Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
Desiring The Adoption
Death is the greatest reality that is the greatest fear. All men die, yet all men live as if death were a surprise. Methuselah lived nearly one thousand years, but he died. The old must die, and the young can die. Cemeteries fill the landscape of every community with its marble markers reminding passersby that death comes to all. Researchers estimate nearly 150,000 people die daily, which amounts to 6,000 people dying every hour of every day. The news always reports the deaths of those murdered, killed in accidents, or victims of nature’s rage, disease, pestilence, famine, and old age. Science seeks to find answers to extend life. Medical advancements have saved lives, but people still die. Death is real.
The view of death says a lot about how death impacts life. For most, death is filled with great fear and trepidation. They can live all their lives seeking every form of remaining young and lose in the final battle because there is no such thing as a fountain of youth. The reality of life’s finality begins when a child is born. Babies die, and this is great sadness. Young people die; middle-aged and old all share the common reality of death. Visiting a cemetery will tell the tale of every age. Reading an obituary is a testimony to the ages people die. Talking about death is considered morbid, gruesome, and sad.
For the child of God, the view of death has a different meaning – or at least it should. The Holy Spirit fills the Bible with how God’s faithful understood the dying process. Adam and Eve experienced the first pains of death when they buried their son Abel. The scriptures say that Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man full of years, and was gathered to his people. When Jacob died, Moses writes the son of Isaac drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.
The Bible pictures the death of God’s saints as a beautiful experience. Paul uses the image of adoption as the reality of death. Children of God are first adopted into Christ when they obey the gospel in the waters of baptism. This adoption establishes the greatest adoption when death removes the fleshly tabernacle from the eternal spirit, and the child of God is with the Father. Death is an adoption. Salvation in Christ gives hope that death is nothing more than a sleep, a transition, a time when the frailties of life are left for the glories of Heaven. Life is filled with suffering. Death for the saint is joy. As children anxiously wait for someone to adopt them, the child of God eagerly looks to death as a time to be with God.
Death is something difficult to view as exciting. It is hard for the human spirit to accept death as good, yet God wants His children to have an eager expectation to die and be with Him. There is great sadness when loved ones die. When that loved one dies in Christ, there is joy. This brings comfort to the family, but hearts are still heavy. What makes it more bearable is the knowledge that all the faithful can take death for what it is and change how they feel about it. Paul urged the brethren to eagerly desire death. He wanted the saints to have happy hearts about death. There will be no denying death is coming, so why not accept it in its positive light.
Letting go of this world is where the eagerness for death (adoption) begins. The child of God cannot wait to be eternally adopted by the Father. There will be no death, sorry, or crying, and there will be no more pain. Who would not want to experience the blessings of God’s grace found in the adoption of eternity? Tertullian said, “Death ought to be a pleasure.” Paul said, “Eagerly wait for the adoption, the redemption of your body.” Praise God. I get to die.