Saturday, June 22, 2013

About Adoption: Have you heard of Augustus Caesar?

My ancient history is pretty weak, and I was just reading recently about the Roman Emperors, or Caesars. I was surprised to discover that the great Augustus Caesar, who was emperor from 27BC to 14AD, and said to be the founder of the Roman Empire, was actually adopted by the Emperor Julius Caesar in his will, and Augustus Caesar became emperor of Rome by virtue of that adoption after Julius Caesar's assassination. So what?

Well, I don't really know how big a deal it was in those days, but given that Augustus Caesar was so important (ie top dog of the whole Roman Empire), I'm guessing people were aware of that fact of his adoption. It made me wonder about all of the apostle Paul's use of adoption language in the Scriptures. As Christians we become adopted sons of God, and co-heirs with Christ. I wonder if Paul thought about Augustus Caesar's situation when he talked about that. Certainly a powerful illustration of what he was talking about. Surely the Christians in Rome would have recognised this real-life example? Here are Paul's words from his letter to the them:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. [Romans 8:14-17]
You can't get much better than adopted son and heir of Caesar can you? Oh yeah, you can actually become sons of the one true and living God, and if you are already a Christian, then you already are. Yes, that does sound better :)

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