Today's Lectionary Text
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
When my brother and I were young, we had (and still have) many friends. There was always some kid in our house that was not born into our family. My parents would treat anyone new with the kindness and courtesy that a guest in a home was due. However, if you’d been to our house more than twice, you were treated like one of the kids…you got your own cup, cleaned up your own mess, and if it was full, you took the trash out! My parents loved our friends like they were their own kids, not like we were the kids and they were something else, something separate, or something less. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, the reassurance he offers in this selection of scripture is that God does not see the Jews as his children and the Gentiles as something else, something separate, or something less.
This all sounds simplistic to today’s Christians, but in the beginning of the church, this would not be an easy or natural thing. Try to empathize with how difficult it would have been for “God’s chosen people” to accept the Gentiles into the family, or conversely, how strange it would have felt for the Gentiles to join that family. Russell Moore, author of the book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches, writes in an article called What Adoption Has Taught Me:
Sometimes we, as a church, don’t recognize how alien a new family seems. People in our midst come to know Christ; they learn to cry out “Abba,” but there’s still a long, hard adjustment to make. Sometimes they’ve wondered if they’re welcome because they didn’t know how to find Haggai in their Bibles, or because they didn’t have any Vacation Bible School memories. If the church is the household of God, we don’t see these struggling, anxious new believers as our guests or our ministry projects. They’re our brothers and sisters. It’s no burden to walk alongside them, steadying the cross on their backs. It’s just what you do, when you’re family.
Jesus loves us so much that He went to the cross and paid in full to wash away all that which separates us from the Father. We are now led by the Spirit of God, and are therefore the children of the Father, and brothers and sisters to Christ our savior. One of our duties as members of the family is to grow the family. That really is what the Great Commission of making disciples is; go and find more kids for God to adopt!
Coffeyville Trinity UMC
Prayer for Reflection
We thank You for Your son, and what He did on the cross to provide us a path to adoption into the Holy Family. Lead us through the Holy Spirit to live for You, bringing more children to You and introducing them to their brother and savior, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. AMEN
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