Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
In today’s passage, Paul is continuing to drive home his point about growing up. Being under religion is immature; walking in the New Covenant of grace should bring about maturity. He says in verse three that being in bondage to the law was the place for children, which Israel was until Jesus came, “born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.”
The religious leaders under the Old Covenant claimed special status as descendants of Abraham. Paul makes an incredible point about that in verse five. He says that in redeeming those who were under the law, He made it possible for those under the law to “receive the adoption as sons.” If they were already descendants of Abraham through Isaac, then that should make them sons of promise. But Paul says that they must receive adoption as sons. Everyone, Jew and Gentile, must receive adoption through faith in Jesus. Heritage and religion have nothing to do with it.
Notice that adopted sons receive the Spirit of His Son. This isn’t simply a paper transaction. Adoption into God’s family means that we are given the Spirit of Jesus with a heart to relate to God as Father. Jesus was the first to teach about God as Father and not just a deity who gave laws. There is a tremendous need for the world to understand God as Father, and religion just can’t provide that perspective because religion demands performance.
It isn’t possible to rest the way God calls us to rest if we are religious. It isn’t possible to experience real redemption through Christ if we are religious. It isn’t possible to live in freedom from the bondage of sin if we are religious. Freedom only comes through the realization that we truly are God’s children, and that realization only comes when we receive the Spirit of His Son. Brave grace today by receiving the Spirit of Adoption. Then rest with your Father. He so loves you as His child.