Series: Identity (Student Ministry)
- Who Are You? I Am A Bearer of God’s Image (Genesis 1-3)
- Who Are You? You Are In Adam Or In Christ (Romans 5:12-21
- Who Are You? You Are Justified (Galatians 2:15-21)
- Who Are You? Christian, You Are Loved By God (Zephaniah 3)
- You Are Adopted Into God’s Family (Galatians 4:1-7)
- Who Are You? Christian, You Are United To Christ (Colossians 2:8-15)
- Christian, You Are Clothed In Righteousness (Zechariah 3)
- Christian, You Are God’s Possession: Indwelt by the Spirit and United to Christ (1 Corinthians 6:12-20)
I can remember
my time before becoming a believer. I was in Junior High and my Great
Grandmother had recently died. I used to spend a lot of time with her. My brother
and I would go to her house a lot and play video games with her. She had a
Nintendo and Super Nintendo and we played a lot of Mario 3, Super Mario World,
and Donkey Kong Country. She smoked while using her oxygen tank and we
dominated some video games together. But when she passed away, I was forced to
think about things of eternity. A few weeks went by and I was wondering about heaven
and where people went when they died and other questions of that nature.
It was at
this time that everything started coming at me so fast. I was asking questions
about these huge questions and I was most definitely ill equipped to deal with
them. I went to church because some friends invited me to go but just did not understand
it. Until one day I was told by an art teacher after a church service about my
sinfulness and my need for a Savior and what Jesus had accomplished on my
behalf. I trusted in Christ that afternoon, but I did not understand my
is plucked out of the mass of humanity and made part of God’s family. We, like
everyone else, were lost and condemned rebels against God. It was much later
that I began reading about and growing in understanding my being adopted by God
and how I was His child. I was plucked out of a state of spiritual poverty adopted
into God’s family. I went from rebel to heir.
Wonka and the Chocolate Factory we begin with a boy named Charlie who came from
an incredibly poor family. Destitute, they barely had enough food to eat, let alone
by chocolate. However, the incredibly wealthy chocolate capitalist Willy Wonka
was going to give a way golden ticket for a tour of the facility and a chance
to win a lifetime supply of the scrumdiddlyumptious chocolate. Charlie’s
grandfather bought him one chocolate bar and as fate would have it, Charlie
ended up with a ticket.
time people have to leave the facility and not win the lifetime supply of chocolate.
Even though Charlie and his grandfather broke the rules, they made it to the
end and everyone else was gone. They thought that they had won. As it turns out
they had broken the rules earlier when they drank some of the fizzy lifting
soda and were disqualified. Wonka informed them that hey had to go home.
Charlie’s grandfather tries to convince Charlie to use a gobstopper as an act
of revenge, but Charlie refused. Wonka used this as a moral test and instead of
getting a lifetime of chocolate Charlie got the whole factory. He was now Wonka’s
heir. I know that the illustration breaks down after this due to Charlie’s decision, but we’ll just stop here and pretend it doesn’t.
have been pulled out of spiritual poverty and made heirs. We are given the
riches of God’s Kingdom as God adopts us and makes us His children. If you are
a believer then you have been rescued from the demands of the Law and adopted
by God through the finished work of Christ.
Are All Born Under The Law (Galatians 4:1-3)
This text is
part of a bigger discussion about Hebrew believers and Gentile believers. And
here, the discussion gets interesting. Paul states that the Old Testament
Saints were like children who are heirs. They are treated very similarly to
slaves. They don’t have their freedom and they don’t really have all that is
theirs. That will only happen when the father make sit so.
functioned as a guardian of sorts until the revelation of Christ.
must deal with something. None of you that I am speaking to are Jews. The fact
that this is specific to the Jew does not release us from thinking through this
text. In fact, it applies to us quite well.
makes its demands upon all people. It reveals to us our condition without Christ.
Just consider thinking through the Ten Commandments. How many of us can say
that we’ve never broken these commands? How many of us can say that we’ve never
told a lie or stolen anything? And that’s just two of the commands. God’s Law
makes its demands upon us. Its demand is perfection.
If you want
to be right with God on the basis of your own works then you should know what
the standard is. The standard is perfection. To break the Law at any part is
damning. We see ourselves as we truly are in the Law. The Law is good, but it
cannot save. It only reveals to us who we are.
Tyndale, the Bible translator from the 1400’s had this to say about the Law and
Law and the Gospel are two keys. The Law is the key that shutteth up all men
under condemnation, and the Gospel is the key which opens the door and lets
them out.” – William Tyndale
The Law is
important. It is good, but doing good things can’t save you. The Law says go
and be perfect. But you can’t. You can’t pull yourself out of your own
spiritual poverty. You can’t clean yourself up and make yourself acceptable.
We are under
the Law and the Law is an ungracious master.
