Jeff Overton, lead pastor
Beulah Baptist Church, Douglasville
Paul starts our text out today by addressing an issue many of the people of his day would understand. In the text, he discusses the fact that an heir of an estate who is a minor is subject to the slaves or trustees that his father puts him under until he reaches a certain age set by his father. Until he reaches that age, as Paul puts it in verse one, he is no different from a slave even though he owns the whole estate.
Paul goes on to point out this is our condition before Christ. We were under the slavery of the world until the time set by the Father – the fullness of time where Christ came, born of a women, under the law, to redeem us so that we could receive full rights of sons. Just as the son had to wait until the date set by his father to have his inheritance, we had to wait until the fullness of time set by God the Father, that we could be redeemed through Christ the Son.
Paul continues to tell us that through the coming of Christ and His ability to fulfill the law, we have been adopted to the full rights of “sonship” with the Father.
Adoption is such a great concept. We have several families in our church who have adopted children from other countries. These children were living in orphanages and did not have many material possession of which to speak. Yet, through the process of adoptions, they have become full-fledged family members. They have a right to their father’s inheritance.
Things completely changed in that moment for them. This is what happens to the child of God. We have a right to the inheritance of God the Father because we have been adopted by Him through His Son. What I deserved was hell and yet, through Christ, I am adopted and given an inheritance. I am a joint heir with Christ to the glorious kingdom of the Father. Paul shares powerful words when he declares, “Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Notice that we are not heirs by our own doing, we are heirs through God. He declared the time. He decided the means. He paid the price. He made us heirs. God made it possible for us to become part of His family. He desired the best for us when we didn’t even have a clue as to what the best was.
This action of God brings all of heaven to those who are the redeemed. This means when we read of this wonderful place called heaven, we realize it is our heaven. What a transformation! We can go from being slaves with no inheritance to being a son through the Son and being a son means being an heir.
When one is adopted into the family there are benefits. The children that I discussed earlier who were adopted into the family in our church have found this to be true. They have wonderful new clothes to wear and great toys with which they can play.
I know they enjoy these benefits but as I have watched these children, I don’t think these are the benefits they treasure most. When I watch these little girls crawl up on their daddy and kiss him on the cheek, I see what matters most – they know they are loved by Mom and Dad and they are truly family. They have a close intimate relationship with them and know that they will do anything to protect and provide for them.
One of the greatest benefits of being adopted into the family is that we are invited into an intimate relationship with God the Father. We are no longer slaves, but sons. That allows us to be able to cry out, “Abba Father.” These little girls I have been talking about know they can cry out, “Daddy”, and my friend will come running. They are now in his family and have a wonderful, loving relationship.
The same is true for us spiritually. When we are adopted into the family we gain the things of heaven but the greatest joy is we have an intimate relationship with the Father. We know, with confidence, that we can cry out “Abba” (Daddy) and our heavenly Father is there. He will always want what is best for us and seek to protect and provide for us.
His arms are open to His children and we are treated as family, not as slaves. Through Jesus Christ we are adopted into the family. We are no longer on the outside looking in; we are family and we belong.
Questions to consider
- What are the benefits of being a part of a family?
- How do these compare to being a part of God’s family?
- How does it impact your life to be able to call out “Abba” to the heavenly Father?