Summary: On the 1st Sunday after Christmas we are reminded that Jesus came that we might become children of God.
Title: Three Rs
Text: Galatians 4:4-7
Thesis: On the 1st Sunday after Christmas we are reminded that Jesus came that we might become children of God.
The three Rs (as in the letter R) are the foundations of a basic skills-orientated education program within schools: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Interestingly enough it would seem that anyone with an education would know that two of the three Rs do not actually begin with the letter R.
A few years ago some state education systems decided Reading, Writing and Arithmetic were outmoded and adopted a new set of Three Rs: Relating, Representing and Reasoning. It seems that those systems that have gone that route have found that half of all students and three fourths of all minority students are ill-equipped in their ability to read, write and do simple math.
More recently environmentalists have adapted the 3 Rs to stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
However this morning, just as there are Three Rs essential to a basic education, I would like to suggest that, based on the use of one word in our text, there are another Three Rs that are essential to our basic spiritual education.
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman… to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5
Transition: Implicit in the term “redeem” or “redemption” are three things that are accomplished for us.
I. We are rescued. Christ came to Rescue Us.
The reason God sent His only Son was to redeem us from under the law so that we might become Children of God. But what does it mean to be “under the law” and why do we need to be “redeemed” from it?
Turn with me to Galatians 3:10-14. For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written:”Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Galatians 4:10 is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 27:26. That verse comes to us from the context of Moses’ having instructed the Israelites: “The Lord commands you this day to follow these decrees and laws with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 26:16 The Children of Israel were to obey the laws and decrees of God to a “T” when they crossed over into the Promised Land. The laws and decrees were many and extensive… much, much more complex than the simplicity of the Ten Commandments. If you care to note a few examples in context look at the curses meted out in Deuteronomy 26:15-26 that were to come to anyone who broke God’s laws and decrees.
To be under the law or to be a slave to the law was to be so delusional as to believe you could be good enough to never break any of God’s laws.
Illustration: When I was in high school I wanted to learn to type so I took a typing class. I learned to type on manual Underwood and Royal typewriters… the kind with messy inky black ribbons and a return carriage. When I went to college I bought my first typewriter… a Sears/Smith-Corona Electric. It had a ribbon cartridge, a correction tape and an automatic carriage return. I never used an IBM Selectric but always wanted one.
But then along came the word processor and then along came PCs and Monty thought he had gone to heaven. The old manual typewriters were imperfect at best but the new computers with word processing programs could do everything we had hoped the manual typewriter would do.
When Jesus came he accomplished for us what we hoped the law could do but could never do. Faith in the work of Christ accomplished for us what we had hoped all out hard work in obeying the law would do… but did not.
In Galatians 3:11 the Bible says, “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because the righteous will live by faith.” When a person is under the law he is like a hamster on the treadmill in his cage. He just runs and runs and runs and runs and never gets anywhere. And try as we may we can never be good enough to keep the law to perfection.
And the only way we can be freed from the law is to be redeemed. At the very core to be redeemed is to be bought out of slavery.
One way to think of redemption or being redeemed is to think of ourselves as having been rescued by Christ.
The Bible says that we have been rescued from:
A. The “Dominion of Darkness in Colossians 1:13-14. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”