4 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
There is so much in this passage! It is full of rich images and could easily become an essay rather than a devotion. So, I have chosen to concentrate on one aspect – our adoption into God’s family.
In ancient times, adoption was not for children, but for adult males. When sons were adopted, they left all obligations from their birth family behind, and received privileges and inheritance from their new family. There are several implications of this:
- The new family knew who they were getting. Unlike adopting a baby whose character is not yet obvious, families were adopting sons whose flaws and foibles they knew. God adopts us despite all our sin and unfaithfulness.
- Sons were often adopted to free them from the obligations of debt in their birth families. We are under debt to sin. The passage says we were slaves to sin. But God sent Jesus so that all our debt could be erased, and we could be completely debt-free.
- Once adopted, the sons were complete members of their new families – just as if they were born into them. They were able to receive inheritance from their fathers. God has adopted us to be full members of his family. We receive the privilege of walking with God for the rest of our lives on earth, the inheritance of the Holy Spirit in us, and eternal life with God.
Father, I can never thank you enough for adopting me into your family. I can never thank you enough for accepting me despite my sin and my doubts and all the times I’ve gone my own way. Jesus, I can never thank you enough for purchasing my freedom by dying for me. Help me to always live for you. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell