The following is the rest of the conversation that Chloe had with her mother in Chosen By Love. It takes place after the end of the dialogue between the two and before the last two pages of the book. It wasn’t included in CBL due to size constraints and in consideration of the target audience of the book. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to the story in that it sets out what the Bible says about spiritual adoption.
“So since I’ve been adopted, that means I’m in God’s family, too. Right, Mama?” Chloe inquired.
“Well, not yet, but you can be,” her mother replied. “He wants you to be. That’s why He sent Jesus to die on the cross – so you and I could be adopted into His family.”
Chloe looked puzzled. “Why did Jesus have to die for me to become part of God’s family?”
Her mother took a deep breath. “Let me try to help you understand.
“The Bible tells us that before there was an Earth, before there were people, before there was anything, God was here. And God decided to create a world. He created stars and planets, plants and animals. And He created people. He didn’t have to – it’s not like He was lonely or anything. He created people because He wanted to. He created people so that they could worship Him.
“The first two people God created were Adam and Eve. They lived in a beautiful garden that God made, and they had a very close, personal relationship with God. He wanted the man and woman to enjoy all that He created, and He allowed them to do whatever they wanted in the garden, with one exception. God gave them one rule – not to eat the fruit from one special tree in the middle of the garden. And because Adam and Eve loved God, they obeyed Him and did not eat from the tree. But one day, . . .”
“They ate it!” Chloe blurted.
“Yes, they ate it. They disobeyed God’s command. And sadly their relationship with God would never be the same again. But the sin of Adam and Eve didn’t just affect their relationship with God. With this one act of disobedience, sin entered God’s perfect world. Now every person who would come after them would inherit a sin nature from them – a heart that is more concerned about worshiping self than worshiping God. This was a big deal. Whereas human beings once had a perfect relationship with their Creator, now sin stood between man and God, and the relationship between the two was broken.”
“But it could be fixed, couldn’t it, Mama?” Chloe asked worriedly.
“Yes, it could, dear,” her mother reassured Chloe. “God had a plan in place, even before the couple’s act of disobedience. Even as He was handing out punishments to Adam and Eve, He hinted at the fact that one day He would send a savior who would save all people from their sin, who would restore things to the way they were in the garden before that act of disobedience.
“This is what the Bible is about. It’s not a book of do’s and don’t’s. It’s not a book about how one should live. It’s not simply a history book. The Bible is a story – God’s story – about how He would fix the mess made by sin and restore His creation to the way it was before that first sin. It’s a story about the One who would come to make things right again.”
“That’s Jesus! He’s the One!” Chloe proudly answered.
“Absolutely. Like I said, as God was punishing Adam and Eve for their act of disobedience, He indicated that there would be a savior. In fact, all of the Old Testament was written for one primary purpose – to encourage people to look forward to that day when God would send the One who would save people from their sins. Until that day came, the world wallowed in its sin, frustrated because there was nothing that it could do to save itself. People chased after idols and worshiped everything else except the God who they were created to worship. So the world waited. And watched. And waited. Until at just the right time, God . . . .”
Chloe interjected again. “Christmas! God sent Jesus at Christmas!”
“Yes. The true meaning of Christmas. At the perfect time, God’s only son came to this world, just as the Bible promised. He came as a human, as a baby. When He grew up, He tried to show the world that He was the One. All of His miracles, all of his teachings – they were all intended to show people that He was the promised savior. But most people didn’t believe Him. They didn’t believe Him because they misunderstood. They thought the savior would be a good-looking, powerful, military leader who would free the Jewish people from the rule of the Roman Empire. They didn’t expect him to be a humble, compassionate man who wanted to serve people rather than be served. So when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the people became angry with Him – so angry that they treated Him like a criminal by nailing Him to a cross. And yet while it was a horrible thing that they did, it was all part of God’s plan.”
Chloe seemed exasperated. “I know all of that, Mama. I’ve heard about Jesus’ life from you and Daddy. I’ve heard it in church. But what does Jesus death on the cross have to do with me being adopted?”
