In the top-rated 90’s sitcom, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will is sent by his mom to live with the Banks family, including his wealthy Aunt Vivian, Uncle Phil, and cousins Hillary, Carlton, and Ashley in their Bel-Air mansion. It’s a rags to riches story all about what it’s like for someone who came from nothing to be a part of a new family where he has everything he could ever want. That’s appealing to all of us. We can imagine what that might be like.
In Galatians 3:26, we discover that we experience an even better reality when we belong to God’s forever family:
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
During the time this letter was written, they lived in a world divided by us and them. There were the haves and the have-nots, the good and the bad, and the ins and the outs! But, Paul says, “No more! You are all equal. That might have been how it was, but now, because of Jesus, all of those old differences are destroyed.” Everyone has intrinsic value, dignity, and worth, because we are all created in the image of God. As followers of Jesus, we must treat people as equals.
According to a study from the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, children were given identical foods in packaging from McDonald’s and generic packaging. The unmarked foods lost the taste test every time. Advertising and branding literally brainwashes kids into liking one brand of food instead of another, even though they’re the same thing. Children literally judge food by its cover. So do we! Branding works on adults too. We prefer certain things over others. It’s not surprising that we do the same thing when it comes to people! We think certain people are better than others because of their fashion. Whatever you are wearing today, you will look back on in the next decade and laugh! We have the right credentials, and believe all the right things, so we think we are better than someone else. God says, “No! We are ALL ONE because of Jesus!”
The ground is level at the foot of the cross.
When you are baptized, it’s like putting on new clothes. You get a new fashion that never goes out of style.
29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
4 Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. 2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.
When Princess Diana died in 1997, she left an inheritance of $20.4 million for her two sons, William and Harry who were still children at the time. But William and Harry were only able to inherit this money after their 30th birthdays. When they turned 30, they received their full inheritance. The money was theirs. It was promised to them. It was in their names, and it was set-aside for them, but they had to wait until the right time to claim it.
As a follower of Jesus, we have an incredible inheritance set aside in your name for you to claim. At the right time, you will receive your full inheritance.
3 Benefits of Adoption
Freedom from Performance.
3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world. Galatians 4:3
The principles of religion say you’ve got to work to be good, to prove yourself, and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Then, if at the end of your life, your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, God may accept you. Religion is all about what you do to work your way to be accepted by God. Before Jesus came into the world, that’s the way it was for all of us! But Christianity is not about religion. It’s about relationship.
God loves you and accepts you as his own son or daughter. You don’t have to earn His love. You don’t have to live with guilt when you blow it. You don’t have to fear being punished. You get to live forgiven!
Connection with God
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:4-6)
The very first word a Hebrew child learned is “ABBA.” It’s like when we say, “Daddy,” or even “Dada.” It’s a title of simple trust in God.
You can’t overestimate the importance of having a loving dad in your life who protects, provides, directs, fortifies, appropriately disciplines, and models what a life of integrity should look like.
Not everyone has a father like that. Not having a father is hard. But if that’s you, you can know today, that you do have a Dad.
Whether or not you have a great dad, or not so great, remember:
God is not the Reflection of your earthly father, God is the Perfection of your earthly father.
You get to know your Heavenly Father better by spending time with Him, reading the Bible, talking with Him through prayer, and hearing Him through the still small voice of the Spirit He has placed in your life.
All the rights and privileges of a son or daughter of God!
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. Galatians 4:7
You don’t have to wonder anymore if you are worthy or loved accepted! God has made you an heir of His kingdom!
Marty Johnson lived in Minnesota. As a father of two kids, he was struggling to make ends meet. All he knew about where he came from was that his birth parents were young college students who had a brief affair. Neither parent was prepared to deal with raising a child, so Marty was sent to an orphanage. Years later as an adult, he started digging through past records and was able to get in contact with his birth-mother.
One day, a letter arrived that said, “Welcome to the Ogike dynasty! You come from a noble and prestigious family. Because of our father’s position, you’re a prince.” The letter went on to explain that Marty was the next in line to inherit the position of village chief from his biological father, John Ogike, the current chief of Aboh village in Nigeria.
When Marty touched down in Nigeria to meet his new family, villagers craned their necks to catch a glimpse him. Children in the village crowed in the streets, they shouted “Obiala!” which means, “He has come!” Upon his arrival, Marty’s feet were ceremoniously washed and he was sprayed with champagne by the reigning elder. For the first time, Marty was united with brothers and sisters, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and of course, his father.
It was a life-changing trip. He and his father both wept upon seeing each other- and since his emotional visit, Marty’s been dreaming even bigger. He wants to build a new life in Nigeria- where his father re-christened him Chinenye, or “God gives.”
Even though Marty grew up 6000 miles from his father, he was still his father’s son. As soon as he was reunited with his father, he was given all the rights and privileges that were due to him. In the same way, when we surrender our lives to Christ, we are given all the rights and privileges that are due to us as well: salvation, forgiveness, love and the right to spend eternity in Heaven in His presence. Imagine the day you will go home to heaven and be united with your Forever Family!