Summary: Ours is a true Cinderella story. God has taken us from humble roots, given us the best clothes and made us heirs of his vast fortune.
Mexican soap operas crack me up. Nine times out of ten they are about a young, poor maid who falls in love with her employer’s handsome son. After many trials and tribulations, this young, poor maid finally finds the life of her dreams with the man of her dreams. For some reason, we can’t get enough of the Cinderella story. Whether in the movies, on TV, or in sports we root for the underdog, that person who faces all odds, who goes from rags to riches. Well, today we are going to look at a true Cinderella story. It’s our story, how God took us from our humble roots, gave us the best clothes and made us heirs of his vast fortune.
I. From rags to riches (26,27)
Our story really begins over six thousand years ago in a beautiful garden, where our ancestors Adam and Eve listened to that tempting serpent and ate of the forbidden fruit. In an instant they lost everything: perfection, peace, their place in God’s kingdom. And we are their offspring. Born in sin. Born dirty and worthless slaves. As proud Americans, we don’t like to hear that. As we celebrated on the Fourth of July, we are free. Free to live our lives as we would. Free to set our own future. Slaves to no one.
Well, when you find yourself in a web of lies, and at one time or another we all do, you’ll see that slavery. Unable, unwilling to tell the truth, we tell one lie after another, each one covering up the last. We are slaves to our lies.
You are on the road. You promised your wife that you would be more patient and not get angry at how other people drive. Yet you can’t help but get upset at those idiots who just don’t know how to drive. We are slaves to our anger.
Your father passes away, yet you have a hard time going to the funeral because you are afraid to face that casket that will one day be your resting place. We are slaves to fear. The truth is that we are all born slaves to sin, the devil and the fear of death.
But from those humble and lowly beginnings God does something incredible In his love he looked at us in our miserable state of slavery and decided to pay the price of our freedom. He redeemed us. He paid the price of our freedom, not with gold or silver, but with his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He suffered the whippings, the beatings and the punishment that our lies, anger and doubts deserve.
And because of that, God now receives us as his own dear children. He adopts us miserable slaves. In our baptism he clothed us with new clothes, with the perfection of Jesus. All those dirty stains of sin and doubt are now covered with the bleached white linen of Jesus’ perfection. When God looks at us, he doesn’t see our sins, our filth, our weaknesses, but rather he sees the perfection the Jesus won for us on the cross. He receives us as sons and daughters of the king.
Did you notice something a little different about our rags to riches story? We didn’t do anything. We didn’t pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We didn’t face all odds and work hard to earn it. We did nothing. God saved us. God chose us. God called us to faith. Yeah, that’s right, even faith is something that God has given us. So let’s not be so arrogant as to say that we’ve had something to do with the fact that we are children of God.
You know, when I go and visit prospects for the church, one of the first things that I ask them is if they think that they are going to heaven, and if so, why? The most common answers that I have heard are: “Because I am a good person and led a good life.” Or “Because I have chosen God and decided to believe in him.” The reason that we will go to heaven is because, as Paul writes, “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law (that is, to pay the price that sets us free from the punishment of sin) so that we might receive full rights as sons.” In his amazing love, God has changed us from paupers into princes. Not with a wave of his magic wand, but by paying the incredible price for our freedom with his death on the cross. And through our baptisms and through the preaching of the Gospel the Holy Spirit gives us the faith to trust that.
II. We all are heirs of his kingdom.