But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. // 1 Peter 2:9
I have to share with you all a sermon that changed my life recently.
During my first week here in Costa Rica, we attended a conference at a church called Viña Escazu. It was all in Spanish. But the speaker was from Colorado. So he spoke in English, and his message was translated into Spanish. It changed my life. My prayer is that it does the same for you.
Quick update in case this is the first time you’ve heard this: God created the heavens and the earth and all things in it. He said it was good. Then he created mankind, and he said it was VERY GOOD. Life was perfect in the Garden of Eden. And then Adam and Eve fell…pretty hard. Like, really hard. Not like, “You’re grounded for a month” kind of fall. More like, “You can no longer live in the presence of The Lord.”
Then The Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also the tree of life and eat, and live forever – ” therefore The Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way of the tree of life. // Genesis 1:22-24
So Adam and Eve blew it. And 2000 years later, we’re no better.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. // Romans 3:23
But heres the good news: Jesus went to the cross to take away our sins AND reconcile our relationship with The Father.
Read that again. Jesus went to the cross to reconcile our relationship with The Father!
This is no small feat, my friends. This is a BIG DEAL.
Romans 8:13-17 says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'”
NOT a spirit of slavery, bondage, captivity, drudgery, restraint.
NOT a call to live in fear, anxiety, worry, uneasiness.
But a spirit of ADOPTION. When we think of adoption, we may think of it as helping out someone in need. Maybe it’s something we do out of compassion because we feel bad.
But when Paul writes to the Romans his idea of adoption is very different.
History lesson: For the first 200 years of the Roman Empire, almost every Roman emperor was adopted. Adoption was the easiest way to pass on power of the throne. One didn’t choose the next emperor because he felt sorry for the lad. He found the ones he believed in, ones he wanted to spend time with, the ones they wanted to raise up and hand the kingdom to.
Friends. God chose you. He did not feel sorry for you. He looked directly into your eyes and said, “I CHOOSE YOU. I believe in what I put inside of you!”
Adoption is not an act of compassion. It is an act of empowerment. You were chosen by the King of all kings.
One of the most important revelations Jesus brought to earth is that God is a loving father. “Abba” is the Hebrew word for father. But it had a specific image attached to it: it was only used by little children. The only image that came to mind when using this word was a little child climbing onto the lap of a father. This term was so common and intimate it was almost offensive. When Jesus uses it, he says, “This is the nature of the spirit of God.” God is not far off. He wants us to climb into his lap. When a child is in your lap, he feels chosen.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace which he has freely given us in the One he loves. // Ephesians 1:3-6
The word “Adopt” comes from the latin word adoptare: ad – to, optare – chose. It literally means to choose.
Before you had a chance to do anything wrong or right, the heart of The Father was convinced about you, about the idea of who you’re going to be. He was convinced you were worth dying for and giving himself abundantly to.
The pastor shared about when they adopted their son, Asher, before he was born. Before Asher even came to this world, he didn’t know his parents were filling out paperwork upon paperwork, doing all sorts of legal stuff to make this adoption possible. But every part of the process was another act of choosing him. Every secret thing that was arranged before he got here was an intentional act to get him here.
Before you took your first breath, God had arranged things for you to be here. EVERY SINGLE STEP.
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; // Jeremiah 1:5
When we settle this place in our hearts it allows us to not live in fear. When this isn’t our hearts, we seek for favor of friends and family (who will continually let us down, because they are human just like us).
Believe me when I say this. YOU ARE CHOSEN IN HIM. This is the foundation for every day of our lives. If we don’t understand our chosen-ness, we will fall back into a spirit of fear. There is power in knowing the name God has given you.
Regardless of whether you feel like you deserve the cross, the gospel is the news that this thing has already been settled. God already made up his mind.
Your only option is to rest in your chosen-ness.
If this isn’t truth in your life yet, read it over and over again until it is:
He calls you “My son.” He calls you “My daughter.” You are worthy. You are chosen.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. // John 15:16