Christine Caine - We Are Heirs - Part 2
Hey everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us today. I'm so excited about this series on what it is to be an heir of God. You know, understanding who we are as children of God, as children and heirs actually radically changes everything. I remember in my own life when I found out that I was adopted at 33 years old, which is just a freaky thing to find out that you are not who you thought you were at 33 years old. I know the fact that I knew that I had been adopted into the family of God is a truth that kept me firmly grounded when everything in my world was being shaken. When I found out I was not who I thought I was, the good news is I was who God said I was and I was a daughter of the king, and I was an heir of God.
And knowing those truths actually kept me grounded and rooted and firm as I sorted out through the trauma and the pain of all of the things that had been shaken loose in my life, my identity, my past, my name, so many things around me were being shaken when I found out that my parents who I thought were my biological parents all my life were not my biological parents, it changed everything. But knowing who I was in Christ is what kept me secure. We've got a world where everything that can be shaken is being shaken and so it is important that we are rooted and grounded in the truth of who we are in Christ as sons and daughters of the king, what it means to be an heir of God because that will keep us secure when everything else is shaken.
I could not stress the importance of understanding who we are in Christ, the importance of knowing what our identity is in Christ in terms of being steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord our labor is never in vain, staying on track with our God-given purpose, staying on track with our God-given destiny, staying faithful to the call of God on our lives, staying faithful to God in our lives it's tied and linked so firmly to knowing who we are in Christ. So this series about what it is to be sons and daughters and heirs of God is so crucial. Our world is being bombarded with so many mixed messages on identity and everyone is grappling with what does it mean to be me? Who am I, why am I here, where am I going? What is my identity? Who can ascertain my identity? Do I decide my identity? Does culture decide my identity? Does the education department, does the government, who decides who I am?
Can I just say when you know that you are created in the image of God on purpose and for a purpose, then it changes everything. When you understand that I've been adopted into the family of God as a child of God and a co-heir with Christ and heir of the father, it changes everything. Some of you who have been grappling with identity, grappling with a sense of belonging, grappling with the whole concept of family and feeling isolated and feeling disconnected and feeling lonely, this is for you, this is so that you can understand that in Christ we've been adopted into the family of God and there is no higher privilege and no greater act of intimacy than to be adopted into the family of God.
In the book of Galatians 4, we read these verses. "Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. Instead, he is under guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. In the same way, we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elements of the world. When the time came to completion, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts crying, abba, father. So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir". This is awesome.
You know, the scripture says that, man, we used to be slaves under the law and then Jesus came and died on the cross to forgive us of all of our sins, give us a brand new start today and a hope for the future. And in the fullness of time, Jesus came and everything changed. And of course when God sent Jesus, it was the time he sovereignly chose to act. But when we consider the historical and all of the cultural conditions of that time, I've got to tell you it's truly astounding because the world at that time had experienced a huge technological and social revolution that made it perfect for Jesus to come to earth naturally speaking. I mean the world was united under Roman rule, something called the pax Romana, which means the Roman peace. So the world was united under one rule, the world spoke a common language, which of course, guess what? It was Greek, of course, give me a word, any word.
So it made communication much easier and roads lined the Roman empire, and what that did is it made travel and commerce available in a way that had not been possible previously. So it was just the right time for Jesus to come. Scripture says in the fullness of time, when the time was complete. Now, when Jesus came, he was born under the law, the scripture says to redeem those in slavery under the law. So, to redeem means to buy something back or to set free from captivity or slavery. At the work of a21 around the world, that's what we want to see people redeemed, people set free, it's why we're fighting to abolish slavery everywhere forever, we are engaged in this fight for every human being to know what freedom is, to be redeemed. Well Jesus spiritually speaking, redeemed us from slavery to sin. Jesus literally brought us back, he bought us back from slavery under the law.
So Jesus essentially he became like we are so that through faith we might become like he is. So he took our sin so that we might receive his righteousness. What a divine exchange. We definitely got the best bet, the best part of that exchange. He took our sin so that we might receive his righteousness. He took our shame so that we might inherit his glory. You see, after Jesus had come in the fullness of time, the law had done its work and the law it had served its purpose, it had done its work and it had served its purpose. So, I do want to take a moment just to note at this point that Paul was never saying that the law was a bad thing, he wasn't saying it was a bad thing. I mean after all, this was God's holy law, it couldn't be bad, it was God's law. But God had given the Torah for a specific time and for a limited purpose. And so the law was essentially, it was like a place holder for the Jewish people until Jesus came.
