Greetings! Welcome back to our video devotional series for Aberdeen Heights and Safe Harbor. My hope and prayer is that these brief messages will not simply be encouraging to you but help you see more of who God is and experience the deep love He has for you.
I have been teaching through the book of Galatians on Sunday mornings and Sunday afternoons so I wanted to share with you something from Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia. I think it will give you something to think and meditate upon this week… something that may be familiar but often underappreciated.
Let me read to you from Galatians 4… verse 4-7.
Here Paul is writing to a church he started about God’s grace and his plan to reveal that mercy… a mercy that isn’t just about forgiveness of a particular failing… but a grace that fundamentally changes our relationship with the Creator of the Universe…
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
When we go to work for someone, we hope we will be friends with the boss but we understand that it’s a working relationship… affection, intimacy… its not the foundation. Work is.
Sometimes we think that way about our interactions with God: it’s a working relationship. He has rules. We follow… with rewards if we work well… and consequences if we don’t. God has Law given through Moses, and we are born under the power of that Law… and at times we feel it is a kind of slavery. The scriptures make it clear that this is not the proper inter-ration of why the Law was given but Paul acknowledges that this is how we tend to view things. Well… in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus… God turns ill that on its head. We are not slaves… workers slaving for the Man… we are sons.
I want to clear one thing up about the gendered terms because some might be wondering if Paul was excluding women and the exact opposite is true. In the ancient Roman world, sons inherited property… not daughters. Inherently misogynistic. Paul wrote earlier in the letter that there is no “slave or free, male or female” when it comes to our relationship with God. An here, when he writes we are all “sons,” he is telling us the news that we are all heirs of the riches of God’s grace. It is a legal designation we all have in Christ… Jew or Gentile… slave or free… male or female… we are all inheritors of God’s great reward!
And what is that reward? God himself! He gives himself to us… not as a master… not as an employer… but as a loving, good father! Not only do we have legal status. We have intimacy, affection.
6 … God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
The Aramaic word for father… the word Jesus himself would have used as a child… is ‘Av’ or ‘Ab’… a jabbering toddle would likely turn that into ‘Abba’… Dadda. A term of simple affection and closeness… intimacy.
When my twin girls were 9/10 years old, we grew close to a family at the church we attended. We encouraged our kids to refer to adults as Mr. Jones… Mrs. Smith. If they were friends, its was Miss Janet or Mr. Justin. Well, the wife of this couple didn’t feel write about my girls calling her Miss Susan… so she invited them to call her by the same name her grandchildren used… Tutu.
There is power in the invitation to call someone by a name of such affection. There is security… comfort… love, intimacy.
This is what God invites you into. Perhaps with our earthly parents, we felt fear, shame… but God is the good Father who loves you… who invites you into onto his lap for a bedtime story… for an embrace… to reassure you after failure, He still accepts and loves you.
This week, can you believe God loves you this way? And if you really did believe it, how would it change you?
Blessings on you all this week and I will see you all soon.