But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent for the Sprit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, than an heir through God. –Galatians 4:4-7
Last week, my older brother and his wife had a child. She was 110 pounds, and 56 inches. Mother and daughter are doing well. A process that has lasted for years finally resulted in the adoption of their youngest child at age 13. Congratulations!
Scripture uses this wonderful act of taking on the care of a child that is not our own as a way to describe our relationship with God. Before Jesus came into our hearts, we may have walked among people of grace, we might have attended their churches, and we might even have shared last names. But only that glorious adoption achieved by the grace of Christ allows us to be truly a part of the community – as if we had always belonged. Notice in the Scripture “And because you ARE sons” – there is no distinction as to how we came to be God’s children – we simply are. My brother does not have an adopted child, he has a daughter. She is my niece – as much so as my other nieces and nephews. And we are God’s children – no matter how long and circuitous the route.
Additionally, the whole adoption process allows us to see that no act of ours can get us into the kingdom of God. My niece (no modifier, remember!) could have banged on my brother’s door all of her life. Her entrance into his family depended not so much on her, but on the actions of others – her future mom and dad, the courts, laws, etc. If they had not wanted her – no amount of actions on her part would have been successful. In the same way, we are now members of the Kingdom of God, not by our own actions, but by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. He WANTED us to be a part of the family of God, and sacrificed Himself in order to achieve that goal. The Holy Spirit is SENT so that we may cry out “Father!” – in the intimate and reverent way that the name implies. We must always remember that it was God who wanted us – and was willing to sacrifice His “real” Son so that we too may become heirs to His family.
I am so proud of my niece, and proud of her dad and mom for staying the course through years of hurdles and setbacks. Glory be to God.
Graphic: Paulo Correa