Why Adoption Is a Higher Blessing than Justification

J. I. Packer:

Paul teaches that the gift of justification (i.e., present acceptance by God as the world’s Judge) brings with it the status of sonship by adoption (i.e., permanent intimacy with God as one’s heavenly Father, Gal. 3:264:4-7). In Paul’s world, adoption was ordinarily of young adult males of good character to become heirs and maintain the family name of the childless rich. Paul, however, proclaims God’s gracious adoption of persons of bad character to become “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

Justification is the basic blessing, on which adoption is founded; adoption is the crowning blessing, to which justification clears the way. Adopted status belongs to all who receive Christ (John 1:12). The adopted status of believers means that in and through Christ God loves them as he loves his only-begotten Son and will share with them all the glory that is Christ’s now (Rom. 8:1738-39). Here and now, believers are under God’s fatherly care and discipline (Matt. 6:26Heb. 12:5-11) and are directed, especially by Jesus, to live their whole lives in light of the knowledge that God is their Father in heaven. They are to pray to him as such (Matt. 6:5-13), imitate him as such (Matt. 5:44-486:1214-1518:21-35Eph. 4:32-5:2), and trust him as such (Matt. 6:25-34), thus expressing the filial instinct that the Holy Spirit has implanted in them (Rom. 8:15-17Gal. 4:6).
Adoption and regeneration accompany each other as two aspects of the salvation that Christ brings (John 1:12-13), but they are to be distinguished. Adoption is the bestowal of a relationship, while regeneration is the transformation of our moral nature. Yet the link is evident; God wants his children, whom he loves, to bear his character, and takes action accordingly.

—J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1993), 167-168.

[HT: Justin Taylor]

Adoption is a Community Project

The very heart of biblical Christianity is the reality that we are saved from living for our individual self and placed into a family. Adoption reminds us this very thing. We are part of a family that is called to live life together with gospel-intentionality. We worship together. Eat together. Struggle together. We share our lives with one another. The writer to the Hebrews says that we need daily encouragement and exhortation in the gospel if we are going to grow (Hebrews 3:12-13).

Just as our growth in Christ is a community project, adoption is meant to be done in community.

Every adoptive and foster family needs people around them that will support them. This is sadly one of the more neglected areas of focus in the adoption and foster care world and it is also one of the leading reasons why families burn out and things breakdown.

So whether you are an adoptive or foster family already or if you are considering it; ask yourself who your community will be. Who are those people who will support you when things get tough (and they will).

If you have people in your life already that is great! Ask, what can you do to help them become an even more effective support network.

If you don’t have anyone, don’t be discouraged, pray hard for who they are. They may already be in your life but just don’t know how to support you. It may take time. You are definitely not alone though.

Share your thoughts on what has worked for you? How has your community wrapped their arms around you in a meaningful way? What resources would be helpful for you in developing a support network? 

Federal Adoption Tax Credit is Made Permanent

We praise God that the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the bill to avert the fiscal cliff) made the adoption tax credit permanent!

Our friends at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute posted this today:

The bill permanently extends the increased adoption tax credit and the adoption assistance programs exclusion. Taxpayers that adopt children can receive a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses. A taxpayer may also exclude from income adoption expenses paid by an employer. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 increased the credit from $5,000 ($6,000 for a special needs child) to $10,000, and provided a $10,000 income exclusion for employer-assistance programs. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 extended these benefits to 2011 and made the credit refundable. The bill extends for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012, the increased adoption credit amount and the exclusion for employer-assistance programs as enacted in EGTRRA.

 

Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, said it well:  “The permanent extension of the Adoption Tax Credit not only guarantees vital financial help for families that choose to adopt.  It also underscores the commitment of the American people to the idea that children need families.”

There are still questions about the credit becoming refundable and some have encouraged people to contact congress to push for this. We will post more as information becomes available.

For more information on how the Federal Adoption Tax credit you can read this post.

What if 2013 was the year…

Screen Shot 2013 01 01 at 2 32 27 PMWhat if 2013 was the year that: 

  • Every waiting child in the US and Canada was adopted into a Christian family
  • Every child waiting for their family through international adoption was united with their family
  • Every Christian globally realized that they are called to care for the fatherless
  • Every country decided that they must do something to provide permanence for their orphans
  • Every country closed to international adoption opened back up
  • Every family waiting got the phone call or email they have been praying for
  • Every church developed a culture of adoption
  • Every orphan has a chance to hear the gospel

What would you add to the list? Will you join us in praying that this would be the year that God does more than we can ask or imagine for the fatherless!