Archive for the ‘Dr. Russell Moore’ Tag

Christ’s Death Effects our Adoption

Romans 8:15-17 – For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Christ’s death effects our adoption.  Consider the illustration of adoption in relation to our life in Christ.  Without Christ’s death on our behalf to pay for our sin, then we are not brought into God’s family as his children.  Adoption is a potent illustration of what happens in the life of a sinner when they are awakened to their need for Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross.  I recently heard of the experience of Dr. Russell Moore, the dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary, when he adopted two Russian baby boys.  I heard this story and I saw my life portrayed in the experience of these two little Russian boys.  Dr. Moore writes:

When Maria and I first walked into the orphanage, where we were led to the boys the Russian court had picked out for us to adopt, we almost vomited in reaction to the stench and squalor of the place. The boys were in cribs in the dark, lying in their own waste. Leaving them at the end of each day was painful, but leaving them the final day before going home to wait for the paperwork to go through, was the hardest thing either of us had ever done. Walking out of the room to prepare for the plane ride home, Maria and I could hear Maxim crying out for us and falling down in his crib, convulsing in tears. Maria shook with tears and I turned around to walk back in their room just for a minute. I placed my hand on both their heads and said, knowing they couldn’t understand a word of my English, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” I don’t think I consciously intended to cite Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 14:18. It just seemed like the only thing worth saying at the time.
When Maria and I at long last received the call that the legal process was over, and we returned to Russia to pick up our new sons, we found that their transition from orphanage to family was more difficult than we had supposed. We dressed the boys in outfits our parents had bought them. My mother-in-law gathered some wildflowers growing between cracks in the pavement outside the orphanage. We nodded our thanks to the orphanage workers and walked out into the sunlight – to the terror of the two boys. They’d never seen the sun and they’d never felt the wind. They’d never heard the sound of a car door slamming or had the sensation of being carried along at a hundred miles an hour down a Russian road. I noticed that they were shaking and reaching back to the orphanage in the distance. I whispered to Sergei, now Timothy, “that place is a pit, if only you knew what’s waiting for you. A home. With a mommy and daddy who love you. Grandparents. And great-grandparents. And cousins and playmates. And McDonald’s Happy Meals.” But all they knew was the orphanage. It was squalid but they had no other reference point, and it was home.
We knew the boys had acclimated to our home, that they trusted us, when they stopped hiding food in their high chairs. They knew there would be another meal coming, and they would not have to fight for the scraps. This was the new normal. They are now thoroughly Americanized, perhaps too much so, able to recognize the sound of a microwave ding from 40 yards away. I still remember, though, those little hands reaching for the orphanage. And I see myself there.

Why do we not live for Christ as we ought?  Why do we not hate sin as we ought?  It is because lying in a bed of our own waste is all we know and we spend little to no time considering what it is like to live beyond the walls of our orphanage – to live outside of our slavery to sin.  We’ve come to love our sin more than the one who can free us from our sin, just as those little boys had come to love that squalid orphanage more than those who had come to free them from it even though they were crying out to be freed from it.  The reason we continue to fall back into sin as if we were enslaved to it is because without even knowing it, we have become so comfortable with the conditions in the orphanage and have spent so little time thinking about the reward – Christ, whose death effects our adoption.