What do you think of when you hear the term slave? Being an American, I naturally think of the slavery that existed in the South. But slavery has been a part of human history ever since time began, and though we don't hear much about it today, I know slaves exist even in our "civilized" world. Let's take the example of the South here in America. What was the life of a slave like? A slave had no rights. As a slave you didn't choose where you lived, what you ate, when you got up in the morning, when you went to bed, what type of work you did or how long you worked. You didn't even have the freedom to marry and have children. If you did have children, they were not your own to keep. Your entire life was dictated to you by your owner.
If you had a good owner, you were cared for and had all your needs met. You may even have been allowed to marry and have children and keep them close. You may even have been allowed some time off to do what you wanted or go to church or even enjoy a holiday. HOWEVER, you were still imprisoned by the dictates of your master, who could revoke those privileges at any moment. Of course if you had a cruel master, your life was miserable. Whether you had a good or evil master, if you did anything wrong or broke the rules in any way, punishment was swift and severe.
But what about the children of the plantation owner, the heirs to his land and fortune? What was their life like? Compared to a slave, they had all the freedoms life can offer. They grew up in luxury with plentiful and delicious food, beautiful clothing, a good education and doting parents who ensured they had all they needed to be successful and happy in life. When this son or daughter broke the rules or did something wrong, they were disciplined in love by parents who only wanted the best for them. They are privileged because they are the children of the owner! They are his heirs! Part of his family!
Now, what if you were a slave on that plantation living out in a hut with barely enough to eat and one day the owner called you into his house and told you that you were no longer a slave but that he was adopting you into his family and you were now an heir to his fortune? That he loved you and would grant you all the privileges and blessings of his children? Wowzie! That would be awesome!
But that's just what God did for us! Not only that, His only Son (the real heir) had to suffer and die to pay for our freedom.
The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 4 that before we know Jesus, we are all slaves to sin and the law. Just like a slave on a plantation, the law is a cruel taskmaster telling us what we can and cannot do and imposing impossible restrictions on our lives which end up producing sin which ends up getting us punished. We go round and round in this vicious cycle from which there seems no escape.
Until. . . we are summoned to the Big House and offered our freedom. Not just our freedom, but we are told we will be adopted into the family, that we are loved beyond measure and are inheritors of all that belongs to the owner. When I stopped to think of this in these terms, it really impacted me. How amazing and incredible is this wonderful gift God has given all of us!
You are a child of the King and have been given all the privileges and power and wealth of that position. The question is, now, what are you going to do with it?
But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in His name— John 1:12
For the Spirit which you have now received is not a spirit of
slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received
the Spirit of adoption. the Spirit producing sonship, in the bliss of
which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!
. Romans 8: 15
See what an incredible quality of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be permitted to be named and called and counted the children of God!
And so we are! 1 John 3:1