees about Jesus (Luke 15:2). And in so doing, Jesus was doing what His heavenly father does.

"I can't reverse their calling", was the complaint a member voiced to me about other members in his local congregation in the United States some 30 years ago – members who didn't meet his standards but who were "good enough" for God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus", is what Paul wrote to Christians in Galatia (Galatians 3:28). These groups were apparently all part of the Galatian congregations, and the societal differences in the culture of their days were so great that most of them would not have had anything to do with others in the congregation if God had not called them all.

One of our foster children was adopted by a family from Hawaii that already had children of their own. Everyone in the family was happy to receive their new little brother as an "equal member" of the family.

"Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God" (Romans 15:7). Societal differences like those between a slave and a free citizen in the Roman empire don't exist in our congregation. If God "receives" us, shouldn't we do the same toward everyone whom He has called?

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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