Total Adoption

Total Adoption Sermon Illustration

God chose you—he knew what you’d be like, warts and all, and he chose you out of love to be his child. 4. But what does this look like? Well, a great example is in the classic book Ben-Hur, which tells the tale of a man by the same name. He is a Jew living in Jerusalem under Roman occupation. Early in the story, a roof tile accidentally falls and nearly kills a Roman. To spare a friend who accidentally knocked the tile off, Ben-Hur takes the blame for it. His property is seized, and he becomes a slave of the Roman Empire. He is sentenced to row on a galley ship for the rest of his life—which presumably will be very short. Instead, something unexpected happens: Ben-Hur ends up saving the life of the ship captain, who is a very influential Roman. They become good friends, and eventually, the Roman sees Ben-Hur as his son and formally adopts him. Ben-Hur receives a new Roman name, he becomes the heir to the property and money, he receives power and prestige. Adoption during the time of Paul was so total and complete that if a slave was adopted by a Roman citizen, not only did they cease to be a slave but they ceased to be the person they once were. So much so that Ben-Hur can return to Jerusalem and walk about in the streets, and everyone knows who he is, and no one can do anything to him because Ben-Hur the criminal no longer exists. A modern-day equivalent would be if you adopted someone serving a life sentence in prison, and the minute you adopt them, the prison is forced to set them free because the person they sent to prison no longer exists. That is how total adoption was in the Roman world. That is what it is like for us too: God has adopted us so now we are a new creation in Christ. Our relationship to the entire world has been changed by the fact that we are now a son or a daughter of God. When you see the depth of what it means to be adopted by God and made his child, you will see the complete implications for this for all of your life.