ADVERTISING
 
Monday, September 16   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
Society
Should Christians join social protests?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Peter Mead
 

Deep Questions

The fact of Jesus’ death for us is an objective truth that should grip us and reassure us. Was I wanted? Most definitely, yes. The cross has proven that!

BIBLICAL PREACHING AUTHOR Peter Mead 06 JANUARY 2017 15:10 h GMT+1
write, Photo: Jan Kahanek (Unsplash, CC)

Our family is soon to enter into birthday season as we celebrate four of our children’s birthdays in four weeks. Lots of presents, lots of cake, and lots of opportunity to show our children they are loved.  One family tradition we have developed is to always tell the birth story on someone’s birthday.



They never tire of hearing the story of the long labour and sudden arrival, or the perfectly timed birth, or the emergency home birth after the midwife said we were not in labour, etc. Why is this tradition so appreciated by our children? I think it is because it speaks to two unspoken but deep questions within each child. Was I wanted? Do I belong?



Whether a child entered their family by birth or by adoption, these deep questions truly matter. They are also important for all of us as Christians. How did I come to be in the family of God? Was I wanted? Do I belong?



In Galatians 4:4-7 we find two emphatic answers to these questions. Paul was writing to new believers who were being drawn away from the true gospel to a non-gospel that put the focus back onto their own performance. First, Paul answers whether God wanted us or not?  Was it an accident that we came to be in God’s family? Absolutely not.



At just the right time, when humanity was fully exhausted in its efforts to self-save, God sent forth his Son into the world to redeem us and to give us the full rights of sonship!  We see that Jesus was born of woman, just as God had predicted back in Genesis 3:15.  We see that Jesus was born under the law – that is, he came to where we were.  Jesus was, of course, a Jew and so was under Jewish Law, but all humanity is under the law described in verse 3 – the elementary principles of this world. We all live under a system where performance determines success. It is the way of the fallen world. Jesus came all the way to us.



Jesus came to us on a mission to pay a price. He came to redeem us and buy for us the privilege of adoption as Sons of God.  There could be no higher privilege, and there could have been no higher price. As Christians we must never think we have moved on beyond the glorious love revealed and proven on the cross at Calvary. The fact of Jesus’ death for us is an objective truth that should grip us and reassure us. Was I wanted? Most definitely, yes. The cross has proven that!



But this objective assurance is not the whole story. Sadly, many Christians have allowed the Christian gospel to be reduced to just this objective reality. God sent his son into the world to redeem us and to change our status, but God knows we need something more.



Think of the prodigal son for a moment. He returned home knowing that his father was a better employer than the man he had been working for.  His plan was to get employed and work his way out of the situation. But then his father rocked his world by showing amazing grace to him. The father ran, embraced him and dressed him in the status of a son – the special robe, the sandals, the signet ring.  Oh how that son must have been amazed as he sat at the feast wearing the proof of his undeserved status!



But there was something else. I can’t help but think he must have touched the side of his face and neck too. “My father kissed me…”  The prodigal knew the status he had been given, but he also experienced the assurance that he belonged. God knows we need that too. God knows your tendency and mine to drift from that place at the table and revert to our old plan A – to work and perform so that we can earn what is already freely ours. God knows that our flesh would prefer to have God as an employer than a Father, and that we will often trust the status change while drifting from the fullness of sonship.



So back to Galatians. God sent his Son into the world to redeem us and to change our status. And because we are sons, God also sent his Spirit, not into the world, but into our hearts, to change our experience.  How easily we diminish the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. Jonathan Edwards saw that tendency and wrote in A Treatise on Grace of the Trinitarian nature of salvation.  He wrote of how in a transaction the price paid must equal the value of the good purchased. Here is the logic:



Since God the Father paid the ultimate price (His Son), and the Son paid the ultimate price (His life), then what is purchased must be of ultimate and equal value. Yes our salvation is infinitely valuable, but salvation is Trinitarian, so where does the Spirit come in? Too easily we fall into thinking that the Spirit is the mail man delivering the wonderful gift. A postman? A courier? Surely not! Galatians 3:14 tells us that Christ died so that we could receive the promised Holy Spirit. Really it is only the Spirit that is equal in value to the price paid at Calvary.  And that is the blessing of Galatians 4:6-7.



God sent the Spirit into our hearts so that from deep within we could know the cry of the Son – “Abba! Father!”



As I write this I am sat on a plane returning from some special days with ELF folks in Hungary. When I get home my almost five year old will experience something that reassures her that she belongs in our family. Her status is certain right now, but in a few hours I will hold her and kiss her and squeeze her tightly in an Abba embrace. This is not a continual experience, but it does happen and it does her good (me too!)



Likewise as Christians God wants us to know not only that we were wanted – the cross has proven that objectively. God also wants us to know that we belong – the present tense change of experience that is ours because the Spirit of God witnesses within our hearts that we now have the Son’s relationship with the Father.



As we enter into another year let’s stop and reflect on Galatians 4:4-7. Let us return to the foot of the cross and worship God for His love demonstrated so powerfully there. And let us be sure to thank God for the Spirit too, that His love is spoken into our hearts. We need both the reality of the cross and the experience of closeness to God.  Let’s be sure that we don’t reduce our adoption into a mere status change and then start to pressure ourselves to earn God’s favour this year.  How easily we revert to the prodigal plan, but instead may this year be a year where all our ministry flows out of our ongoing close relationship to God, our Abba.



You were wanted. You do belong. May life and ministry flow as we rest in the wonderful answers to these deepest of questions!



Peter Mead is mentor at Cor Deo and author of several books. This article first appeared at his blog Biblical Preaching.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Deep Questions
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process Arie de Pater: Refugees deserve a fair and efficient process

The Brussels representative of the European Evangelical Alliance offers a Christian perspective on the crisis: “We can’t reduce people to just a number that needs to be controlled”.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’ IFES World Assembly: ‘Messengers of Hope’

Students, graduates and staff of the global evangelical student movement reflected together on how the books of Luke and Acts apply to today's universities.

 
Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission Christians at work - the missing link in fulfilling the Great Commission

Photos of the Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum, celebrated in Manila.

 
European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference European Freedom Network Bridge 2019 conference

Images of the fifth EFN gathering. Experts, activists, counsellors and church leaders met in Pescara, Italy.

 
VIDEO Video
 
A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees A tent of hope for Venezuelan refugees

Thousands still cross the border to Colombia every week, and many continue on foot into the interior. Christian young people have set up an aid station along the road.

 
What are some biblical models of social and political reformers? What are some biblical models of social and political reformers?

“As Christians today, we live in a Babylon of our own, but we can be morally distinctive and obedient to Christ”, Peter Saunders, CEO Christian Medical Fellowship, says.

 
How has Christianity influenced the modern world? How has Christianity influenced the modern world?

Paul Copan, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics of Palm Beach Atlantic University, explains how many key features of Western civilization, are the legacy of the biblical faith being lived out by believers in society.

 
Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one' Chinese Homecoming Gathering: Thousands say 'we’re one'

Christians from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and North America, from different ethnic backgronds, came together to pray for unity as the body of Christ.

 
GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration” GWF in Manila: “Kingdom building requires global collaboration”

850 from 108 countries met for the Global Workplace Forum, June 25-29. The gathering was organised by the Lausanne Movement. “Every workplace is a place of ministry”.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.