Monday, December 3, 2012
Adoption means a new name
God's gift of Adoption is not a fringe doctrine in Scripture. Adoption is pervasive, especially in Pauline theology addressing it explicitly in Galatians, Romans, and Ephesians. One of my favorite statements on adoption comes from John-
1 John 3:1-2 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Adoption means we have a new identity. One of the key indicators of our new identity is a new name. The Westminster Divines offer the most thorough statement on the biblical doctrine of adoption that can be found in the first 1600 years of the church, pay special attention to the bold-
"All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption,by which they are: taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have His name put upon them,receive the spirit of adoption,have access to the throne of grace with boldness,are enabled to cry, Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father:yet never cast off,but sealed to the day of redemption; and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation."
Adoption is to have God's name put upon us!
Last week our newly adopted daughter had to get a few stitches in the back of her head after falling. My wife went ahead to the emergency room as I took our other children home. Later, after my mother came over to watch the boys at home, I went to meet Shari at the hospital. When I got to the front desk I told the nurse I was there to see my daughter and I gave her name. The nurse said, "sorry sir, there is no one with that name here". I insisted that my daughter and wife were indeed there, and that my wife just texted to say the doctor was putting stitches in as we spoke. Again the lady insisted my daughter wasn't there. Admittedly I was a bit frustrated and couldn't immediately figure out why she wasn't coming up in the system. Then it dawned on me. My daughter had been to that hospital a few times before we adopted her, under her old name. I went back to the desk and gave the nurse my daughter's old name and sure enough, she came up. I retorted at once- "that's not her name any more". I further said- "that person doesn't exist...you need to change her name in your system right now." "Sorry sir, that kind of thing has to happen with the registration department", replied the nurse politely. "Well, I want to be clear- if you send me a bill with that name on it, I won't pay it!", I said with some level of passion. "My daughter has a new name and a new identity- the old name and identity no longer exist, period."
That's how it is for us who are now "in Christ". We have a new identity. We have a new name. Just as the Westminster Divines captured biblical teaching- we now have His name put upon us!
Galatians 4:4-7 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!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.