God is calling Galatian style churches back to himself. To a fresh sensitivity to the Lord, to a true ordering of the gospel as we read the word of God. As we come alive to God as our Father, not our slavemaster, something comes out of us with life-altering power which changes everything. How do we perceive ourselves by now? What is our identity and place in the universe? The deeply unsettling sense of failure and inadequacy, futility and worthlessness, dread for the future, sadness, anguish and suffering which none of us can face, is something which God steps into and takes us by the hand to find freedom.
Old ordering of the gospel, neonomian, God is calling us to try harder to be the people he wants us to be. “What kind of foot dragging, half-hearted slave have you been?” Rather, we are called to fall into his arms and hear him say “you are my child, adopted in my family, given a new name, take your place at my table, come as you are, with all your mess, belong, in all the mess as my child and believe I am your Abba, Father. I am telling you it is so. Sit, rest, feast, you belong here.”
We receive a new authority to stop our internal self-torment. We need no longer beat ourselves up for our failure but rejoice in our new status as adopted children. We are now faithful by accepting our new place in the family of the Father.
Galatians 3:23- 4:7
- All that God is, is for us. Verse 4-5 Father sent forth his Son and sent forth his Spirit show that God is for us, with everything which is his and is him.
- The sending of the Spirit is essential for us to know personally that God is for us. Both the sendings are essential. The presence of the Spirit without the sending of the Son gives us no objective assurance of his love. The sending of the Son without the sending of these Spirit gives us no subjective assurance of his love.
- This is all of grace. The Father sends and we receive adoption was sons. We need the Holy Spirit to tell us and assurance that we are not forgiven slaves but adopted and adored children.
Disobedient slave to sin under the power of Satan.
forgiven slave who has stopped receiving beatings for disobedience.
Adopted child seated at the Father’s table and enjoying true fellowship as an heir.
When I was 17, I was ungrateful and rebellious toward my dad, though he was a great Father. So it was with Israel. Ungrateful and rebellious under the law believing that the Father was restrictive and authoritarian. When rebellious Israel refused to return, God did not give them more law. He sent his Son in love. God demonstrated love to undeserving, ungrateful and rebellious children. God changed his relationship with him, not us with him,
Some of us here grew up in legalistic homes which did us no good. Faith through grace leads us to rest in Christ.
God not only loved me but I can experience his love. This is a taste of the experience of God the Father which Jesus had in the garden. Personal love, Abba Father is a cry without pomposity. It is the cry of a child. Flowery, fancy prayers, which lack intimacy, should make us question our relationship with God.
God wants us to know at a level which goes deeper than our pain, rejection, shame and insecurity that he loves us an has adopted us as his children. Verse 6. His Spirit gives us that experience as we change our story from forgiven slave to adopted child. God in Christ by His Spirit changes the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
We must be careful not to add to the gospel and become legalistic again, throwing God’s redemption of the world into reverse gear. We need the experience of the Spirit crying in our hearts, Abba Father.
It is the supreme art of the devil to make the law into the gospel. But I can turn to Satan and say “kiss my backside” because I have been adopted by God through Christ, and can’t be more accepted, loved and doted on. [Paraphrase of Martin Luther].
Will you open up to God and receive the Spirit of adoption and be freed from the sense of slavery under the law? There is nothing we can do to add to Christ.