Summary: Through our inheritance in Christ, we have certain rights that we are free to exercise
“What’s Christmas All About? Claiming Your Inheritance”
The city of Grand Haven was having difficulty with skateboard traffic. skateboarders were everywhere, weaving in and out and over walkers and drivers anywhere, anytime. So the city passed laws prohibiting skateboarding in public areas and then built a special skateboard park, complete with ramps and obstacles, and established an admission fee. But the young people were not happy. So it made the news. Interviewed by a TV reporter, one brash teen said, “It’s my right to skate board wherever I want, whenever I want.”
“It’s my right!” We hear it all the time. Unions strike because of rights; welfare recipients and program directors harp on it constantly. Minorities and majorities shout it powerfully. And certainly we all have some basic rights, but the idea of rights is abused and misused all too frequently. Still we’re going to think today about our rights. Jesus, after all, secured some for us.
In Galatians 4, Paul reminds us that Jesus was sent on a mission - He came into the slave market of our world and purchased us and freed us “that we might receive the full rights of sons.” So we do have some rights through Jesus Christ. And WE CAN EXERCISE OUR RIGHTS BY CLAIMING THE BENEFITS OF OUR INHERITANCE IN CHRIST. According to Paul, there are three significant aspects of our inheritance which, when claimed, give us those rights.
The first aspect is that we have an IDENTITY THROUGH POSITION. “Because you are sons...” We have been given the full rights of a natural born, mature heir. The Roman father had the discretion to determine when a son was “of age” to become the legal heir to his estate. Until that time the son had no more access to the inheritance than a slave. So Paul says God chose the time when Jesus came and gave us our inheritance. He paid the price; through no merit of our own WE HAVE THE FULL RIGHTS of natural born sons. As John wrote (1Jn. 3:1), “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Perhaps you can recall the thrill and honor of being chosen for that starring role, or making the team, or being elected to that key position, or receiving that honor or recognition, or getting that job you so desperately desired; it only pales in comparison with the thrill, honor, and privilege of being chosen by God, of being granted full status, equal with his Son, Jesus. That’s right - equal to the status of Jesus. We are His brothers and sisters!
Think about that. WHATEVER BELONGS TO CHRIST BELONGS TO US! We have the same name, the same inheritance, the same position, the same rights as Jesus! When people all around us are having identity crises, trying to find out who they are, trying to discover their inner selves, searching for their roots, trying to build their sense of self-worth on their achievements - we can be secure in the knowledge that we are children of God the Father, in equal standing with Jesus! It doesn’t get any better than this! As the Living Bible paraphrases verse 7, we have access to “everything God has.” Whatever belongs to Christ belongs to us. We don’t need to earn it, buy it, deserve it - it’s ours!
And we can begin to draw on it even now! The Scriptures tell us: God has made available to us the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7), the riches of His glory (Phil. 4:19), the riches of His goodness (Rom. 2:4), and the riches of His wisdom (Rom. 11:33).
Perhaps you remember the farm family who, many years ago, lived in dire poverty. One Christmas someone sent them their first mirror. The teen-aged boy saw himself for the first time. He said to his mother: “Mom, look how ugly I am. How can you love me when you see how dirty and ugly I am?” She put her arm around him and with tears in her eyes replied, “Because you are mine.” The truth is, IT’S NOT WHO WE ARE BUT WHOSE WE ARE that really matters. This is the secret of our dignity and worth as persons. It is through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we have such a position of status and prestige! We are full and legal heirs of all God has to offer! We have a right to claim it all for we have identity through our position.
Paul lists the second aspect of our inheritance this way: “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” We have INFLUENCE THROUGH PRESENCE. Eugene Petersen in The Message words this verse, “We have been set free to experience” our standing with Christ because God has sent His Spirit. Notice - the Spirit is given to us - we don’t need to ask for Him or do anything to receive Him - He is given to us! He comes as a gift - He’s part of the inheritance package, part of the salvation life!