Galatians 3:23, 4:4-7 - Now before faith came, we were held captive under the Law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. ... I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
When you were little, did you ever imagine what it would be like to be finally, truly, grown up? You would have no curfew and no bedtime. You would be able to eat candy for breakfast if you wanted; you wouldn't have to visit a dentist against your will. Nobody could tell you, "Do your homework before you play!" If you wanted to stay up all night watching movies, you could—and no one could tell you that you weren't old enough to watch some of them.
Of course, now that you are an adult, you know the awful truth. You impose your own bedtime because you know that if you don't, you'll be a wreck in the morning; the all-night movie marathon doesn't happen when you've got work the next day. You skip the candy breakfast and visit the dentist, not because Mom says so, but because you know the pain of a root canal (and even more, the bill that comes with it!). You eat that broccoli willingly, if not always happily. The desire to stay healthy drives you.
But it isn't all bad, being an adult. Some of what you dreamed of is just as good as you hoped. You can probably drive; you are free to choose your own clothes, your own hairstyle, your own vacation destinations. You have obligations to meet—things you do for your spouse, your children, your friends, your work—but these tend to be obligations you took on willingly, and you can see the fruit of your labor. More and more, you are self-driven. What is inside you drives you to do good—not the external forces of parents, teachers, and babysitters.
And this, Paul says, is what it's like to be Christian believers. Once upon a time we were under the Law, governed from outside by the Commandments. We did good because we were afraid of what would happen if we did not. We were under duress, like slaves or young children. But now we do good for a different reason—because Christ Himself is living in us, living out His life through our daily choices and actions. We are self-driven—or rather, Christ-driven. We do freely all the good things that we once had to be compelled to do.
We know that because Jesus suffered and died for us, we are set free from the weight of our sin and guilt. Because He rose from the dead, we are set free from the fear of death and everlasting punishment. Now we live in the glorious freedom of the children of God. To put it bluntly, we don't do good because "we have to," but because God's Holy Spirit in us makes it happen—shaping us more and more into the image of Jesus our Savior and older Brother. A family resemblance is starting to show between Him and us. And with that comes love—love, and thankfulness, to the One who loved us so much that He gave Himself for us, that we might become His own.
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for setting me free from the Law and giving me the freedom that comes from being in Your Son Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you long for the days of your youth when life may have been simpler, less demanding?
2. How does Christ's life, death, and resurrection satisfy the demands of God's Law for us?
3. How can being mature in Christ differ from person to person? Does it have anything to do with age?
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