Summary: God has set us free from the control of sin so that we might freely live as his children.
When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation he freed the slaves. They could live as free people. Their whole lives had changed. They were no longer subject to the oppression of their masters. They would no longer be punished by the authorities if they chose to leave their plantations. They were no free to live as free people.
It’s interesting to read about some of the freed slaves stories. There were many slaves who actually never left the plantations where they had lived all their lives. Even after the Emancipation Proclamation there were those who continued to live at their plantations and serve their masters. They didn’t have to stay – they chose to. They could have left and gone elsewhere. Their masters weren’t keeping them there. They lived and freely served their masters. Some of these people were criticized by their peers because they weren’t living as people who had been freed. They continued to live like they were slaves.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to Live as God’s Children. We have been set free from slavery. We have been set free from the power of sin, death, and the devil. We are no longer slaves – we have been adopted by God himself. We have been made heirs of God. These are the reasons that Paul encourages us to live as God’s children.
We have been adopted by God. Through Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection on Easter morning the power of sin and death was destroyed. Through the work of the Holy Spirit who worked faith in our hearts the wonderful benefits of Christ’s work have been made our own. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we have been adopted by God.
Our lives have been changed. We no longer live according to our sinful nature. That sinful nature is no longer our master. The power of that sinful nature has been crucified on the cross. We can conquer that sinful nature with the help of the Spirit. With the help of the Spirit we can put the sinful nature to death. We put that sinful nature to death by coming to God with a broken and a contrite heart.
We come before God with a broken and contrite heart – with hearts of repentance, admitting our failings and our shortcomings because we no longer live in fear. We no longer live in fear of punishment. Christ has paid that punishment for us. We aren’t afraid to admit our shortcomings because we recognize that our eternal salvation isn’t dependent upon our own good works. Our eternal salvation is dependent on the achievements and accomplishments of Christ alone.
Christ’s achievements make it possible for us to have a new relationship with our God. We no longer hide in fear of him as the righteous judge. Our perception of him has been changed. Our reality is this – God the righteous judge is also God our dear Father. He is the best Father anyone could ever ask for. He is always watching over us. He is always ready and willing to listen. He provides and cares for us – perfectly, at all times, in every way.
We can be sure of this by the testimony of the Holy Spirit recorded for us in the Bible. We are also certain that God is our dear Father by the testimony of the faith that he has worked through the Holy Spirit in our hearts. When what believe is in conformity with what Scripture has to say we have a very personal piece of evidence that indeed the God of the Bible is also the God who lives in our hearts and in our lives. When our confession agrees with the words of Scripture we have the certain assurance that what the Bible teaches is also true in our lives – it is indeed true that God is our dear Father and we are his dear children.
Application – We no longer live to please our sinful nature. We live according to the new man that has been raised to life within us. We live out of joy for the one who has rescued us.
We are also motivated to live as God’s children because he has made us his heirs. We are heirs of God’s promises. He has promised us that he will raise our bodies on the Last Day to be reunited with our souls to spend eternity with him in heaven. The proof of this promise is seen in the firstfruits from the dead – the one who served as a pattern of the things that would happen in the future. That person is Jesus Christ – the one who was raised from death to life – as proof that he had conquered the power of sin and the bonds of death, and also as assurance to us that just as his body was raised from the grave – so also it will be for us.