“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” –Romans 8:11
Before Kelly and I adopted our twins, week after week I felt an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. Unlike my wife, I never grew up wanting to adopt. In fact, I’d always thought of adoption as something for really spiritual people. But as our Lord often does, His grace found me. I wasn’t looking for our babies. Through infertility and tears and years of indecision, it was God who brought our family together. And I only began to relinquish my sense of inadequacy for such a high calling when I embraced the very idea of adoption itself. From start to finish, adoption is His doing. My journey to my children and their journey to me were both a part of the Father’s grand design, precisely like our heavenly adoption. The God who opened Sarah’s womb is the same God who, no less miraculously, opened my heart to adopt two children who don’t share my DNA. That’s the power of Easter: life from death. Today the empty tomb eliminates any boasting in my salvation as well as any boasting in my title as an adoptive parent. This Easter, when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, we also testify to a Holy Spirit powerful enough to turn rebels into relatives. We weren’t looking for Jesus; He found us. And He now calls us brothers. (Heb. 2:11) Resurrection Sunday is the day we celebrate the promise that corpses become children. The following are three reasons that Easter is our Adoption Sunday.
- The Empty Tomb Is An Empty Orphanage
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!’” –Galatians 4:4-6
The Gospel isn’t simply a message of salvation from sin and death. Remarkably, it’s also a legal form of adoption signed in blood and delivered through the Holy Spirit. In order to make room for many sons in His kingdom, God spared not His own Son. (Rom. 8:32, Heb. 2:10) But without the power of the resurrection, not one spiritual orphan would ever muster the love or the will or the strength to call upon a gracious Father. The power of the grave is the power of sin, and the power of sin is the power of obstinate orphans who would rather live namelessly than reside in glory. Thankfully, in the name of Jesus, The Holy Spirit is the power to awaken cold, dead hearts and to give orphans the breath to cry Daddy. The empty tomb is an empty orphanage.
- His Resurrection Is Our Reward.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellows heirs with Christ.” –Romans 8:14-17
The Gospel isn’t simply emancipation. It’s endowment. When God accomplishes our liberation from spiritual slavery through the work of Christ, He holds our hand all the way home by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sons of the King don’t return to the orphanage. The fear of slavery is foreign to their new heart and their new family. By faith, the difference between the Old Covenant and the New is the spirit of adoption. After loosing the pangs of death, Jesus never returned to the grave. (Acts 2:24) Likewise, His children don’t return to poverty and destitution. That’s not a prediction; it’s a promise. (Jer. 32:40) The Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the grave is now the stamp and seal of our sonship. (Eph. 1:13) There’s no turning back to the orphanage. His resurrection is our reward.
- The Spirit is Thicker Than Blood.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” –John 1:12-13
The Gospel isn’t simply a new life; it’s a new family. And family ties run deep. When orphaned sinners are found “in Christ,” they’re bequeathed every heavenly blessing that belongs to the eternal Son of God. And this adoption comes through the Holy Spirit, predestined in love before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:6, 14) To be born again is to be born into the household of God by the power of the resurrection – the very life of Christ by which He subjects all things to Himself. (John 3:5, 1 Cor. 15:28) Therefore the power of the Holy Spirit transcends every earthly loyalty and allegiance under the name above all names. (Luke 14:26) God gave spiritual orphans the “right” and the privilege of being called His sons. That’s an unthinkably high honor. The Spirit is thicker than blood. It’s the bond that holds together the church, the eternal household of God (Eph. 4:3)