The Spirit of Sonship

redeemedThe apostle Paul in the letter to the Galatians bangs the same drum. He bangs it over and over again. And it’s a worthy drum to do so. The drum is the Gospel. The drum is the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Galatians are being wooed by other lovers and they are being tempted to move away from Christ, they are being tempted that rules and law are appealing. It’s not that they are just not hitting the right points on the theology counter – Its more than  just misunderstanding what the Gospel means. In fact its far worse, Paul says that:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel”
(Galatians 1:6 ESV)

They have misunderstood who the Father is. The Galatians are deserting the Father by not trusting in His son. They are moving away from their first love, they believe that the blood of Christ isn’t enough for them and that they need to add to what Christ has done. They don’t understand how much the Father loves them and they have forgotten their true identity.

In Galatians 4 Paul gives a wonderful illustrations to woo them back to Christ. The illustration is that of the Trinity. He reminds them that their identity is wrapped up in who God is and God is a Tri-Unity, a loving relationship of 3 persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He shows how the Father sends his Son, who dies and redeems and wins us back. Through Jesus we are adopted and the Father sends his Spirit into our hearts and he cries “Abba Father” on our behalf. So that the Father looks at us he sees his son and when the father turns his ear to us he hears his son crying out to him. Adopted. We are his sons, we are heirs to the promise.

No wonder Paul calls it foolish to think that we can add anything to this. To think that our efforts and rules could add to this adoption is rather missing the point. Paul links this up and reminds them that if they were to move away from this good news and try to add to it then they are just going to enslave themselves. They are going to go back to slavery – they are going to act like a child of the slave woman Hagar instead of acting like who they truly are which is a child of the free woman Sarah.

We often feel like we know this. We hear it so often that it becomes old news rather than good news. But lets remind our hearts again.

To be adopted by the Father through his Son Jesus is the most wonderful, astounding and beautiful news we can ever have. To think that we would enslave ourselves to rules and laws or to think that we can protect our hearts from sin by rules and laws would be utter foolishness. Instead Paul draws us out from that way of thinking and he draws our gaze back to Christ.

Come and look at Him. Come and gaze on his beauty. You can do this because you are free, because you are adopted and no longer a slave to rules or sin. Christ has set you free. So then call upon your Father in Heaven, call upon him for all your needs. Don’t look within you nor build up a protection of rules around you because when you break those rules you will feel guilty and the lies will seep in that will say “The Father is disappointed in you” or “The Father doesn’t love you”… lies lies lies.

If you feel like that, if you feel like a failure, if you feel like your sinning again and again, if you feel weak and you feel burdened under the weight of rules and expectations than I say to you: Come to the Father. Come to Him and find your comfort. Come and gaze at His Son, come and find refuge in Him. You have the Spirit of Sonship dwelling in you and you are free… so come and enjoy your heavenly Father who loves you very much. To end, Spurgeon says:

Go home, my Brothers and Sisters, and live in the spirit of sonship! Wake up in the morning and let your first thought be, “My Father, my Father, be with me this day.” Go out into business (lectures) and when things perplex you (things are hard), let this be your resort—“My Father, help me in this hour of need.” When you go to your home and meet with domestic anxieties, let your cry be, “Help me, my Father.”

When alone, you are not alone because the Father is with you! And in the midst of the crowd you are not in danger, because the Father, Himself, loves you! What a blessed word is that—“The Father Himself loves you”! Go and live as His children!”

The Joy of the Lord

“It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Saviour and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing: His joy in us knows no change.”Hudson Taylor

Have you ever tried to concentrate so hard to have joy in the Lord that you thought you would explode? Maybe you gave up. Days where you feel like you cant put any more effort into trying to muster up feelings of joy. Remember that verse – The joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8). And you think – HOW DOES THAT WORK!? How do I get that joy?? How do I get that strength? I dont feel joy and I dont feel strength.

Maybe we are working this from the wrong place. We always think this is talking about us but what if it wasn’t about your joy in Him? Or the effort you put into doing things for him?

What if its about the Father’s joy in us through Christ? What if it’s about what Christ has done and not what you are doing or have done? I dont know about you, but its a relief to know that its all about Jesus and not me and the Father gets Joy from his son and from all all those that are in His son. I think Hudson Taylor is right – Our joy in Him is fluctuating and unsteady, but his joy in us doesnt change and doesn’t that give us strength? When my joy dips to a low I have no need to muster up energy to find joy, but I can rest in Christ whom places great joy in me.

So the Joy that Christ has in me is my strength. Rather then the Joy I have in Christ is my strength. The joy of the LORD is my strength. Not the Joy I have in the LORD is my strength.

It changes things. This isnt dependant on me but the Lords Joy in me… and all those that are in Christ, the Father says to them:

“This is my son, whom I am well pleased” Mark 1:11.