Summary: Through Grace, we are adopted into God’s family, because REAL sons and daughers of God, completely forgiven of our sins, through the Grace of Jesus Christ...purchased with His body and blood on the cross for our redemption.
Sons and Daughters of God
Stephen Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church--Elk Grove
Last month we celebrated Mother’s Day and last Sunday was Father’s Day. These are days we set aside to honor our moms and dads, the parents who loved us and raised us, or in the case of the kids here today, those who are now loving us and raising us. Now, notice that when I was talking about the role of parents, I did NOT mention or say, those who gave us life because perhaps there are some here tonight are like me—adopted. Many of you have had the opportunity over the months to meet my biological parents. My birth-mom Judi lives in Washington State and my birth-father Jim lives in Minnesota. Now I love my biological parents and am thankful that, whatever the situation was at the time, I am alive and I am here standing in front of you today because of them. They are my biological parents, but they are not my Mom and Dad. My biological parents brought into this world. My Mom and Dad are the ones who led me and guided me prepared me for my life. So what makes a Mom and Dad? Well, they are the ones who fed me, diapered me, taught me right from wrong, made sure I was educated, made sure I had good solid values……they are the ones who transformed me from a newborn that doesn’t know much into the man I am today. Although I might physically look like my biological parents because of the way the genes work, I act and fit into my adoptive family because I am now part of them; I’ve grown up with them, bonded with them and have become a part of them. Where I came into this world a complete stranger to the Beckers, today I am part of them and they are, in turn, part of me; we are family.
In our reading today Paul also tells us that although we were once strangers to God, we are also now sons and daughters of God and that says and means a whole lot. You see friends, without Jesus, we are outside of God’s family. Without Jesus, it is our sin, our inability to be right before God that separates us from Him. But with our faith in Jesus, we become sons and daughters of the Most High God. We are literally adopted into God’s family through faith. Our reading opens with Paul explaining, here beginning with Galatians 3:24, “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under supervision of the law. The Law that Paul is talking about here is the Law of Moses, including the Ten Commandments and all of the ceremonial and foods laws that the Jews observed at the time of Christ. In fact there are some Jews today who still followed that same Law. Now the Law is from God and is a good thing. But the problem is that without Jesus—with the Law only—nobody can find salvation from their sins because there is no single person who ever lived or lives today, with the exception of Jesus, who could completely keep God’s Law. And 99 and 44/100’s percent isn’t good enough when it comes to the Law. With God’s Law, it’s “all or nothing.” So that’s why Paul explains that “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” See what Paul is explaining here is that God’s Law, which is perfect, is impossible for us because of sin. The Law helps us to realize that we are sinners and it shows us our short-comings; it helps us to realize that we are literally orphans because our sin keeps us separate from God. God designed the Law to literally terrify our conscience and make us aware that on our own, we are all alone and that we have no where to go, other than into Jesus’ waiting arms. And so “the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ,” and in our faith in Jesus, He forgives our sins; He justifies us. We are “justified by faith,” as Paul says. “Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law…” Now that faith has come, now that Jesus is our Lord, we are no longer orphans, but rather we’re part of God’s family. Or as Paul says in Ephesians 1:5, “In love, he predestined us to be ADOPTED as sons thorough Jesus Christ.”
So what exactly does it mean to be adopted into God’s family? What does it mean when Paul pronounces in verse 26 of our reading that, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”? My friends, it means you are 100% part of God’s family. It means 100% that God wants to be with you, so much in fact that the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling in your heart. It means that this Law that drove you to Christ no longer needs to supervise what you do in your life because God the Holy Spirit will now personally do it, from within you, living within you. It means your whole life has changed because you are now real, true members of God’s family. Like I said a few minutes ago, because I have been adopted into my Mom and Dad’s family, I am a real, true member of the Becker Family. I learned and live their family values. My Mom’s sister is my is my REAL aunt; dad’s brother is my REAL uncle. I wasn’t born into this family, but I am really and truly and honestly part of it because I have been adopted into it. And through our faith, we are really and truly and honestly part of God’s family because He adopted us into it. Paul says that once we are sons and daughters of God through Christ, we clothe ourselves with Christ. What does that mean? Well, just as I have picked up habits and mannerism and values from my Mom and Dad, I also pick up the habits, mannerisms and values of Jesus Christ. Because I was adopted into— and grew up in—a house of German immigrants, I know and like German food, German music and German traditions. Because I have been adopted into God’s house, I know and like His values and traditions. Loving my neighbor as I love myself is as natural to me as a member of God’s family as eating Jaegerschnitzel mit Rottkohl und Pommes is as a member of the German Becker household.