From “Christ is Everything to His Followers.” Parts expanded from a sermon by Dr. Buck Oliphant. Parts also used at Belhaven University, evangelism, pastoral counseling, and prison ministry.
Galatians 4:4-7 NLT— 4 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.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.
Adoption in Christ is a greater mercy than Adam had in paradise….God has made Jesus’ followers His children, by adoption, nearer to Himself than the angels. The angels are the friends of Christ; believers are His family members….Since God has a Son of His own, and such a perfect Son, how wonderful God’s love in adopting us! We needed a Heavenly Father, but He did not need adopted sons and daughters. (Thomas Watson)
This posting is Part 2 of 2. If you missed it, you can go back and read Adopted into God’s Family (Our Privileges).
Historian Will Durant (1885-1981) said: Never mind your happiness; do your duty. That’s very different from today’s self-centered world. But Christ has wonderfully arranged it that our privileges in Him and our responsibilities to Him are inter-woven. God adopted us freely because of Jesus’ doing, dying, and rising, then arranged it so that we find our happiness as we trust and obey Him.
Here Is a Partial Listing of Our Responsibilities as God’s Children:
1. In Christ, we must walk in the light. Eph 5:8-10 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Comment: We can only walk as “little lights” in the world after God the Father adopts us into His family through faith in Jesus and puts His Holy Spirit of light in us. Christ is the Light of the world who enables us to reflect His light into the dark areas of human conduct (Matt 5:14).
2. In Christ, we must avoid evil. 2 Cor 6:17,18 Come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty. Comment: Christians should impact the world without becoming contaminated by it. When a sin is fashionable, Christians should be out of fashion (John Blanchard). “Come out” is a common warning of the Old Testament prophets and Revelation. See Isaiah 52:11; Jer 51:45; Rev 18:4.
3. In Christ, we must purify our selves, by God’s grace. 1 John 3:1-3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. Prayer: Lord, make and keep our hearts, minds, and lives pure for you. Keep our eyes, ears, hands, and feet Christ-like for you. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (William Tiptaft, adapted).
4. In Christ, we must live obediently and holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16 Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Matt 12:50 Anyone who does the will of my Heavenly Father is my brother and sister and mother! Comment: In the mysterious chemistry of God’s mercy, our obedience is made a blessing to us. Joy is the natural outcome of our obedience to God’s revealed will (John Blanchard).
5. In Christ, we must be dying to sin and living for righteousness. 1 Peter 2:24-25 Christ Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Comment: Peter quotes Isaiah, reminding us of the greatest gift Christ has given us. On the Cross, Jesus paid the sin debt of every one of His followers. He removed the penalty of our transgressions so that we might live gratefully in newness of life for Him and with Him. Let us not forget this amazing privilege.
6. In Christ, we must live in peace. Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Comment: The peace-makers are those who are at peace with God and who show that they are truly God’s children by striving to bring reconciliation between people who are estranged (R. V. G. Tasker). Peacemakers are the opposite of troublemakers.
7. In Christ, we must practice Christ-like sacrificial love. 1 John 3:16-19 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence. David Livingstone: I never made a sacrifice. We ought not talk of sacrifice when we remember Jesus’ great sacrifice when He left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.
8. In Christ, we must be watchful. 1 Thes 5:4-6 You, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day (of Jesus’ return) should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. Luke 12:37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when He comes. Comment: Jesus contrasts alert Christians to sleepy pagans who seek only the things of this present world; Christ teaches us to be ready for His sudden return.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us never to stop being amazed at your love for us! You have Jesus as your perfect Son, but you still adopted us! We needed you as our Father; you didn’t need us, but you saved and adopted us anyway. What a wonderful Father you are! You transferred us from the sinful family of humanity into God’s holy family. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love other people as you first loved us. Help us to to turn our corner of the world right side up for you and with you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Go in peace, beloved. Walk with King Jesus today and be a blessing to others!