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by Dennae Pierre Published Apr 28, 2011

When it comes to our adoption as sons and daughters of God (vertical adoption), the example of an earthly (horizontal) adoption hardly does justice to our heavenly adoption. When we hear the word “adoption” we think of scrawny, starving children in Africa who are now in America with loving parents who meet their needs. Or when we hear someone say they “adopted” we think of a neglected, abused, or poor child who deserves to be adopted, cared for, and loved. This is hardly what our adoption was like.

A better description of our adoption would be to think of ourselves like Carl. At fourteen Carl was already a gang member, skin head, and thief. By sixteen, Carl had become a prostitute and accomplice to murder. He was clinically diagnosed with RAD, ADD, and Attachment Disorder. Carl is in jail and will probably be there for a very long time. Carl is the epitome of an unadoptable child. What loving, kind family would choose to bring Carl into their home and make him their son? A kind person might share the gospel with Carl. A really loving person might take the time to develop an ongoing relationship with him. But adopt him? Make him their son? Give him all the rights and privileges of belonging to their family? This is unimaginable.

And so it is with us. We belong on the “unadoptable” list. We are delinquent prostitutes, murderers, and thieves who never should have had even a glimpse of God’s kingdom. Understanding how unworthy we were to be made sons and daughters of the living God deepens our understanding of how amazing our Father’s grace really is. It helps us not wallow in shame when we see our failures, because we know that our relationship with the Lord was never about our own righteousness. It gives us infinite reason to worship our loving Father and to the Lamb that was slain for our sake!

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