It happened one cold, sunny morning in early March. This day was long awaited, with many questions if the time would actually come. And come it did. My sister-in-law had “triplets”, two boys (11 years old and 7 years old) and a girl (8 years old). Overnight we had three new additions to our family.
Let’s take a few steps back.
Years ago, before this blessed day, my brother- and sister-in-law were being prepared for something they didn’t even know was part of their calling. At first glance, the move north was for a job. Or so it seemed. With countless unknowns, step by step, they followed God’s leading. While there was more involved in this process than I will ever know, I do know that walking by faith was required.
And walk by faith they did.
The three blessings entered their lives almost two years before the kids “officially” became part of our family. And on March 2, 2016, they were legally chosen, and our family became a little sweeter.
Recently, a thought occurred to me: there were actually several of us who were chosen to take on the last name “Joy.” I was chosen by my husband to be part of this family. My sisters-in-law were chosen by their husbands to take a new name. Some of the children were naturally born into the family and some were chosen years after they were born. Our family is compiled of those who naturally descended and some who were in a sense “grafted” in. I am one of the grafted.
And so it is in the body of Christ.
Going back to the Old Testament, the word “chosen” was primarily used in reference to Israel. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6) There was no doubt that the Jewish race was originally the chosen people of God.
Now, fast forward about four hundred years to the New Testament. There was another group of people who were looked down upon, despised really, by the Jews. They were called the Gentiles. And here is where Jesus introduces adoption, essentially abolishing the elitism that the Jews so proudly held over everyone else. In other words, the Gentiles were now the chosen people of God, too.
- Galatians 3:26-28, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
- Ephesians 1:4-5, “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 to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…”
- Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”
- 2 Peter 1:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
These letters were written to Jews and Gentiles alike. I’ve read these verses in the past and didn’t think much about it. But to a Jew, the thought of a Gentile being chosen was quite foreign. The Gentiles were now just as much of the chosen race as anyone else. Christ leveled the playing field. And because of this we are a part of the chosen ones today. You were chosen. I was chosen. We were adopted as sons and daughters.
The adoption of my two nephews and niece reminded me that I, too, was chosen. I was naturally born into a family, but I was chosen to be part of my husband’s family. More than that, I was chosen to be part of Christ’s family.
And so were you.
Being chosen changes one’s outlook. You are no longer alone. You have a family. You are cared for. You now have someone to remind you how special you are.
But here is the key with adoption: both parties must accept. The parents choose to accept the children. But for the adoption to have any bearing, the children must accept the invitation. God chose us but we are still responsible to accept that calling, to put on Christ and to forever belong to a new family.
You have been chosen. And now it’s your turn to respond.
The choice is yours.