By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Focal passage: Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-7
In our church, we have a noticeably large number of adoptive and foster families. It is always so amazing hearing the stories of how God brought them together and the challenges they’ve had to overcome. Some of them are single parents, some are much older and others are different races than their children but none of these things make them any less a family.
One of the families has just begun trying to help their son understand what it means to be adopted and he has the most beautiful grasp of the subject. He says, “I didn’t come from mommy’s tummy because I came from her heart.” I love hearing him say this because this also perfectly describes what it means for us to be adopted into the family of God.
The law works to lead us to our desperate need of a Savior. It doesn’t bring us into a family, it doesn’t unite, and it can’t change hearts. The law can only reveal that we are in need of a family, we are divided, we are broken, and we are utterly hopeless in our wickedness. Paul says that the law was our guardian, our tutor, meant to teach us and guard us but it is not our source of hope. He describes how a son would be managed by a steward and treated not very different than a slave until the day his father set for his inheritance.
This is the same way the law worked toward Israel to guide them until the fullness of time that Jesus would come and make us co-heirs with him by His blood. Just as it would be ridiculous for a son to want to go back to being under a steward and treated like a slave, it is ridiculous that we who have been brought in to the family would want to turn from our relationship with it.
What does it mean for us to be adopted into the family of God? First, we have a family. Whatever our story, however we look, and wherever we are from we are all invited into a family that is not based upon a physical birth but upon the spiritual new birth. Second, our relationship is not based on our effort or ability but on the love of our Father.
Any grand success will not make Him love me more and no spectacular failure will make Him love me less. Third, and most significant, this gives us unparalleled access to our Father. We are not brought into just any family but the family of the King! No servant in all the kingdom dares to approach the king with a request while he sleeps, but a son can charge boldly to him at any time with any request because, to him, he is not just a powerful king but a loving father. God has adopted us and sealed us in His family by His Spirit by whom we now cry out to Him as our dear Father.
We may not have been born into this family but we’ve been born again as sons of the King! Let us run boldly into the open arms of our loving Father by the grace He freely gives. B&R