Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Apostle Paul's Letter To The Galatians. Day 10, Heirs Of God

Paul has been explaining to the Galatians that although they are not the children of Abraham by genealogy, they are the children of Abraham by faith, for they possess the same faith that Abraham had---the faith that made him right with God. Even more importantly, they are now the children of God because of their faith in Christ, and this means they are the heirs of the promise God made to Abraham. They are Gentiles, but they are no longer on the outside looking in. They are no longer excluded from being a chosen people of God. Some false teachers have deceived them into thinking they aren't as good as their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ, but Paul wants them to understand that God doesn't play favorites when it comes to His children. God loves all His children and God has a great inheritance in store for all His children, whether Jew or Gentile.

"So in Christ Jesus you are the children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28) Paul asks, "What does God see when He looks at the Gentile Christians? The blood of His Son. What does God see when He looks at the Jewish Christians? The blood of His Son. What does God see when He views slaves who believe in Christ or free people who believe in Christ? The blood of His Son. What does God see when He views males and females who believe in Christ? The blood of His Son. You are all equal in His eyes. The same blood has atoned for your sins. The same faith has saved you. God sees each one of you in the same way: as His beloved child."

The righteousness accredited to Abraham in the Bible was based on his faith in the Lord, not on his works, for as we all know Abraham made some mistakes. But he believed in the Lord and he believed what the Lord said about the coming Redeemer from his family line, so now all of us who believe these same things are of the family of Abraham, of the family of God, and heirs of the promise God made to Abraham and to his descendants. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29)

"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." (Galatians 4:1) Someone who is considered a minor by the law has no legal rights over the estate of his father. Yes, it will be his someday, but until that day comes he has no more rights over it than a household slave. The Roman custom of Paul's day was not that a child became an adult at a particular age, but the child became an adult when the father of the child saw that he or she was mature enough to accept adult responsibilities. Until that time came, "The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father." (Galatians 4:2) Remember in yesterday's study when Paul told us the law was our guardian to bring us to Christ? While we were immature, in the days before the promised Redeemer came, the law taught what was expected by a holy God and the law taught that we could not perform all the things expected by a holy God. Salvation then, as now, was based on faith and not on the perfect performance of works. People like Abraham, Moses, David, and all the prophets were made right with God because of their faith. They knew they could not make themselves righteous in the eyes of God. They knew only a holy Redeemer could make them righteous in the eyes of God.

But now as Paul writes this letter, he and his readers are living in an age when the Redeemer has already come. The promise God made to Abraham has been fulfilled. So they are no longer minor children under the guardianship of the law. They are adult children who are ready to inherit the promises of the Father. "So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 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) Again we have to look to ancient Roman customs to understand exactly what Paul is saying. When the father decided the time was right to declare his child an adult, a ceremony was carried out in which he publicly "adopted" his child and declared the child to be his legal heir. So Paul is telling his Gentile readers, who are completely familiar with this Roman custom, that when Christ came it was the time that God had chosen to declare them His adopted children and heirs.

Now here is something we don't want to miss. In making us His heirs, God is making us co-heirs with His natural Son---the Lord Jesus Christ. We didn't earn this privilege. We don't deserve it. But God in His love and mercy has given us the same rights of inheritance that He has given His natural Son. "Because you are His Sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.' 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 4:6-7) God invites us to call Him not the formal "Father" but "Daddy" (Abba). This indicates a close and loving relationship. I never called my earthly father "Father" but "Daddy". This was because we had a close relationship. I knew Daddy loved me more than he loved his own life. If I had a problem I knew I could take it to him because he cared for me and because he would try to help me in any way he could. This is the relationship we can have with our heavenly Father through Christ. We can come to Him and say, "Daddy, I need Your help. I know You love me and care about my problems. I can't fix the things that are wrong in my life but I know You can."

We won't take a casual attitude toward God our "Daddy" if we always keep in mind that our status as His child and heir is a sheer gift of mercy. When we come boldly to the throne of grace for help (Hebrews 4:16) our boldness is not that of pride or arrogance but the boldness of knowing God welcomes us into His presence. I boldly brought my problems to my earthly father because I knew I was welcome to bring them to him, and because I knew he loved me, and because I knew he would help me. This is the attitude we are to have when coming into the presence of God our "Daddy". We aren't to shake with fear when asking Him for help; we are to come to Him in the confidence that He is willing and ready to help us.

No comments:

Post a Comment