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Slaves and Sons

by Danny Mihailovic last modified Feb 23, 2014 12:54 AM
A slave and a son! These are two “worlds” that could never meet on equal terms.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Gal 4:6–7)

I say “worlds” because sons and slaves live in different “worlds.” A son of a household would never suffer the same indignation and servitude as a slave. Also, a slave has no inheritance; nothing to gain either in life or death. A son however, at least has an inheritance, and the love of a parent. There is a future for the son, but not for the slave. Two different worlds with two totally different potential outcomes, became the theme for Paul’s letter to the Galatians. As sons, the believers had a great outcome in store for them. But how did they become sons? What is this ‘familial” language all about? Surely it has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit. (v6).

The Law could only guard us until the time of redemption. But now under Christ, the Spirit of Christ, makes us ‘sons’ by virtue of the indwelling life of the SON of GOD. No longer do we cry out to God, as “God” but as “FATHER.” Abba Father, is a repetition — Father, Father. We get the name Abraham from the word Abba — Ab = father; “raham” of all peoples — Abraham. We actually become sons of Abraham through redemption. i.e. we have an inheritance under that covenant of grace with Abraham. That inheritance is eternal life, security and a name:“sons of God.”

My father, “Mick” Mihailovic, was an orphan in the days when Europe had just ended one war and was gearing up for yet another great conflict under Hitler. He often described to me the kind of “world” he lived in as an orphan. Billeted from one relative to another, he was always blamed for the troubles that occurred within those families. He slept in the trees of the orchards at night, to escape the floggings meted out by his uncles for things he never did. He ate mostly leftovers from the meals that the children didn’t finish but worse than that, when he was a young man of 24 years of age and having escaped the terrible conditions of orphaned life, he found another world. He was now a slave in the prison camps of Nazi Germany. Being an orphan and a prisoner led him to understand the value of actually belonging to someone; in belonging to a family, because as he worked on some of the farms as a prisoner, he would see the close relationships of families and the security they shared in that family setting. How different it was for those children — protected, loved and established compared to his situation, which at best was vulnerable and open to all kinds of abuse from those who ruled over him.

So what has God done to change our status from slave/orphans to sons? He has redeemed us from the orphanage of slavery and death. Making us heirs of God through His Son, He has given us a living hope; security in eternity; forgiveness of sins; a place we call home. He is a father not a despot. It’s a wonderful privilege to be able to join the Son at His banqueting table and be one of God’s family. You cannot confuse the two worlds, slaves and sons. The Apostle Paul will take us further into these worlds in the next section.