Each year, Thanksgiving encourages me to look back on my life and thank God for his many gifts to me, both great and small. One of God’s greatest gifts in my life was being placed for adoption. If I had not been placed for adoption, I would have been raised in a single-parent household that lacked a stable father figure, knowledge of the gospel, opportunity to pursue education beyond high school, and access to necessities.
When I compare the could-have-been with my actual story, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my adoption, as God placed me in a family where I had stable parents, knowledge of the gospel, educational opportunities, access to everything I needed, and so much more. I had no role in choosing my adoption, yet God graciously ordained it to be part of my life story and testimony.
I had no role in choosing my adoption, yet God graciously ordained it to be part of my life story and testimony.
Even though I have so much gratitude for my earthly adoption, I have eternally more to praise God for in my spiritual adoption.
Give Thanks that We Are a Chosen Race
In 1 Peter 2:9–10, the Apostle describes the qualities of those whom God has spiritually adopted. Peter explains that believers are a “chosen race,” referring to the doctrine of election. Out of pure grace, God chose to set his saving love on his people before the foundation of the world.
This undeserved love is received by faith and provides immense comfort in the face of our sins, weaknesses, and eternal judgment. God’s election is not a result of human effort but of his mercy and grace. This reality should humble us and lead us to respond with thanksgiving during this season.
Give Thanks That We Are a Royal Priesthood
In 1 Peter 2, he reminds believers that they are members of the “royal priesthood.” Even as Jesus sits on heaven’s throne as our great High Priest and Intercessor, the inclusion of all Christians into the “royal priesthood” reminds us of our status. We no longer solely rely on priests or pastors to read, interpret, and apply God’s Word.
Instead, all Christians now have the right and authority to study God’s Word for themselves, even as they regularly sit under the preaching of their local church. The believer’s right to engage with and teach Scripture means that we are duly tasked with sharing the gospel with others.
Give Thanks That We Are a Holy Nation
Followers of Jesus Christ are holy, set apart to live for his glory. In the Old Testament, we observe how God set apart Israel as his holy nation. Membership in God’s holy nation is not restricted to a particular group of people, but to all who are adopted into God’s family by faith in Christ. Our status as members of God’s holy nation means that our actions, words, and decisions should make us “set apart” from the world around us. People should be able to see the love of Jesus Christ and the good news of the gospel in the way we conduct ourselves as God’s holy people.
Give Thanks That We Are a People for God’s Own Possession
In Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17, particularly verses 6-19, Jesus repeatedly states that he will keep and care for his people. This prayer gives us great comfort and gratitude. Because we belong to Jesus, we can trust his ability to preserve, protect, defend, and keep us from all harm in all situations. No matter the circumstance, we can trust God’s ongoing care and protection for those he loves.
Give Thanks That We Are Recipients of Mercy
Due to our sin, we cannot save ourselves. It is only because of God’s great mercy that we are saved. As recipients of mercy, we should not only live mercifully, but act humbly. Our sinful nature tempts us to not extend forgiveness and mercy towards those who do wrong against us (Matthew 18:21–35). However, as those who have received much mercy, we should extend that mercy to others, as much as possible. Receiving God’s mercy should remind us of the depth of our sin and God’s gift of salvation.
This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to thank God for his gracious gift of your spiritual adoption.
We Are Called to Proclaim His Excellencies Among the Nations
As God’s people–chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, his possession, recipients of mercy–the response we should have to God is “proclaiming his excellencies” to others, ushering people out of darkness into the light of Jesus Christ. For some believers, “proclaiming his excellencies” looks like becoming a missionary, bringing the gospel to places and peoples that have never heard it. For other believers, their proclamation happens in the workplace, at home, in the classroom, and wherever else they go. Regardless of physical location, each follower of Christ is called to proclaim the gospel faithfully.
This Thanksgiving, don’t forget to thank God for his gracious gift of your spiritual adoption. As we live in gratitude for our adoption into God’s family, we can share the hope of the gospel with others so their identities may also be changed from sinners to sons and daughters of God.