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What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. - Galatians 4:1-3 (NIV)
Our son Dustin was 16 when he asked to get a tattoo. We said, “We’d like you to wait until you’re eighteen.” We hoped he might talk himself out of it by then.
He reminded us his sister didn’t wait that long. She got one at 17… without our knowledge. Two dolphins swimming around her belly button. Girls, listen up. Someday, you might have a baby. And those dolphins will turn into Orcas. And it’s highly likely that, after the baby comes, they won’t go back into the exact same shape. They might resemble something like the poor unfortunate souls swimming around Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. Just sayin’.
Two years later, Dustin returned home from a trip to Florida and sat us down, needing to talk. “I need to tell you something.” Terror struck our hearts. “I got a tattoo.” Immediately, I began praying for it not to be some demonic symbol forever etched on his skin. He lifted his sleeve. No kidding, I had to lean in to see it! Something about the size of a nickel. A Chinese symbol with a bear claw sticking out of it. Dustin’s nickname is “Bear.”
“It’s the Chinese symbol for ‘Bear,’” he said, grinning. My eyes went wide. “Um, do you speak Chinese, son?” For all he knew, it was the Chinese symbol for moron! Now his eyes went wide. In his youth, he simply trusted a stranger to imprint a foreign symbol on his arm. It was his first (and so far his only) tattoo.
Oh, I bet Jesus wonders when you and I will abandon the ways and immaturity of youth. Because He knows on the other side of it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23). In other words… freedom.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. - Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)
I’ve gone fairly “dark” on Facebook lately. About the only time I get on is when I’m notified someone has posted a picture of my grandkids. But back in the day, I did one of those little tests they post. It asked for three pictures: You, your husband, and your kids. It then compared... well, who knows what, and came back with a percentage of which parent each kid is most like.
The result? Our son's came back as 76% and our daughter's 58% most like... me! Woohoo! I win! According to Facebook, Greg didn’t really have much to do with either kid’s features. However… I didn’t give birth to either of my children. While they are both like me in various ways, and I’d give either of them a kidney, none of my DNA runs through their veins. I married their dad when they were teenagers.
Does it matter? Not to me. If you love one of my children, I’m your friend. Hurt one? You’d best leave the state. And someday (hopefully a long time from now), they will inherit everything we have.
Our heavenly Father is much the same way. He adopted us into His family. Made us full heirs with Jesus, the Messiah. We are God’s children because of Jesus’ work on the Cross.
Romans 8:17 declares, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Friends, do you understand what that means? It means no matter how hard you’ve run from this Parent, He still claims you. You are God’s child. And your inheritance is here and now, not far off. If that’s not Good News, I don’t know what is!
Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” - Galatians 4:6 (NIV)
I was a proud Daddy’s girl. My father was a military officer and my hero. He was brilliant and brave. As a child, I was certain Major Dad could do no wrong. And he liked me back. Because of his approval and acceptance, I’m certain my confidence grew. I’m also certain that, of his five offspring, I was his favorite. Ha! My siblings will laugh reading this because we were all certain each of us were each of our parents’ favorites!
My siblings would also tell you that sometimes my “confidence” translated as being a little too big for my britches! Once, when I was being especially ornery, Daddy gave me a stern look and said, “Rebecca, Henrys (my maiden name) don’t behave that way. Change your behavior or change your name.” Shew! I straightened up quick!
Not everybody has the reference point of good parents, I know. For some, it means overcoming the negative impressions left by uncaring, absent, or cruel parents to reach a place of believing God is a good Father… a Father who wants the best for us and knows our real potential.
The word Abba from today’s text indicates an intimate relationship with God. It’s the difference between calling our earthly dads “Father” and “Daddy.” It loses none of the reverence but indicates a deeply close bond.
Friends, because of trust in Jesus, the Spirit of the living God lives in us. Your Abba, Father longs to pull you into the crook of His mighty arm, keeping you safe. He longs to hoist you up on His massive shoulders so you can see the full parade of life, living out Deuteronomy 33:12: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. - Galatians 4:7 (NIV)
I get teary-eyed at all things patriotic. Flags flying, anthems playing, parades on the Fourth of July. I’m a bawlin’ mess. Growing up in a military family, we knew firsthand the cost of freedom. Our dad got stationed around the globe and served two tours of duty in a place called Vietnam. (He would have gladly served tour number three, but a fiery wife with five young children threatened him with an early demise!) I’m honored anytime I’m in the presence of someone who serves this country, willing to lay down his or her life for my freedom. Heroes all.
Why? Because freedom isn’t free. It’s why our founding fathers admonished us to hold tightly to freedom. Upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a group of citizens what sort of government they had created. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Freedom is anything but free. It’s bought with a price. This is a statement we’ll flesh out in Friday’s devo, but remember: You were bought with a price, friend.
In a spiritual sense, Jesus made certain you and I could live a free life. We didn’t do anything to gain it, and we can’t do anything to retain it. We should simply rest gratefully in it.
We needed two things, you and me: life (we were spiritually dead before faith in Christ resurrected us) and release from captivity (we were slaves to sin, the Bible says). Faith in Christ… salvation… takes care of both needs.
It was anything but free.
Today, I’m asking you to draw a line down a sheet of paper. On one side, make a list of the ways in which life in Christ has set you free. On the other side, list ways in which you may still be held captive. Fear, sin struggle, belief issue—whatever it may be. Now tear the sheet down the middle. Destroy the captivity side. Be creative with it. Tear it up, burn it. Whatever dramatic way you want to get rid of it! Why? Because in Christ, “you are no longer a slave, but God’s child.” Now, go live like children of the Most High God!Share Tweet
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
I waited a long time to become a bride. When Greg Hatton crossed my path again, almost 22 years after we dated in high school, he captured and won my heart. That was January 5th. We married on May 1st of that year. He proposed on a Monday night in front of my entire family, and we married the following Monday night. Talk about a whirlwind! And lest you think it was some shoddy, thrown-together thang… I got a dress, got it altered, planned a wedding and reception for 150 people—all in a week! I have four sisters and a best friend. It can be done.
The language in today’s text is special. It uses the imagery of a bride before her wedding. The bride of ancient days never even knew the date of her wedding. Girls, can you imagine that? In biblical culture, from the moment a young woman was betrothed, she wore a veil until her wedding day. It signified that everything about her was for the glory of her groom, who would come at some unexpected moment, marrying her then and there. She was so precious that her groom paid what was known as the mohar, the “bride price,” based on what was required by law and her value to him personally. In her community, she became known as kiddushin, “one who was bought at a price.”
The Bible says that you and I were bought at a price… the price of Jesus’ blood. We were held captive to sin, separated from a holy God. A ransom was needed to pay the price for that sin. Jesus stepped forward and ran to the Cross, paying the price Himself. Once and for all. A sacrifice so great that none was ever needed again.
And someday, our Groom will return for us. He will come at an unexpected time and steal us away to live forever with Him. I have chills, y’all. May everything about you be for the glory of the Groom!