I have been
pulled over for speeding a few times. It’s actually been a few years and before
that it had been a long time. But I have been pulled over enough to know that the
graciousness of your police officer matters a lot. One time I got pulled over
for running a stopsign, speeding, and not wearing my seat belt. All at once. He
was parked in a place that made him able to see it all. He was gracious. He
gave me a seat belt ticket which cost $25 and let the other stuff go. On the
other hand I was pulled over in Huntsville one day and there was no leniency
with that guy.
There is no
leniency in the Law. It is a strict master that requires perfect obedience. James
puts it this way,
“For whoever keeps the
whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”-James 2:10 NASB
Praise be to
God that He did not leave us on our own. Praise be to God that He intervened so
that we could be rescued from the demands of the Law and adopted by God through
the finished work of Christ.
Intervened To Make Us His (Galatians 4:4-5)
Paul states in his illustration in V. 2 that the father
has set the date when the children would be moved out of their bondage and
given their adoption. Here he says, “at the fullness of time”. In eternity past
God had decided when it was that Jesus would come. All of humanity would be
held under the Law until the coming of Christ. The Hebrew people, who trusted
in God’s promises, were held as children with the Law as guardian and would
receive all of the blessings of God’s people when Christ came. It’s a way of
saying that the Old Testament saints also receive the benefits of Christ even
though they lived before He came. We know that both Jew and Gentile were under
the Law. And so are we before becoming believers.
Something changed in history. God sent His Son onto Earth. He sent Him into
history. His Son, Jesus, would be born of a woman and born under the Law. But
Paul, making the reason clear says “so that we might
receive the adoption as sons”. Why did Christ come? So that we may receive the
gift of being adopted into God’s family. What was the purpose of Christ’s being
sent from Heaven to Earth? So that we may receive the gift of being adopted
into God’s family. What was the purpose of Jesus being born a human, born of a
woman? So that we may receive the gift of being adopted into God’s family. What
was the purpose of Christ being born under the Law and keeping the Law
perfectly? So that we may receive the gift of being adopted into God’s family.
We were rebels against God, deserving only
condemnation. Yet God did something else with us. Rather than sending everyone
to Hell God chose to send His Son into the world. God the Son agreed to do so
and He lived a perfect life, under the Law, perfectly fulfilling the Law for us
then He died on the cross paying the full punishment for sin. Sins are paid for
on the cross and Christ’s righteousness is given to those who believe.
This means that those who trust in Christ become
adopted sons and daughters of God. The offense of your sin has been taken away
by the blood of Christ. You have been given a righteousness that is not your
own, but was earned by Jesus. And now you are adopted into the family of God.
Christians receive the adoption as sons.
God stepped into history so that we could be made His
adopted sons and daughters.
Christian, know and be thankful for the grace of God
that has been given to you in Christ Jesus. You have been justified by the
finished work of Christ and because of that you have also been adopted.
Charlie was plucked out of abject poverty and made Willie
Wonka’s heir. You have been plucked out of abject spiritual poverty and made a
child of God.
Holy Spirit Joyously Recognizes God Is Now Our Father (Galatians 4:6)
Progress Christian, the main character, has come to a knowledge of everything
that God has done for Him. He understands that He is a sinner. He understands
that he needs Jesus. And He understands that salvation comes from nowhere else.
Yet, he is still carrying around this burden on his back. In the allegorical
story, the burden is his sin. Suddenly, in the most joyous of moments,
Christian trusts in Christ and the weight falls off of his back. Suddenly he
knows without a doubt that he is a child of God and that the burden is no
longer his. And he rejoices greatly at this.
something interesting in this text. The Holy Spirit does a work in us to cause
us to believe, we know this from other passages of Scripture. But here the Holy
Spirit does something different. He cries out within us “Abba! Father!”. And
why does He cry out within us? Paul says “because you are sons”. Because you
are now a child of God the Spirit cries out within you “Abba! Father!”. Your
Spirit, like Christian, now knows you are a child of God. The burden of sin has
been lifted off your back. You are His. He has taken your burden away. He has
made you His own.
you may have once had this assurance but have sinned so much in the meantime
that you do not have it anymore. But I want you to know that this type of assurance
is something that is yours in Christ. Sometimes through a rebellious time
period we can lose this assurance as we are disciplined by God. The call for
you is to return to Him. Repent of your sins and return to your God.
awesome is it to know that God is your Father and that He has taken your burden
away? It’s truly amazing isn’t it.
There may be
someone here today who has never had this joy and is feeling God at work within
them right now. There may be someone here who is feeling what I discussed
earlier, God is drawing them to Himself. Know that Christ has never once
rejected a person who has trusted in Him.
Why is there
so much rejoicing? Why is this such a happy moment?
Are Now Sons And Daughters of God (Galatians 4:7)
for all of this rejoicing is quite clear. The Christian is now a child of God.
They have crossed from death to life, from not being part of God’s family to
being adopted into God’s family. Christian, your heart rejoices because you are
loved by God. You are His. Jesus has come and accomplished salvation for us. He
has made us children of God.
Some of you hearing or reading this may be thinking that you don’t have that. Trust in Christ. Flee to Him. And be made a child of God.
R. Dwain Minor