By Morgan Stoecklin
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:4-7
There’s not a whole lot left that we humans can agree upon these days, but one place I think we can all find some common ground is here: Family relationships are complicated. No family is excused from this reality—every family’s got something (or someone) gone awry.
All families are complicated, and this is no different for Jesus and his family. I mean, imagine having to tell people that your real Father is the God of the universe. Or from Mary’s perspective – imagine the confused looks on her friend’s faces as she tried to convince them that her son’s father was . . . God?
And despite all this complication, Jesus’ likens his people to . . . yep, you guessed it: family. Those who’ve been grafted in through the redemption of Jesus are now considered children of God. And Paul goes on to share with the Galatians (and us), how that’s only the beginning of our new identity in Him.
When you’ve heard the Christmas story numerous times, it’s easy to lose sight of what it can mean for you and your true identity today. Consider these qualities that Paul says are true of you in Christ:
Redeemed – This is the gospel. Redemption is a story arc we’ve been so familiarized with in our culture through art and entertainment, that its almost second nature to us. Here, we are described as redeemed from under the law. Here’s the good news: If God says you are redeemed, then you are no longer bound by the rules and regulations of religion, but you’ve been set free to live a life where you can freely commune with God.
Adopted – You’ve been adopted into the family of God, seen as one of his own, not based on any merit or action on your part, but out of the unconditional love extended to you by the Father. This identity marker looks beyond who you used to be and replaces your old self with who you are now and the family you’ve joined.
Child – There’s much debate on what prerequisites come with being considered as a child of God, but it is God who “gives the right” to become his Child, and with that comes immeasurable rewards both here on earth and in eternity.
Filled with the Holy Spirit – This is a promise from God throughout scripture. The Holy Spirit brings comfort, peace, discernment, wisdom, conviction, courage, and so much more. God’s spirit within us is a unique and mysterious gift granted to those who are his children.
Heirs – Galatian 4 says this is true of us because we’re no longer slaves, but God’s children. Here we are given all the rights that heirs of God possess. Our inheritance is now so much more than retirement funds, a house, a boat, or some cash. We will inherit an eternity with no pain, sorrow, or grief.
Eternal hope, comfort, and security comes through our adoption by God through Jesus.
Which one of these qualities do you cling to this holiday season? In celebrating Jesus’ birth, we also celebrate our own new birth into a blessed forever family.