But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 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.
Can we know God intimately, personally? How is this possible? How can we have a personal relationship with God? According to Galatians 4:1-7, the answers to these questions have everything to do with Christmas.
Galatians 4 begins with bad news. Apart from Christ, we are “slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world” (4:3). We are in bondage to the cultural and spiritual powers that surround us, including cynicism, narcissism, materialism, and fear, just to name a few. The good news is that God did not leave us in such a sorry state: “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 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” (4:4-5). The core event of Christmas, the birth of God’s Son, was God’s way of redeeming us from the powers of this world, including the Old Testament law. Yet, not only are we set free by the work of God’s Son, but also we are adopted as God’s own children. (Photo: “Christ Blessing the Children” by Nicolaes Maes, 1652-3)
God’s gift of his unique Son means that you and I can be children of God. Because of Jesus, we can be adopted into God’s own family. Moreover, when we put our trust in Jesus as our Savior, the Spirit of God comes to dwell in our hearts, “prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father’ ” (4:6). We learn to call God “Father” even as Jesus did. That’s how special we are to God!
Living Christmasly means celebrating the birth of God’s Son. This celebration includes the extraordinary truth that we can be adopted as God’s sons and daughters through the Son. Thus we can know God intimately as our Heavenly Father.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does it mean to you to relate to God as your Father? How have you experienced freedom from the powers of this world as a child of God?
PRAYER: Merciful Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to set us free from the powers of this world. Help us to live in that freedom each day, so that we might offer ourselves to you in whole-life worship.
Thank you also, Father, for sending your Son so that you might adopt us as your sons and daughters. It is an extraordinary privilege to be able to address you as “Abba, Father.”
Help me to grow in genuine intimacy with you, Father, so that I might know you more truly and live for you more completely.
All praise be to you, O God, Father, Son, and Spirit! Amen.
Today’s post is one of the Daily Reflections that I write for The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.