“Adoption is the highest privilege of the gospel. The traitor is forgiven, brought in for supper, and given the family name. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.”

J.I. Packer

The Bible contains many word pictures to help us understand Salvation: Lost and found; Healed of incurable disease; Resurrected from the dead; Pardoned of capital crimes; Enemies made friends; Adoption.

The church ought to be using all of them–because individuals resonate differently with the various images.

If the marvelous “Courtroom Pardon” metaphor is used exclusively–one may tend to forget that God is more than a Great Judge. Here Packer reminds us of the power of multiple metaphors carried by Adoption: Forgiven Traitor; Table Intimacy; Family Belonging.

My spiritual life changed when I began exploring some of these other themes. My conception of God, my conception of others, my conception of myself–all of these filled out and took on richer tones, deeper texture, warmer intimacy.

Which metaphor is dominant for you? Which ones would be helpful to explore?