Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Children of God

Part 10 of a series through Galatians

Text: Galatians 3:26-4:7

MEMBERS OF GOD’S FAMILY

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He began His model prayer with the words "Our Father in heaven." God wants us to view Him as our good and loving Father.

Parents sometimes make a list of rules for their children. Imagine if a father put this list of rules on the fridge and said, "If you don’t follow these rules, you will lose your membership in my family." Many people think that God is like that. They believe that they have to earn God’s love by following His rules. But Paul writes that we become members of God’s family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Through faith in Jesus Christ:
  • We are no longer slaves.
  • We are now sons. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (3:26).

MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES

What are the privileges of God’s children? Four great privileges of being a child of God:
  1. We are equal before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28). Sometimes a parent will say, "Why can’t you be more like your brother?" God doesn’t have a favorite child. We are "all" members of one family. Racial, social, and gender distinctions do not make us better or worse in God’s family. We are to treat one another as family (1 Timothy 5:1-2). It's often said, "Blood is thicker than water." (Family relationships are more important than friendships.) We have been made one family through the blood of Christ. "Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Galatians 6:10).
  2. We are adopted by God. "But when the time had fully come, God set his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights [adoption] of sons" (4:4-5). Jesus is (1) divine ("his Son"), (2) human ("born of a woman"), and (3) Jewish ("born under law"). We are been redeemed ("to redeem those under law") and adopted ("that we might receive the full rights of sons"). "So you are no longer a slave, but a son" (v. 7). Adoption is an act of God’s grace. We shouldn’t take for granted the blessing of adoption.
  3. We are heirs of God. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise" (3:29). "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir" (4:7). In the first century, the inheritance went to the sons. That’s why in this passage both men and women are called "sons of God." We now enjoy what was promised to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you" (3:8). We have been blessed (justified) through faith in Abraham’s "Seed" (3:16). Both men and women are "heirs…of the gracious gift of life" (1 Peter 3:7). But our inheritance includes more than justification. "If we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). Christ is "their heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2). You may have seen a bumper sticker on a Cadillac that says, "I’m spending my children’s inheritance." That’s not what God says! Our inheritance "can never perish, spoil or fade" and is "kept in heaven for [us]" (1 Peter 1:4).
  4. We are loved by God. "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father'" (4:6). "Abba" is Aramaic and means "Father." Some see it as a term of endearment, like "Dad." Remember who God is. "The Lord your God is a consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24). "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). The Jews would not even say the name of God. But God says, "Call Me Dad." Sometimes an adopted child wonders if his parents really love him. We don’t have to wonder if God loves us. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1).

OBEDIENT CHILDREN

The key to obedience: Love leads to obedience.

If there is no relationship between a father and his child, there will probably be rebellion. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children" (Ephesians 6:4). Where there is love, there is a much greater likelihood of obedience.

Will you live in disobedience to the One who redeemed and adopted you?

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