No Longer a Slave, But a Son

 

All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So, the people stood at a distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.   Exodus 20:18-21 

These words speak of the deep concern that the Hebrew people were experiencing at Mount Sinai. They looked up and perceived thunder, lightning, mountain smoking, and the trumpet sound as they trembled from a distance. They were afraid to hear from God directly. They would prefer that Moses find out what God wants and then tell the people. This speaks of a fundamental condition of humanity throughout its existence: people are afraid of God and afraid to hear from God. Man wants to have some control of the narrative rather than being utterly accountable to God. The people requested a king rather than continuing in a theocracy (see 1 Samuel 8). A king provided a buffer between God and the people. From the beginning, God planned to provide that buffer as the lamb slain before the foundation of the world and His Spirit, the Spirit of Christ.

Traditions of the Elders

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him, you have been made complete,        Colossians 2:8-10 

These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement…           Colossians 2:23

During His three-year public ministry, Jesus consistently confronted the Pharisees and their methods of enforcing the Oral Law as if the Lord had also given it to Moses on Mount Sinai. He referred to this practice as the tradition of the elders, and, in some cases, they made it superior to the written Law. The Scriptures have multiple warnings about adding to or taking away from what is written in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. This has been a consistent problem when man does not reverence or properly respect the authority of Scripture. When man is in a position to control the understanding of the Scriptures, the purity of the truth of God’s Word is compromised; one’s relationship with God turns into a self-made religion. 

Taught by the Holy Spirit 

For to us, God revealed them through the [Holy] Spirit; for the [Holy] Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the [Holy] Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.            1 Corinthians 2:10-16

So much Christian teaching today results from denominationalism, emphasizing the unique doctrines that divide churches within Christianity. To properly understand and apply Scripture, the believer must be focused from the heart, on the Spirit, and not the letter. Romans 2:29: But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. It is the Holy Spirit who gives personal application of God’s Word instead of man’s private interpretation. The Holy Spirit brings God’s thoughts. Too much Christian teaching is preoccupied with generally accepted theological positions without concern for personal application. The new covenant is predicated on a personal relationship with God from the heart and not by a religious program. As 2 Corinthians 3:6 states, the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” 

On Friday, June 28, 2024, the United States Supreme Court upended a 40-year-old decision, known as the Chevon doctrine, that had allowed federal agencies to fill in the details when laws were not specific or crystal clear. This doctrine supported the creation of the “administrative state,” introduced in the early twentieth century by progressive politicians who desired to control the establishment of federal laws by delegating the responsibility of establishing details of legislation to the “experts,” typically progressive bureaucrats. It leaves major legislation's “dirty” details to those friendly to progressive causes. When asked about the details of the Obamacare legislation in 2010, Nancy Pelosi answered, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.” The Constitution gave the sole responsibility of legislation to Congress, but they have willingly abdicated much of that responsibility to unelected bureaucrats.

Adopted 

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.          Galatians 4:4-7

Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia was written mainly to address the issue of the role that the Law of Moses (Torah) should play in the believer’s, particularly Gentile’s, life. Jesus, the Messiah, came to bring each one an opportunity to be adopted into the family of God simply based on faith in who He is and what He did. Instead of the Law dictating how the new believer should live, the Holy Spirit was sent forth into his heart to provide the blueprint for sonship in Christ. Adoption is a word of position rather than relationship. The believer's relation to God as a child results from the new birth (John 1:12-13), whereas adoption is the divine act whereby one who is already a child is, through redemption from the law, placed in the position of an adult son. He could then receive an inheritance. 

No Inheritance

Then, he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living. But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.              Acts 7:4-5

Before Abraham had Ishmael or Isaac, he had great concerns about leaving an inheritance. In Genesis 15:2-3, Abram said, “O Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Abram probably adopted Eliezer, his servant, as his son. This is likely the same servant spoken of in Genesis 24, taking place some fifty years later, when Abraham, now near the end of his life, sends his servant back to “his country and his relatives” to find a bride for his son Isaac. The story symbolizes the role of the Holy Spirit during the Church age, who is searching for the bride of Christ. The Church-age believer’s life is centered on the leading, guiding, and teaching of the Holy Spirit, who empowers believers to walk uprightly as sons. 

Meanings of Adoption

In the Roman Empire, by adoption, an entire stranger in blood became a family member in a higher sense than some of the family kin, emancipated sons, or descendants through females. Such a one assumed the family name, engaged in its sacrificial rites, and became, not by sufferance or at will, but to all intents and purposes, a member of the house of his adoption. Thus, the tie could only be broken through the ceremony of emancipation, which formed a complete barrier to intermarriage as a relationship by blood. 

In Athens, adoption took place either in the lifetime of the adopter or by will. If a man died childless and intestate, the state interfered to bring into his house the man next entitled by the Attic law of inheritance as heir and adopted son. If there were daughters, one of them was usually betrothed to the adopted son. If a male heir was born after that, he and the adopted son had equal rights. 

In Genesis 48:6, Jacob adopted his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh. He counted them as his sons, thus enabling him to bestow a double portion (a double inheritance) upon his favorite son, Joseph, through them.

Adoption, while not the same as our justification, is necessarily connected with it, as forgiveness would be empty without restoration to the privileges forfeited by sin. Adoption and regeneration are two phases of the same fact: regeneration means the reproduction of sonship, and adoption means the restoration of the son’s privileges and rights.         New Unger’s Bible Dictionary

Spirit of Sonship 

For all who are being led [ago – to lead out or bring forth] by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.            Romans 8:14-17 

The Holy Spirit is an integral part of the believer’s sonship. The Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9) brings him forth into the deepest place within his relationship with God and produces an intimacy with Abba Father – Daddy. The human spirit also receives assurance from the Spirit that he is a child and an important part of the family as evidenced by his inheritance. The believer learns that in being taught by the Holy Spirit, he does not need to rely on human wisdom to understand the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit allows him to think independently of others, thus evaluating every thought and message according to the Spirit's personal application. It is learning how to think with God and not what to think about God. As a son, the believer is dependent only on God Himself.

 

 

 

 

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