Monday, February 28, 2011

"No More a Servant"

(A repeat from last year)

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Galatians 4:6-7).
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:1).
The Apostle Paul tells the Galatians that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ birthed them into family relationship with God, as opposed to mere servitude to a master. Nevertheless he refers to himself as "a servant of Jesus Christ."
The Lordship of Jesus must be understood in the context of our being "dear children" as the basis of our service to God (Ephesians 5:1). "Ye serve the Lord Christ" declared Paul, whose servanthood originated and proceeded from family relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Certainly the perception of ourselves as servants is a Biblically valid understanding (Colossians 3:24). However, sonship must be established in our minds if servanthood to God is to be known and experienced according to the loving relationship for which the Lord Jesus suffered and died. Under the law, primarily slaves. Under grace and truth, primarily "no more a servant, but a son." The distinction is vital.
The obedience of the Christian is the obedience of genuine love, as opposed to the mere fulfillment of duty. Our Heavenly Father has no interest whatsoever in a heartless submission that belies the heart-filled reality of the Lord Jesus dwelling in us by His Spirit. Long ago, Israel was severely chastened because "because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart" (Deuteronomy 28:47). How much more must the born again believer, spiritually birthed by the Holy Spirit into being "a habitation of God," serve as a glad, grateful, and affectionate member of "the whole family in heaven and earth" rather than the cold and sterile discipline of a slave? (Ephesians 2:22; 3:15).
This truth, received and nurtured within our hearts and minds, will change our lives. We serve from sonship. We serve from being loved as cherished children who love in joyful response. We serve because there is genuine desire in us for the will of God, wrought in us by the Spirit of His Son dwelling in us. We serve in a devotion and sincerity that can only proceed from the shared interest of family involvement and relationship. And we serve with the understanding that "doing the will of God from the heart" is the only obedience in which our Heavenly Father has any interest (Ephesians 6:6). The Lord Jesus makes such genuine devotion possible, and the more we realize how near He has drawn us to our Father in Heaven, the more we will join Paul in the glad service of dear sons and daughters.
A final thought, and perhaps the most important. The Lord Jesus died in lonely and forsaken agony to birth sons and daughters rather than to merely purchase slaves. Too much was sacrificed on the cross of Calvary to minimize the wondrous effect of the grace that flows from our Savior's tortured death. Recognizing and embracing the glory of kinship to God made possible by the presence of the Spirit of Christ in us leads to a "from the heart" devotion that blesses our Heavenly Father's heart even as it fulfills our own. Nothing else will suffice as the basis of the servanthood that proceeds from the Son who gave so much to draw us into the very family of God.
"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
(John 1:12-13)

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