So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:7 (NIV).
Many teenagers (and quite a few adults) equate tidiness at home with slavery. To them, it is forcible drudgery to clean the house. When my kids were young, my words imploring them to clean their rooms brought eye-rolls, blank indifference, or complaints that it was akin to slavery for me to ask them to clean their rooms.
But my kids are heirs. They are heirs to the current and eternal life God gave them. They are heirs to the promise made to Abraham, through adoption into Christ’s family of believers. And they are my heirs, who will inherit whatever belongings I leave behind when I die. As a dad, I was (still am) fastidious and a neat-freak. I like a tidy house and wanted my kids to toe the line to what I consider tidy. That didn’t work out well. They’re their own people, and my wife & I raised them to be independent. I wanted them to inherit my fondness for cleanliness, and, in their own ways, they did. But different from me.
Yet even though we’re different people, they’re still heirs. They aren’t slaves to my compulsion to keep things picked up. They aren’t slaves to my repeated commands (which they usually ignored) to keep their rooms clean. They aren’t slaves to my sins even as they become slaves to their own (if they so choose). They aren’t slaves: they’re heirs
In Romans, Paul spends considerable time talking about how believers used to be slaves to sin. He then completes that discussion here in Galatians 4, reminding us that Christ set us free from our punishment as slaves to sin. He who is our Savior had no natural children, yet He makes us His spiritual heirs by the sacrificial death and resurrection only He could deliver. He made it possible for this to happen, for us to be able to go unafraid to our heavenly Father – His Father – and address Him as Daddy. He grafted us onto His family tree.
People don’t do that for slaves. Outside fiction, the best that could happen to a slave was to be freed. That wasn’t usually the case. Slaves were (and are) captured and held against their will, forced to do the bidding of their masters. When we choose sin, we’re choosing to be sin’s slave, absorbing whatever consequences that sin entails. The moment we come to faith in Jesus, however, He frees us. He already did the work; we simply accept it. And when that happens, we realize the benefit of being made His heir. Tell that to your teenager the next time you tell them to clean their room.
For further reading: Romans 6:15-23, Romans 8:17, Galatians 4:8
Lord, all praise to You for making us Your heirs.
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