From Slaves to Sons

In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:3–7, ESV)

As I read these verses during my morning Bible study I was once again flooded with emotion as I reflected once again on what it means to be adopted by the Creator of the universe.

Growing up I had never given a whole lot of thought to this biblical teaching. I was raised in a stable home with two loving parents and all my needs met. I clearly never knew what it was like to be an orphan, let alone the uncertainty of my acceptance by my family.

But one day in Bible College as the professor explained these verses the lights went on. I had been an orphan and even worse. I had also been a slave of sin (see Romans 6), a slave of the “elementary principles of the world.” But God would not be content to leave me there. He called me to himself and saved me. Now I was no longer a slave, but a son. Could there have been a more drastic turn of events? A slave is owned, a son belongs. A slave is forced to obey one whom he doesn’t want to, a son is free to obey from love. A slave is oppressed, a son is liberated unto joy.

I went from calling sin, “master” to calling the most high God, “Daddy,” for that is the meaning of “Abba.” My sin had split a chasm between God and I. No further from him could I have been. But because of the loving death of Jesus on the cross, I can now come to him with as a dearly beloved son; an heir with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are a part of this family. I’m not his provisional kid nor am I on probation to see if I can measure up before final acceptance. I’ve got it. I’m in. I belong to him. I am no longer a slave, but a son.

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