From Slaves to Heirs
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 8 Sabbath Afternoon
This weeks Memory Text from Galatians 4:7, “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
What does it mean that we are no longer slaves? Slaves to what? Slaves to our sinful behaviors/addictions/bad acts? Or slaves to our sinful nature, our condition of heart and mind? And what are we heirs to? What do we inherit? We will try to get some clarity and answer some of those questions as we go through this week’s lesson.
From the first paragraph;
Paul tells the Galatians that they should not live and act as slaves but as the sons and daughters of God, with all the rights and privileges thereof — a truth that the young Martin Luther needed to hear. As his convictions of sin deepened, the young man sought by his own works to obtain pardon and peace. He led a most rigorous life, endeavoring by fasting, vigils, and scourgings to subdue the evils of his nature, from which the monastic life had brought no release. He shrank from no sacrifice by which he might attain to that purity of heart which would enable him to stand approved before God. He was, he had said later, a pious monk who strictly followed the rules of his order, and yet he found no peace within. “If ever monk could obtain heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it.” Yet it didn’t work for him.
What are the “rights and privileges” of the sons and daughters of God?
I could think of lots of privileges but I was having a hard time thinking of “rights”? While I list some of the privileges I thought of, can you think of any “rights”?
- The privilege to love each other and to love others
- The privilege to know God
- The privilege to give of ourselves to bless others
- The privilege of being transformed in character to be like Jesus
- The privilege of fulfilling a role/purpose in God’s cause
- The privilege of sharing the truth about God with others
- The privilege of seeing others freed from sin
- The privilege of eternal life
- The privilege of sharing our story of deliverance with sinless beings in the hereafter
- The privilege of experiencing God’s love in our life
- The privilege of truth, and understanding of the Great Controversy
- The privilege of returned self-control/governance as the fruits of the spirit works in our life
- We have privilege of a closer intimacy with God than if mankind had never sinned –
- Christ taken humanity, is part of this creation,
- If your father was the president of your country you would have a closer connection than the rest of citizens in your country,
- If you know someone who has been away in a war, in a foxhole, in combat, bonds are forged, we have suffered with Christ and fought the good fight of faith with him. This creates a closer connection with God than the unfallen beings experience
- While we may value and appreciate our soldiers who have fought for our freedoms, we don’t have the same closeness and bonds that those who have fought together experience. The onlooking universe will be like those of us who benefit and appreciate, and support out troops, but those doing the fighting get a closer relationship with each other that we don’t experience
So when you understand God’s true character and how He runs His government, instead of a legal way, it’s hard to find rights over privileges. Rights tend to be very self focussed. Privilege is something we can be thankful for receiving. Think of the Prodigal son story.
Was mankind, in Eden, created as God’s heir or did mankind only become and “heir” after sin and Christ’s victory?
- Did mankind, in Eden, have an “inheritance” from God?
- Was earth given as mankind’s inheritance from God? (Dominion over earth)
- What would cause mankind to lose that inheritance?
- What would restore the inheritance?
- If a son has an illness, while he is sick is he still and heir to his father’s kingdom?
- If he dies before his father dies, is he still an heir, will he inherit the kingdom? (If he dies he cannot inherit anything)
- So, could we say, that mankind is an heir to God, we have an inheritance from our Heavenly Father, but we are all sick, terminal condition, and can only inherit our inheritance if we experience healing through Christ? (Does that make sense?)
- Or, is it more accurate to say, we are not heirs, we are not sons of God, until we are first healed and then we become heirs?
- Is receiving our inheritance, then a legal process, or a healing process?
It’s a huge difference, I’m suggesting to you that the metaphor, and you should be asking the question of yourself if it’s a legal process or a healing process, why did Paul use the metaphor of adoption with the Galatians and we will have an answer for that during this week.
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