Adoption and Redemption

January 18, 2010 — Leave a comment

Reflecting on Ephesians 1:1-14 the other day, God struck me with a profound truth about the very nature of salvation:

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

I’ve certainly reflected on this passage often from a theological perspective, generally focusing on the predestining work of the sovereign God, but also in understanding the theological nature of adoption.  The fresh revelation for me was that I don’t often think of them together with the experience of a loving Father, rather as theologically distinctive aspects of salvation.

Our redemption through the blood of Christ, however, is an experience of the adopting love of a Father, not simply an historical fact.  In the same way that my friend Aaron Ivey longs to rescue his son, so too did God have the same longing as a Father, who sent his only begotten Son as a propitiation and sacrifice for redemption. Reflecting on the earthly process of adoption and fatherhood in general is giving such a fresh perspective on my own theology.  To think of adoption and redemption independently of one another is the residue of cold, theological calculation and divorced from the experience of God as my daddy, and I desperately need God to transform my mind and heart.

My prayer for the coming year is that I would continue to experience the fatherhood of God through the work of Christ.  May the knowledge of my head continue to be fused the affections of my heart.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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