4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our[a] hearts, crying, “Abba![b] Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.[c]
Several months ago now, my sister and her husband became foster parents through Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Their new foster son is a sophomore in high school. He has been fully received into our family as one of us. At Christmas, he received presents from everyone just like he had always belonged. Our kids are already calling him their cousin. And, we’ve even been to watch one of his wrestling matches. In just a few short months, he has fully become part of the family. In today’s reading from Galatians, Paul reminds us that we too have now been made part of the family—God’s family. Our belonging to the family has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Christ, through whom we have been adopted, through whom we have been redeemed, through whom we have been made a part. As Paul profoundly states, it’s not even ourselves who are able to call God “Father!” Rather, it the Spirit at work in us, crying, “Abba! Father!” Apart from the Spirit’s work in us, we cannot believe. Apart from Christ’s saving death for us, we cannot belong. Apart from the Father’s love for us, we have no place. We are part of the family not because of who we are, but because of who God is. Like my new nephew being welcomed into our family, God, in Christ, has welcomed us. All that is Christ’s is now also ours. We are heirs, no longer slaves. We are now fully and wholly free. We belong because the Triune God has adopted us and welcomed us in. Whoever you are and wherever you come from, welcome to the family!
Holy God, thank you for making room for us in you. Thank you for calling us your children. Thank you for a place to belong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.