And I particularly love the way the new testament scholar N.T. Wright, what he uses is the illustration of a space rocket to describe the purpose of the law. So, in his own commentary on Galatians, this is what he writes, he says, "You need a particular type of booster to get the rocket up through the earth's atmosphere. But once it's out in space, someone presses a button and the booster drops away". So, that is not because it was a bad thing and you wish you never had it in the first place. You jettison the booster, it was a good thing whose job is now done. So that is what Paul is saying about the Torah. It was a good thing, but now its job is done. So God intervened in history to fundamentally change our relationship with him.
So because of Jesus, we are no longer slaves, but we have received adoption as sons and heirs. Now I know some of you are thinking, hang on a minute, Chris, what do you mean sons and heirs? If you are watching this and you're thinking I'm a woman, I get it, I'm a woman preaching this. And so when I read the word sons, I think to myself, well what about me? Am I included in this? Or what about my daughters? I've got a 20 year old and a 16 year old, are they not included in this family adoption package? I mean, what's the deal? Now, of course we are. This wording here when we talk about sons and heirs, this wording, it's not a gender issue, it's a legal issue. So in ancient times it was the son who legally received the inheritance from their father. And so this phraseology, it makes total sense in this context.
So, men and women, boys and girls are all classified as sons through faith in Jesus. So, it's a legal classification. Sonship means that we all men and women have a legal stake in the inheritance of the father. I just need you to pause right now and do a praise dance right where you're watching this and I just need you to pause and let that sink in. Don't jump over that because many Christians miss this. You and I as sons and daughters of the king have a legal stake in the inheritance of the father. Why would we not receive that inheritance? Why would we not claim our legal stake in the inheritance of the father? It costs Jesus everything.
In Jesus, you and I were adopted into the family of God. We have, you got to get a load of this. We have all the rights of being his children, you and I have all the rights of being the children of God. Paul writes in Galatians 4:7 so you are no longer a slave but a son. And if a son, then God has made you an heir. Romans 8:16-17, the spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children and if children also heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. I don't know about you, but that just about puts me on the floor. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
That's what legalism does. It actually takes you back to spiritual infancy, into childish immaturity. When we look at the condition of so many believers around the world today, when we see so much of the chaos and the disunity and the division and the anger and the hostility and the gossip and the slander and the lying, these are all characteristics of immature childish behavior. That's what legalism does, that's what it does when you are under the law and you're legalistic, it takes you back to spiritual immaturity. Adoption is in and of itself at the heart of the gospel. God could have used any metaphor that he wanted, any metaphor to explain how he saved us or how we became part of his family. But he used this intimate metaphor of adoption to show us that he actually chose us.
And someone needs to hear that right now. God doesn't simply tolerate us because he has to like you know he's God, so he is got to be nice to everybody. He willingly chose us to be his children, you know why? Because he loves us, that's revelation for someone watching this today, that God could actually love you and choose you and want you. You've been told all your life, you're unlovable, you're not worthy, you're not good enough, you're not smart enough, you're not talented enough, you don't feel like you measure up to society's expectations, you don't feel like you measure up to the filtered life on social media, you don't feel like you're cool enough, you don't feel like you fit in, I'm here to tell you that God loves you, God sees you, God knows you, God cares about you, God calls you, God chooses you because he loves you, he loves you.
I remember my mom telling me the story of the day that they found out that they could come to the hospital and pick me up. And back in those days things were done differently and so they had to wait, they didn't even know that I was born or what gender I was, they just waited for one day a phone call's going to come from the hospital and say, we've got a kid for you to come and pick up. And my grandmother got the phone call because again, I'm as old as the dinosaur, so when you called back then, there were a lot of faith steps involved, you had to rely on someone being in the room when a phone rang because you didn't carry a phone with you and then they had to be within proximity to be able to pick up the phone and say hello because it was attached to a cord and that was plugged into a wall, I know many of you don't even know what I'm talking about, but that's what it was like.
