I watched a video recently that made me tear up. It was an adoption video, where they captured the actual court proceedings and the viewer got to see the slam of the gavel and the judge officially declare the teenager a son of the two parents.
It was beautiful to watch. The teenager went from having no family to, all of the sudden, having a family. From stranger, to friend. From orphan, to son. The beauty of adoption. And here’s the best part: the teenager did absolutely nothing to deserve it. You know why he was adopted? Because the parents chose to do so. It was from the good will of their hearts to adopt that boy and change his life.
This is a wonderful picture of what happens when God saves us. But there is so much more. The teenager hadn’t done things wrong and the parents didn’t need to be appeased. Though there are similarities, this example—just like all examples—never paint the clearest picture of God’s love for us. In our adoption, we went from enemy (Romans 5:10) to friend (John 15:15); from hater of God (Romans 1:30) to lover of God (1 John 4:18). Friends, this is astounding. It is revolutionary, out of this world.
Our adoption into the family of God didn’t merely have to have the formal (heavenly) court proceedings of declaring us God’s children; we had to be forgiven first. We were (and still are) sinners. Because it wasn’t all peaches and roses before hand. We were previously at war with God (Romans 8:7). But once he adopts us, it’s over. “ . . . once we are welcomed into His family,” wrote the late R.C. Sproul, “we are truly His sons and daughters, and there is no more war.”
As children of God, we have special access to him. We can, as Hebrews 4:16 states, “approach his throne of grace with boldness.” Boldness does not mean arrogance. Boldness, in this context, is confidence. Not confidence in ourselves, but confidence that we’ve been adopted into his family because of the blood of Christ. Jesus’s atonement solidified our unrestricted access to the throne of grace—and we had nothing to do with it (Ephesians 2:8).
This is an exercpt from my upcoming book project, tentatively titled When God Says No: How to Respond to Unanswered Prayer.