Reformed Churches, Adoption, and Faith Without Works

The reason we don’t talk about adoption, the reason we don’t teach and preach about it is because we don’t do it. It seems wrong to preach what we don’t practice. So we’re quiet instead.

What God thinks about adoption

While silence saves us from hypocrisy, it also leaves us ignorant. It leaves us thinking adoption is only for those struggling with infertility. Silence has some still believing there are theological objections to adoption. Silence fosters our lukewarm approach to adoption.

But God isn’t lukewarm about adoption. We read that before Man even fell into sin, God already had a plan to use adoption to bring us back to Him: “In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will…” (Ephesians 1:5).

Theological objections to adoption? What trouble we would be in if that were so! Who are we, if not the adopted sons and daughters of God? God doesn’t just love adoption; He invented it!

If not for it, we would have remained God’s enemies. But instead, through the “Spirit of adoption” we can cry out to God and call Him, “Abba, Father.” It is through adoption that we have become children of God (Romans 8:15-16).

Imitators of God

In Psalm 68 David describes God as “a father to the fatherless” (vs. 5) who “sets the lonely in families” (vs. 6). In James 1:27 we’re told that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”

Consider Ephesians 5:1-2:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

We are to be imitators of God because we are his children! Can we think of a better way to imitate our heavenly Father than to also be a father to the fatherless?

Does that then mean we should all adopt? No, it does not; while all Christian parents are called to teach their children the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Deut. 6:7, Ephesians 6:4), there is no similarly universal command to adopt. God doesn’t call all couples to it. And He doesn’t equip us all for it.

But a lot more of us may be equipped than we realize. We’re adopting at a rate that is comparable to the world, and yet our churches should be full of adopted children. Why? Because they already are! We are all adopted – by the grace of God we have been made His sons and daughters – so we, so much more so than the world, should be eager to go and do likewise.

Why Reformed churches should be full of adopted children by Jon Dykstra

When we do – not just say – what is right, then we will be blessed.

But not before…

James, the brother of our Lord, tells us very emphatically that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). I thought of this recently when I heard an older man speak of the “old days” when silver dollars were the only kind of money in circulation in this area, and good men refused to take paper dollars in change. Such paper money was despised as “funny money” and as likely sooner or later to lose value. This attitude was commonplace when I was a boy farmers, ranchers, and miners carried deep leather pouch purses in their jeans to hold “decent” money, silver change and silver dollars.

Then I asked my one and only question of the old man: did you save some of those silver dollars? His answer was brief: “Nope. Sure wish I had. They’re worth a lot of money these days.” He went on to say that he had known all along that silver dollars were real money, and paper money would “belly up.” But did he? I thought of him two nights later, as I read James 2:26. His “faith” in silver was worthless, and his paper assets are steadily depreciating; he was grumbling about how much harder it is to make ends meet financially. Scripture is right: faith without works is dead and worthless.

To say we believe in the Lord, and to continue living as though the world is governed by statism, money, or evil, is to profess a dead faith. Too many people who profess to believe in the Lord act as though the living God does not govern the world, or that He is not both Savior and Lord.

A faith with works moves in terms of Joshua 1:2-9. In the confidence of God’s word and victory, it moves out to possess the land for the Lord, in the bold confidence that His word is true, when He says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). (May, 1981)

R. J. Rushdoony, Taken from Roots of Reconstruction, p. 106.


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