Before faith came, we were guarded under the Law, locked up until faith that was coming would be revealed, so that the Law became our custodian until Christ so that we might be made righteous by faith.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian.
You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 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. Now if you belong to Christ, then indeed you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.
Advent is a time of looking forward while remembering the past. We remember the past by celebrating the timeless events of the night Jesus was born. We thrill to hear the familiar stories of the crowded inn, the guiding star, the shepherds guarding their flocks, and the angelic hosts who filled the night's sky proclaiming God's glory to these humble caretakers! We love to picture in our minds the tiny new holy family surrounded with the warmth of a humble stable. We love to sing familiar Christmas carols. We anticipate the arrival of December 25th, Christmas Day, by preparing our homes festive decorations, presents to give to our loved ones, and mountains of delicious food! We prepare our hearts by soaking in the majesty and glory that surrounds the birth of the long-awaited Messiah, our Lord Jesus!
We often forget that this blessed event, which was so anticipated, was also so misunderstood. The Messiah turned out to be nothing like what people expected. Where was his crown? Where was his throne? Where was his kingdom? And his message? What was he saying? What was he doing? Jesus turned the world upside down with his message!
Everything Jesus said or did was challenged by wise scholars, priests, and religious experts. People, especially those in high positions, were very uncomfortable with the message. Without a doubt, Jesus was different. He challenged the old ways, the old traditions, and the old laws.
Jesus' disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, were sent to spread the good news of the gospel throughout the world. They needed to interpret Jesus' actions and words in light of the laws and traditions that God had provided in the past. People were extremely confused by the complexity of the issues. They were weighed down with the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law.
The Apostle Paul provided clear explanations about God's laws and his promises in his letter to the Galatians. He reminded the Galatians that God's laws were protecting them until the "way of faith was revealed." (Galatians 3:23) Therefore, mankind could not (and still cannot) be saved solely through human efforts or by obeying certain laws. Paul continued to explain that God's inheritance extends to all children of God - those who belong to Christ by their faith.
We, through faith in Jesus Christ, are God's heirs, God's children.
Our faith makes us all children of God!
Our Dear Heavenly Father, Your name is one of glory! Thank you for sending Jesus to save all who believe the good news of the gospel. Let us welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives. Keep us focused on Christ's saving grace. Let us walk in faith with Jesus as our Savior. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
By: Rev. Linda Porter