GALATIANS 3:26 - 4:7
for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 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.
The topic of family has different connotations for different people. Some may have very fond memories of their family–summer vacations, board game nights, etc., however, some may reflect on moments with their family as some of the harshest and most painful seasons of their life–abuse, neglect, etc. We can’t assume that each of us has identical thoughts or feelings when it comes to the discussion of “family.”
As Paul progresses forward in his letter to the churches in the region of Galatia (modern-day Turkey), he begins to unravel a beautiful picture of what God accomplished for us in Jesus. He states that our very family identity has changed. He lays before us that through faith in Jesus, we are brought into the best family imaginable–God’s family. He says that we are “sons of God” (Galatians 3:26). If you were to summarizes the sermon today in a sentence it would be this: Faith in Jesus secures us into the most unified, blessed and loving family.
This is no small point. This is perhaps one of the most profound realities of the Gospel–that God adopts rebels into his family. Sinclair Ferguson say it this way:
The notion that we are children of God, His own sons and daughters...is the mainspring of Christian living...Our sonship to God is the apex of creation and the goal of redemption.
Faith in “the one” makes us one
As we grow in our understanding of the story of redemption, we discover that one of the results of sin coming into our world is the relational separation that we experience between God, others and the created world. This separation is only built upon as we continually surround ourselves with people who think like us, look like us, dress like us, act like us, etc. We can sometimes blindly think that this type of homogeny can be classified as unity, but we are sorely mistaken. This is the opposite of unity and instead of making a people one, it only divides and separates further, leading to perpetual disunity.
Paul makes a radical statement that this faith in Jesus actually leads to unity, by laying waste to the barriers that we put up in our lives. He mentions three prominent barriers that we still wrestle with today.
- Cultural Barrier: We are made to feel inferior or superior based on our racial or cultural identity.
- Class Barrier: We are made to feel inferior or superior based on our socio-economic identity.
- Gender Barrier: We are made to feel inferior or superior based on our sex.
In the church, we realize that in Jesus there is true unity–we are one in him. No longer do we measure ourselves by looking at each other, but now, we measure ourselves according to the work of Jesus. We realize that we have no reason to boast in ourselves or over someone else. We all come to the family table filthy and in need of his cleansing.
Faith in “the heir” makes us heirs
The big news here is that those outside of the Abrahamic family are being grafted into the family of God and therefore, the promises given to Abraham fully apply to Gentiles and Jews alike, because of Jesus. Jesus is the true heir. We are only heirs through him–through faith and trust in him. The law (Romans 10:4), the sacrificial system (Hebrews 10:4), the scriptures themselves (John 5:39-40) all point to Jesus, not only as the way these things are fulfilled, but as the reward. He is our reward.
Faith in “the son” makes us sons
We are not only unified through Jesus or receivers of this promised inheritance, but we are called “sons” by God himself, and we cry out to God as “Abba! Father!” Through Jesus, our adoption into God’s family has been secured, but by depositing his Spirit in us, God has given us language by which we can call to him.
It is worth noting that Paul’s audience is a Greek-speaking audience, however, Paul does not use the Greek word for “dad” here, but rather, the Aramaic word for “dad.” This seems like perhaps a small oversight on Paul’s part, but this is highly deliberate.
Paul says that by the Spirit, we cry “Abba! Father!” We can’t call to God on our own, but rather, by Jesus we cry out to him. The Spirit puts Jesus’ cry into us. This same phrase is uttered by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane just hours before his crucifixion, when Jesus calls out to God saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36).
Our hearts are rewired and our lives recalibrated by this good news, to the point that our very family identity has changed forever. God has adopted us through faith in Jesus into his forever family. This family is not filled with the brokenness that our own families tend to exhibit and far surpasses the greatest joys our own families experience. We are children of God–the Creator, the holy One, the uncreated One, the good, the true, the beautiful–and He calls us His own.
Our Via Communities are our primary discipleship tool. This section is to help you as you discuss the sermon with others in your life. It is designed for communities to utilize but can be used to facilitate a conversation between spouses, good friends, co-workers, etc., as we live to be faithful to God’s mission in his world.
This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.
The Gospel is powerful. The good news of Jesus changes us. This section is to record the ways you are noticing the good news of Jesus transforming your life. Jot notes to help you remember.
As we examined God’s Word, in what ways was His Word examining you?
Describe how Jesus is becoming more central in your life.
What does trusting in Jesus look like for you this week?