No longer a slave but a son

Posted: Wed. Jun, 15 2016

How to make your daily life meaningful

 We have been listening to what the Lord has to say to us in Colossians 3.  This chapter of the Bible teaches us the basic three-step of daily Christianity.

  1. We put away the things of the old man.
  2. We have our minds renewed with the word of God.
  3. We put on the attitudes and behaviors of the New Man, who is Christ.

We can’t do any of this without the Holy Spirit.

He leads, and we follow.

Now the practical Christian life is first and foremost a matter of the heart.

These changes - from anger to love is one -  occur in our hearts.

And because the Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of Christians, we have freedom in our hearts.

So we can choose whether we want to wear anger and bitterness and wrath in our heart, or whether we wear love and patience and forgiveness instead.

We find that our freedom is associated with being God’s  sons and daughters.

And so seeing ourselves as God’s sons and daughters makes what we go through on a daily basis in our Christian lives -  meaningful.

It explains why God allows us to go through some pretty harrowing experiences, only for us to discover that He was waiting in the wings all along and came forward to rescue us in the nick of time.

So we have been learning how we learn under the watchful eye of our Father.

He’s training us on things we need to learn now that we are His sons and daughters.

He is teaching us how to use the faith He has given us.

He is teaching us how to use the love that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts.

He is showing us how much He loves us, and that is just as true when we are in a season of discipline as when we are in a season of growth or blessing.


We have been adopted by God

Now Jesus Christ is the only Son with a capital S.    God the Father’s only begotten  Son.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 

Jesus is uniquely God's Son— because Jesus Christ is God in the flesh

Jesus is God’s “one and only” Son.

We were not born sons and daughters of God.

We were adopted by God the Father when we believed in Christ.

GAL 3:26
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

We are God’s sons and daughters by adoption. 

EPH 1:3-6
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


Greek word, Roman practice

What does God want us to know about our adoption as sons and daughters?

Here’s an interesting fact:  whenever we find the English word “adoption” in the Bible, it is always part of the same phrase:  adoption as sons.

Sometimes you just have to go back to the Greek text of the Bible and scout out the words.

The three English words “adoption as sons”  are actually the translation of one Greek word.

That word is  huiothesia  and it means “the placing as an adult son”.

The Greek word huiothesia meant to place a son in the home who would carry on the family business, the family estate.  Therefore it meant recognition as an adult son.

When it is used in the New Testament, it refers to both sons and daughters.

When we hear the word adoption we associate it with the practice of adoption in our culture today.

But the New Testament was not written with a view toward our culture.

In the first century AD, when the New Testament was written, huiothesia referred to a Roman practice that was very different from modern American adoption.

For one thing, in the United States, children are usually adopted when their parents have died or are not capable of raising them.

But in the Roman society back then, the aristocrats did the adopting, and it was for a very different reason. 

Under Roman law, the reason for adoption was to continue the family name along with its property and privileges. 

In an aristocratic Roman family, the first born male did not necessarily become the heir to the family fortune, rights and privileges.

The father could pass by his own flesh and blood and select another young man who was better qualified to be the heir of the family name and fortune.

The one who was adopted acquired a new status, privilege and property.

Adoption, then,  recognized the legitimate heir.   The young man became the heir of the family fortune, the family business, and the seat in the Senate!

In ancient Rome, then, being adopted was one of the most fortunate things that could ever happen to you.


From slave to son and heir

So with that history lesson, we are now ready to learn about what God means when He tells us, in His word, that we are His adopted sons and daughters.

GAL 4:4-7
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, " Abba! Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Our being adopted as God’s  sons and daughters  was made possible because God sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to redeem us.

We also see in this same passage in Galatians 4 that our being made God’s sons and daughters  is all wrapped up together with the Holy Spirit coming to live in our hearts.

The Spirit of God’s Son is in our hearts, and He is crying out on our behalf, “Abba! Father!”

"Father, here’s Your son, here’s Your daughter! "

"Son, daughter - here’s your sweet, sweet Daddy!!"

Notice also that we are not only  sons and daughters - we are also heirs.

We see these themes again when we turn to Romans chapter 8.

ROM 8:14-17
14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, " Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ -  seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

We also learn here that fear comes from a spirit of slavery. We are no longer slaves, so our relationship with God now is no longer to be driven by fear. 

The Holy Spirit enables us to recognize that God is our Father. 


Rock solid since before there were rocks

Something else too - we are both heirs of God the Father and fellow heirs with Christ.

And our heirship with Christ means that we will suffer with Him now and will be glorified with Him later.

And that later time is the Rapture, when we will be revealed to all of creation as God’s adopted sons and daughters.

At that time we will be clothed in the garments of glory - our resurrection bodies.

ROM 8:18-23
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23  And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

So while our adoption is a fact, it is still unfolding.

But don’t let that concern you.  Your adoption as God’s adult son or daughter is rock solid.

It’s so rock solid that it has been a sure thing since before the world began.

EPH 1:3-8
3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6  to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.

God decided it in eternity past.  Your adoption was made certain then.

God  secured it when you believed in Christ and He gave you the first fruits of your adoption - the Holy Spirit in your heart. Your adoption was set securely in place then.

He will provide the rest of the inheritance at the Rapture when He redeems our very bodies. Your adoption will be fully complete and made evident then.

We will come into the full enjoyment of all our privileges and blessings as God’s adult sons and daughters at that time.

Phil 3:20-21
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

Since God has adopted you into His family, your destiny is secure.

It is a guarantee.

You are an heir of God, and nothing can ever rob you of that inheritance.

ROM 8:38-39
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Living under His Fatherly care

We are protected in this by the power of God. He will never fail to come through for His beloved children.

Sonship carries with it the training and discipline of our Father, as well as His love and special care and special plans.

By bringing many brothers and sisters into glory, God is adding to the glory of His Son Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 2:9-14)

He has taken us under His wing as our new Father. He provides us everything we will ever need for time and eternity. 

He is “all in”. He is going to take us to glory.

Every day, He steps into this role as our Daddy.  He encourages us, trains us, disciplines us, rescues us, and restores us.

And He calls us to walk, and run, to fight and to put away, to put on, and hold our ground.

And we learn. 

We learn how…

Sons and daughters can believe.

Sons and daughters can learn.

Sons and daughters can love.

Sons and daughters can let the word of God dwell inside us richly.

Sons and daughters can set our minds on the things above where Christ is.

Sons and daughters can consider the members of our body as dead to the lusts of the flesh.

Sons and daughters can have our minds renewed.

Sons and daughters can put on the attitudes and behaviors of Christ.

Sons and daughters can walk by means of the Spirit.

Sons and daughters can fight the good fight.

Sons and daughters can do all these things only by grace through faith…

Knowing that what we are we are by the grace of God…

And what we do we can only do by the strength that God our Father provides.

And  from now on, whenever things get really bad in your life, just say to yourself, “I am still God’s son”, “ I remain God’s daughter”. 

This affliction is not bigger than my Father. He’s got me in His grip.  He will take this and work something very good out of it. 

He will complete our upbringing.

And a day will come when our eager waiting for Christ to appear will be over.  And then it will all be revealed as glorious. 

In a little while we'll be home forever.


Until the next time, we’re all ….

In His grip,

Pastor John

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