Summary: This is a sermon that examines the gift we recieved at Christmas... and asks the question, do we have a personal relationship with God or a legal relationship?
4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons and daughters. 6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God-- or rather are known by God-- how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
I don’t know why… but, for some strange reason… I’ve been thinking an awful lot about babies being born lately. Maybe it has something to do with our due date only being 6 weeks away now. I’ve been thinking… about how much babies change your world. Suddenly… in a world where 8 hours of sleep is the norm… 4 hours of sleep is considered a great nights sleep. Suddenly… goo goo ga ga boo plplplplp constitutes a full sentence and amazingly… you understand it to mean “I would like my bottle now please.” Suddenly… a 75 decibel living room is considered a quiet afternoon. Suddenly, there are locks… protectors… tighteners… bumpers… and gates everywhere you go… and the baby is the only one in the house with the ability to open them. Suddenly, you are discussing with your spouse about who’s turn is who’s and who did what last. And finally, suddenly every noise in the house is a cause for great alarm and fear!
It’s like the story about a young married couple with their first child. The wife wakes up quite alarmed at 3 in the morning and shakes her husband awake. He sits up for a minute and listens to see what the trouble is. Finally he says, "But I don’t hear her crying." "I know" she replied, "And it’s your turn to go see why not!" Yes, the birth of a baby can change your entire world.
Only three short days ago we celebrated Christmas… we celebrated the birth of a baby. Now, I imagine that this birth caused the Christ family many of the disturbances I mentioned earlier… but this birth would change so much more. The birth of this child… would change everything for everybody.
You see, the Christmas event is so important that we could practically preach it all year long. Every single verse of scripture gives us insight and meaning to the great importance that Christmas plays in our lives. And today’s scripture is no different. Let’s look again at the words from Paul.
“ 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons and daughters.” Alright… we will stop right there. At first glance… there may not seem to be a lot going on in this verse other than “Jesus saves!” But there is so much that this little baby changed. First off, “God sent his Son.” You wanna talk about a baby changing the world around it… well what happens when that baby is divine? It doesn’t stop there either, this baby was “born of a woman.” So not only is this baby fully divine, but he is fully human to. Again, maybe this seems a small thing.
But it has drastically changed the rules of the game for the entire world. You see, this fully God, fully human baby… was born under the Law, lived under the Law, and died under the Law. And because he did so without blemish… those who call on him are redeemed and set free. We stand in a court room convicted of wrongdoing, and suddenly we find out that the penalty has been paid and we are free to go. This alone changes the world drastically, but Paul pushes this courtroom analogy even further. The baby coming into the world did so… “so we might receive the full rights of sons and daughters.” This… is the legal language of adoption.
It is one thing to pay the price for someone’s failures… it is another thing altogether to bring them into your family as a legal member. Heirs to the kingdom… adopted into the family with full claim on the inheritance. You wanna talk about just how much our world has changed… this baby suddenly has given us a great inheritance! Because of this baby… there’s no more need to worry about your future.