Chloe’s mother continued. “The Bible states that the wages of sin is death. There is a penalty for our sin, and that penalty is spiritual death – to spend eternity separated from God. Now, just about everyone has heard the truth that ‘God is love’. And He’s not just love, but He’s perfect love. But what many people forget – or choose to forget – is that God is also just. Perfectly just. He can’t simply overlook sin. If God were to allow Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, to go to hell because of his sin, He couldn’t look at someone like you or me whose sin doesn’t seem quite so bad and say, ‘I’ll let you into heaven in spite of your sin’. That wouldn’t be just. So while God loves us and doesn’t want to punish us, He hates sin and has to punish our sin. This is why Jesus died on the cross.
“The Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. Even when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden, blood had to be shed as payment for their sin. But instead of requiring them to shed their own blood, God killed animals and provided coverings for Adam and Eve. He provided a substitute. Those animals paid sin’s penalty and shed their blood on behalf of Adam and Eve so that the first couple wouldn’t have to. This is why God instituted the sacrificial system for the Israelites in the Old Testament. Every day, the people were to sacrifice animals so that their sins would be temporarily covered by the animals’ blood. Since the people sinned every day, they had to perform these sacrifices every day.
“Until Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, His death accomplished a lot more than those animal sacrifices. Since Jesus was God in the flesh, He was perfect. His death was a perfect sacrifice which satisfied, once and for all, the just requirements of a perfect God. Jesus’ sacrifice is the only one that God would or could accept for the payment of sin because Jesus is the only one who was perfect and unstained by sin. That’s why we can’t pay for our sin – each one of us has sinned and the very best we can offer God as payment for our sin is tainted by sin. So Jesus died in our place. He was our substitute, just like Adam and Eve had a substitute in the garden and just like the Israelites had substitutes through the sacrificial system. Jesus took the punishment that we deserved for our sin. He endured the wrath of God against sin that was supposed to be for us. He paid the sin debt for all people.”
Chloe’s mother could see the little wheels in Chloe’s head churning. “But if Jesus paid for everyone’s sin, why doesn’t everyone go to heaven?” Chloe countered.
“Good question,” her mother replied. “While Jesus’ death was more than enough to pay for everyone’s sin, not everyone accepts the gift of eternal life that He offers. I won’t go into why people don’t accept what Jesus has done for them – frankly, I don’t understand. I guess there are people who don’t believe that Jesus really existed. Some people think that they can get to heaven based on the good things they do. Others choose to take some other path that they believe leads them to eternal life. But for whatever reason, there are those who reject Jesus and His gift of salvation. In fact, the Bible says that there are many who take the road to destruction and few who take the path to eternal life.
“In any event, through His death and resurrection, Jesus has accomplished salvation. He has paid the sin debt that we all owe, and He offers this gift to all who would receive it. And this gift of eternal life is received through repentance and belief. Repentance is simply recognizing that one is a sinner, turning away from that sin, and asking God for forgiveness of that sin – not based on what we have done but based on what Jesus did. And belief is more than just knowing in one’s head that Jesus lived, died, and rose again. It’s a complete trust in Jesus that He is the only way that one’s sin can be paid for and one can experience a restored relationship with God. What was once broken in the garden by sin, Jesus has fixed – or redeemed – through His sacrifice.
“And as for adoption? Before I placed my faith in Jesus, the Bible says that I was an enemy of God. Someone who loved my sin more than I loved God. But when I repented of my sin and placed my faith in Jesus, I went from being an enemy of God to a friend of God. But even greater than that, I became a part of God’s family – an heir of God and a co-heir of Jesus. In other words, I was adopted into God’s family. God became my heavenly father, and I became His child. And I will enjoy that relationship forever and ever.
“And so can you.”
After all those times of hearing about Christmas, Jesus, and the cross, Chloe finally understood. She finally saw the Bible as one big story, not as a volume of verses to memorize. She finally realized why sin was so bad and why Jesus’ death and resurrection was so necessary. And from deep within her heart, she finally knew what she must do.
“I want that, Mama,” Chloe whispered. “I want to be adopted again.”
Tears gently rolled down her mother’s cheeks. “Okay. Let’s talk to God.”