Christian community: a family with one loving “dad”

Posted Sep 27, 2021

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Daily Scripture

Galatians 3:26-4:7

26 You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.

4:1 I’m saying that as long as the heirs are minors, they are no different from slaves, though they really are the owners of everything. 2 However, they are placed under trustees and guardians until the date set by the parents. 3 In the same way, when we were minors, we were also enslaved by this world’s system. 4 But when the fulfillment of the time came, God sent his Son, born through a woman, and born under the Law. 5 This was so he could redeem those under the Law so that we could be adopted. 6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and if you are his child, then you are also an heir through God.

Reflection Questions

Resurrection’s purpose is “To build a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.” Because our purpose is rooted in Jesus’ and his followers’ example, our location pastors spoke yesterday about building community. Jesus' followers stood out: “Only a minority of groups even claimed to surmount ethnic and class divides…. Early Christians… proved distinctive in challenging class (slave vs. free) and often gender prejudice.”*

  • Christians who call each other “brother” or “sister” may sound quaint. But today’s reading said we’re all members of God’s spiritual family (and therefore each other’s). Do you ever struggle to accept believers in Jesus who are ethnically, culturally or denominationally different from you? How about neighbors, fellow students or co-workers from a different ethnic, cultural or national background than yours? What helps you to view all people as beloved children of God?
  • Paul used a word for God so unexpected that most English Bibles just use its Aramaic form: abba. It was “a respectful but intimate way to address one’s father…. [It] seems to have been unique to Jesus (until adopted by his followers; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).”** The word’s sense was closer to “Dad” than “Father.” Do you see God more as a grim, distant force in your life? How can you become more “at home” with your brothers and sisters and your heavenly abba?

Prayer

God, you are my Creator and Lord, worthy of awe and respect. And you are my abba, loving, caring, and worthy of my full trust. Teach me how to always feel secure that you are “for” me. Amen.


* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 266575-266578). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

** HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 227320-227323). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen

Donna Karlen serves with the Communications Ministry working on special projects.

Let’s think about what it means to be God’s children...

There isn’t a score card for this! Extra points aren’t awarded for taking a Bible class or serving at a homeless shelter. Someone who has traveled on ten mission trips doesn’t deserve more of God’s grace than a person who has never embarked on one. Working for a non-profit helping sick people doesn't mean jumping ahead of or lagging behind someone in the C-suite of a Fortune 500 company. Nor does anyone fall out of favor in God's family because they don't preach from a pulpit or save lives on a daily basis.

As God’s sons and daughters, we are equal in God’s eyes. Our skills, talents, abilities, education, success (or the lack of any of these) — not even our giving or serving or how enthusiastically we worship — none of that matters to the one we cry out to, “Abba, Father!” When it comes to being adopted into God’s Kingdom, we are all heirs through God’s promise in Christ Jesus.

All that being said, as today’s scripture points out, God “sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” With this Spirit filling us and guiding our walk, we can’t help but strive to be more like Jesus. And Jesus sought out the marginalized, the sick, the lonely, the imprisoned, the suffering... to help them find acceptance, healing, connection, freedom. But we don’t earn God’s grace through these actions because it already is ours through faith in Jesus.

That’s it, God’s sons and daughters. You and I are baptized into Christ.

Accept it.

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