Summary: Part 4 in the series "Victory in Jesus." Discover how to be promoted from childhood to adulthood, from slavery to sonship, and from orphan to heir.
RECEIVING YOUR SPIRITUAL PROMOTION
Victory In Jesus – Part 4
October 17, 2004
So many people spend the entirety of their lives simply trying to get ahead. They try to get ahead financially, relationally and materialistically. Some people will do almost anything it takes to earn more money, get a better job, and acquire a bigger home or a faster car. No matter how much we have we find ourselves in the never-ending pursuit of more.
Now don’t get me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with getting a promotion or a raise at work. There is nothing wrong with getting a better car or a nicer home. The problem comes when the acquisition of those things becomes the driving force in our life.
Paul tells us that there is something much more important for us to be going after in life. He tells us in Galatians chapter 4 about the spiritual promotion that we can receive from God. In keeping with Paul’s emphasis throughout this book we find that this is not the kind of promotion that can be earned through good job performance. Nor is the promotion only available to one person. It is not like everyone here is vying for one position – for one promotions
. This promotion is available to all people who are willing to accept it by faith in Jesus Christ.
Several people passed away at the same time. All were met at the gates by St. Peter. The first was an architect from California. Peter said, "You’ve built beautiful buildings and served men on earth, but before you come in you have to pass one small test, spell God". "G-O-D," replied the architect and St. Peter waved him through.
The second person to approach was a rancher from Texas. Peter looked at him and said, "You’ve served man upon the earth by providing food through the cattle you’ve raised but before you come in there’s just one small test, spell GOD". "G-O-D", said the rancher and Peter waved him through.
The third person was an attractive businesswoman from New York. Peter said, "You’ve served the world of commerce, but before you come in you’ll have to pass one small test." At this the woman interrupted, "Oh come on now Saint," said the woman, "I’ve had to fight for every promotion I’ve ever gotten. I’ve had to take lower pay for the same job as a male colleague, and I’ve been continually harassed by bosses and peers for one reason, my gender. And now here I am and you’re giving me a hard time too; what kind of test? Let’s get it over with."
Peter thought for a moment and said, "Spell Czechoslovakia" (Brian La Croix – Sermon Central)
You don’t have to pass any tests or jump through some impossible hoops to get this promotion. Once again, it is available to everyone in the room this morning through simple faith in Jesus Christ.
Let’s take a closer look at this promotion and what it entails. There are three aspects to your spiritual promotion. You can be promoted …
1. From Childhood to Adulthood.
Take a look at what Paul has to say beginning in verse 1:
1As long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.
Notice in verse 3 Paul says, “when we were children.” It is in the passed tense. He is saying that they were no longer children for they had passed from childhood to adulthood.
This passing from childhood into adulthood was not viewed in antiquity as being only a gradual process. The moment of growing up was a very definite one. In Judaism a boy passed from childhood to adulthood shortly after his twelfth birthday.
In the Greek world the child would come of age later, at about 18. Kind of like we today consider an 18 year old to be old enough to vote and serve in the military.
However Paul probably had the Roman custom in mind as he penned these verses. For the Romans there was not a set age when the child became an adult. The father would have had some discretion in setting the time for his child becoming an adult. There is probably some wisdom in this because not all children mature at the same rate. Some sixteen year olds show more maturity and responsibility than some eighteen year olds. So the father could set the time of officially becoming an adult based on the child’s development. This is why Paul referred to the child as being under the custody of guardians “until the time set by his father.”