So my grandmother happened to be walking through and she received the phone call, my mother was visiting with the neighbor two doors up and my mom tells the story that my grandmother got the phone call and said, there was a girl born two weeks ago and you can come and pick her up. And my grandmother ran outside, she ran out into the backyard and she yelled over two fences into the neighbor's fence. She says, we've got a girl, we've got a girl, we can go and pick up our girl. I kind of wonder if that's what God thinks every time, I got a boy, I got a girl, the same one that was left abandoned in a hospital without a name. I was just a number then 2508 of 1966 but there was someone on the other side of the city in Sydney, Australia going, we got a girl, we got a girl, we've been waiting for our girl and we've got a girl.
You might be feeling abandoned or rejected or illegitimate in this moment, but I'm telling you God's saying that's my boy, that's my girl, I got a boy, I got a girl, I love them. Although my parents chose me, they wanted me. It's important for you to understand that I wasn't second best for my parents. It wasn't like, oh man, I can't get pregnant, so second best, no, no, I was sequentially second in the choice of the way I came into the family when they found out they couldn't conceive a biological child but that did not make me secondary. We're not like the booby prize for God. Okay, well, they messed it up in the garden and you know what? I'm just going to have to love them. And that's what a lot of us think.
I need you to understand, adoption in God's mind was not plan B, a second best option for us. Okay, well man, I'll just have to adopt them in. No, no, the Bible teaches us that God predestined us for adoption before the creation of the world. In Ephesians 1:4-6 Paul writes, "For he chose us in him before", check this out, "Before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself". I love this part, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praises of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the beloved one. Adoption was not second best, it was planned from the very beginning.
When I was adopted in 1966, the adoption laws in Australia, man, they were such that you had to adopt a child, have the same nationality and the same religion. But the beautiful thing about being a part of being adopted into God's family is that our spiritual adoption, it's not based on our ethnicity, it's not based on our social class or our gender or even how good we've been or how many mistakes that we've made or haven't made, or how many good deeds we have or haven't done, God welcomes anyone and everyone into his family.
That is incredibly good news because of Jesus' life and death and resurrection, we have all been invited in to God's family as his children and as God's adopted children we've got a family blessing, we have a name, we have a relationship, and we have a future. God wants us to experience the intimacy and privileges that come from being his child. God's not a cold, distant, aloof, angry or tyrannical father, although some of us have either been raised in a religious environment or somehow developed the mindset where that's exactly what we think that he is, but he's not. We think that maybe he's too busy running the universe to really care about us or because we've messed up along the way, that we've disappointed him and that he wants to keep his distance from us.
But I want you to know today that God chose you intentionally to be his son or his daughter. His love for you is perfect and complete. He knows everything about us, even the stuff deep down that nobody else know and he still chose us to be his sons and his heirs. I know for some of you who may have had a complicated or really bad relationship with your father, the thought of God as a father may be triggering for you. But I want you to know that God is a perfect father, largely because he's entirely unlike us, it's impossible for him to be anything but good.
In fact, in 1 John 1:5, he tells us that this is the message we have heard from him and declared to you, God is light and there is absolutely no darkness in him. And from this verse we can see that God has no dark side. So if you've experienced pain or hurt or rejection or abandonment or neglect from your earthly father, firstly I just want to say I'm so sorry, but you can trust your heavenly father who is perfect, who is loving, who is kind, who is merciful, who is gracious. In fact according to this text, God has given us his holy spirit so that we can actually experience what it is to be in an intimate relationship with God as his children. We read in verse six, and because you are sons, God sent the spirit of his son into our hearts crying, abba, father.
In Romans 8:15, Paul writes, you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, instead you have received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry, abba, father. We see the word abba used in both of these texts and the word abba is Aramaic, and it's how Jesus spoke to his father. Abba father is the most intimate term of fatherhood. This means that in adopting us, God gave us the very same spirit of his son, God gave us both legal standing as his children and the very same spirit of his son Jesus Christ, so that we could say from the depths of our heart, abba, father. It just doesn't get any more intimate than that. Today, my prayer is that you would open up your heart and receive the unconditional love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness of God the father who loves you perfectly and loves you unconditionally in Jesus name.