Romans 8: 14-17
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a Spirit of adoption.
When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our Spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ- if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
Happy Pentecost! Pentecost means different things to us as Christians. Some call it the birthday of the church as the Jesus movement was born in a new way this day. It is also a day we remember the Holy Spirit being sent to the disciples in fire and wind. This day the Spirit of God filled the disciples so fully they were changed into a different version of themselves. A version where they finally were able to communicate the love and salvation of Jesus the Christ to the multitudes.
Most Pentecost Sundays I read and preach from the dramatic passage in Acts chapter 2 that tells of the disciples filling and transformation. But this year, the Romans passage assigned for Pentecost caught my eye. Probably because it talks about adoption and as an adoptive mother that word always catches my eye. Paul writes in Romans that all who are led by, or filled with, the Spirit are children of God as we have received a spirit of adoption. The Holy Spirit comes to us and binds us to God as children and God to us as Abba, or Daddy. The Spirit is a Spirit of adoption.
Now this metaphor makes sense to me as my daughter Libby is adopted. When she was 13 months old my husband and sister-in-law flew to China to meet our daughter and bring her home. I stayed in Georgia with our newborn son, so our daughter knew my husband, Jason for two weeks before she met me. When I greeted my husband and daughter at the airport after those two weeks together, I saw just how powerful the spirit of adoption is, for my daughter was indeed bound to her new daddy. In fact, she barely let him out of her sight. And he was as bound to her. He adored his new daughter every waking minute, even when that waking minute was at 2 AM because she had not yet gotten over jet lag.
These two were the epitome of a daddy’s girl and a Father whose daughter had him wrapped around her tiny finger. Jason actually took a month off from his job as pastor to help Libby settle in and during that month, they continued to be inseparable. Each day they delighted in discovering new things about each other and growing in their bond. Nothing made Jason happier than taking Libby out and showing her off to his friends and family. He would hold her propped on his arm like a little bird and say, “Meet my new daughter, my little girl.”
Have you ever had that experience of forming a precious new bond with someone? A child or grandchild or friend or mate? There is nothing like the connection and joy a new bond brings.
So it amazes me when I read that this is the relationship that God wants to have with me.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like a hot mess. I fumble around not doing what I intended to do or making mistakes I wish I hadn’t made. In my mind, God is up in heaven shaking the divine head at me. Wondering why I can’t just get it together? Sometimes I feel like asking for help again would be too much. As if I have reached my lifetime supply of screw-ups and am on my own now.
But that is not what Scripture shows us. Romans tells us that we have received the Spirit of adoption. That God is our Abba. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a good daddy like my daughter does, but if you are or if you know such a good daddy, then you know that means you can go to God with anything at anytime. That God will always be there for you. And even when we think we are a mess, God still loves us so much. And not only loves us, but delights in us, cherishes us, adores us. Even as we wonder if we are a lost cause, God is still pointing us out to the heavenly host saying, that girl there, that’s my daughter, my little girl.
The Spirit coming to us means that we will always have a bond, a connection, a relationship with God.
Moreover, as Paul points out later in this chapter, nothing will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God.
Pentecost means that we have been adopted as children of God, for always and forever. We are loved and cherished by our Abba. Nothing will change that.
But there is more. We are not just children, but heirs. This is an important difference, because in certain times and places children weren’t heirs because of their age or gender or legitimacy.
But Scripture is clear here that we are heirs of God. What will we inherit you wonder? Well, the obvious answer is eternal life, but I think there is so much more.
Back to my daughter, she is still a daddy’s girl. And adoption is funny, because even though they share no DNA our daughter is so much like her daddy. He started teaching her to bake as soon as she was old enough to stand in a chair in the kitchen and now she can bake anything, just like her dad. Not only that but she is as neat and organized as her daddy is and a hard worker like him too. I will take credit for some parts of her personality and some traits are all her own, but there is no doubt whose daughter she is, for she has so much of her dad in her.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful if people said that about us as Christians?
“Well, you sure know who his Daddy is. He is just and wise like his Father. She is so loving and kind. You know who she gets it from, right?”
It sounds like too much to hope for, but I fully believe it is possible that as we grow in relationship with God we can become more God-like, more Christ-like. The more time we spend with God in scripture study and prayer, in communion with not only our God but our siblings in Christ, the more we will be our Parent’s child.
So I tell you, not only Happy Pentecost, but Happy Adoption Day!
For Pentecost marks the day we received the Spirit of Adoption. The day God’s own Spirit became a part of us. The day we were bound in love to God forever. And the day we began to grow to be more and more in God’s image.
And that my friends is a reason to celebrate. Amen.]]>