The New (Improved) You

"..having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.."
- Ephesians 1:5

The adoption process blows my mind!  I've seen children have their lives completely changed through the adoption process, even within my own family.  Though many people tend to think of the adoption process as a negative thing, for thousands of children, it's actually a process that saves their lives.

One child I know of came out of a life of abuse and and danger.  The biological parents were very irresponsible and careless, which resulted in the physical neglect of the child. The parents unwittingly placed him in danger many times, and through a series of events, the child was removed out of their care and given over to the State.

However, as always, the Lord has an eternal plan for those who He has chosen (Read Romans 8:28).  Soon a loving Christian couple, that was looking to adopt, came across this lovely and sweet child. Today, he has been the recipient of a new name, a new home, a brand new life, and (best of all) a completely new destiny in eternity!

Once you become aware of the human adoptive process, the words that Paul the apostle speaks to us in Ephesians chapter 1, take on an entirely new meaning. In Ephesians 1:15, writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul spoke of the spiritual adoptive process when he said:

"..having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.."

To the early Christians who received this letter in Ephesus, these words of Paul would take on an incredibly powerful dynamic, as they were intimately familiar with the ancient Roman custom of adoption in their day.

The Greek word that is used here is the word υἱοθεσίαν, or as we would write it "huiothesian", meaning to undergo the legal process of being made into sons; the process of permanent adoption.

The elaborate ritual through which one became a permanent and legally adopted son in ancient Rome, was fascinating. It was referred to in their culture as the "Vindictium". The parents seeking to perform the adoption would meet with legal representatives of the city along with seven witnesses, and the person to be adopted. Placed in front of the entire group would be large copper scales. The father seeking to adopt a new child would place a payment of money into the scales 3 times, as an outward sign of the seriousness of his commitment the child. Finally, after the third payment, the money was left in the copper scales as a visible symbol of the child was now purchased and paid for. Seven additional people would be there to observe the entire transaction as legal witnesses.

However, the most intriguing thing of all is what happened to the newly adopted person themselves. Once this legal process of adoption was completed, in the eyes of ancient Roman law, all of the ties that the newly adopted person had with their past were permanently and decisively cut! Even if the individual had pending legal charges due to past crimes, outstanding financial debts, or any other negative legal issues hanging over them, they no longer applied to him. In the eyes of Roman law, he was now a completely new person, and an absolutely different individual. Through the adoption process the individual became a completely new and different man! Therefore, the crimes, debts, and guilt of his past no longer applied to him!

In the Roman world, this process of adoption gave to the individual a completely new legal standing and position in his society. This newly adopted man now possessed the full legal rights of natural born sons to belong to the new family. He now had equal access and authority as a full family member. And in terms of society, he now possessed a permanent and completely new identity!

This is precisely what Paul the Apostle says happened to YOU upon adoption of the Family of God. All of the sins, crimes, and guilt of our past have been permanently and absolutely washed away. We have received, through Jesus Christ, a brand new name and identity. The person that you used to be, before Jesus, really no longer exists in the eyes of God, since you have been transformed into a completely new creature. Paul even tells us that all things have passed away and everything has become brand new! (Read 2 Cor 5:17)

Not only does this adoption you've received apply to your past, but it also powerfully applies to your present. Now that you are a fully adopted son or daughter of God, you have full access to all the rights and authorities of the children of God. The power and blessing of prayer, God's promise of provision, his sovereign protection, and the wonderful fellowship of God's family now all belong to you as a spiritual right of adoption.

There is now, in the entire family of God, no son or daughter who has a greater access to God what possesses, or who has greater privileges from God then yourself. You now possess, by the right of divine adoption and sonship, equal access to all the privileges enjoyed by God's children!

In Jesus Christ, you have now become a completely different person! You should think of yourself as "the new and improved you", because in the eyes of God this is exactly what you are!

Due to this wonderful reality of adoption, thru Christ, you have received a new name, a new identity, a new internal power, and new family, new inheritance, new rights and privileges, along with an unbelievable new eternal destiny!

So, for today, choose to look at yourself and think of yourself in the way that God does.  Begin to replace the image of yourself in your mind, with this new and amazing image of who God says you are. Choose today to start looking at yourself with the identity that you now have in and through Jesus Christ.

Remember this: You are not who the world says you are; nor are you who Satan says you are; and you are not even who you say you are. You are who GOD says you are!

And God boldly and proudly declares that you are now His newly adopted child. He has given you a new name, a new identity, a new family, and a new eternal destiny. Today, choose to say of yourself, "I am now a permanently adopted son/daughter of God!". (Read Gal 4:4-7)

Take time today to thank the Lord for graciously giving you this beautiful new self-identity as His adopted child...and be sure to live up to it as well!

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Jason Dennett

Jason Dennett is the teaching pastor at Calvary Chapel Puerto Rico. You can listen to Pastor Jason on "Comfort Ye My People" radio program Mon - Fri @ 4:00pm on WBMJ am 1190 San Juan // WIVV am 1370 Vieques // WCGB am 1060 Juana Diaz and Ponce