Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for coming to earth and making us rich! Thank You for giving us eternal riches which no one can ever take away from us. Thank You for loving us enough to give us forgiveness for all sins, for canceling our debt owed to You, and for replacing it with the treasures of heaven. May we always appreciate Your sacrifice and the gifts of grace You so lovingly bestow. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE GIVER OF ETERNAL RICHES!
TEXT: Galatians 4: 4-7
Fellow Redeemed Sinners Made Rich By The Baby Jesus!
Inheritance. The word conjures up images of fabulous vacations, a new car, bills paid off, and most of all, the love of another person who gifted you from beyond the grave. But, an inheritance can be tricky. For it all depends on exactly what you’re actually inheriting.
A new year, 2010, has arrived. Perhaps you haven’t paid attention, but with this new year all of us are inheriting a lean future from our government. Let me lay it out. Currently our nation has a debt that we’ve all inherited. The number is a bit more than 12 trillion dollars. To put that into focus, it means that every single American family currently owes $120,000 to America’s creditors. That number increases every year, too, since we’re spending more as a nation than we take in every year. Also, you need to know that if we include Social Security, Medicare, and other unfunded liabilities, they add another 106 trillion dollars to our country’s debt load. To put that into focus, it means this: if you sold absolutely every bit of land, every business in America, every single asset owned by everyone, you could probably raise: 50 trillion dollars. In short, America is broke, actually worse than broke. And our kids, grandkids, and future generations are inheriting this disaster from us. Inheritances like that we can do without!—Wish that it were so.
Closer to home, many of will probably receive an inheritance from older relatives or family members when they die. We will mourn their loss, but hopefully we will appreciate their kindness and concern for us from beyond the grave. My guess is that none of us will say “no” when a lawyer informs us of that inheritance. And once we receive it, hopefully we’ll be prudent enough to use it wisely and sincerely appreciate that undeserved gift. For once it’s gone; it’s gone.
Perhaps you’ve never really thought of God’s grace, the forgiveness of sins and everything that goes with it as an inheritance. But it is! It is the Baby Jesus’ legacy to us. It’s not a negative inheritance where we have to assume debt owed to God. Instead, it is a positive inheritance which will never run out and which pays dividend checks to us literally forever. St. Paul outlines all this for us in today’s lesson. And so, let’s briefly focus on:
APPRECIATING YOUR GODLY INHERITANCE
Some of you probably know whether or not a loved one has included you in their will. Obviously it would be folly to spend your future inheritance before ever receiving it. After all, medical bills and taxes may eat it all up before it ever comes your way. So, patient waiting is called for. And eventually, the day will come. God’s people were promised an eternal inheritance throughout the Old Testament. It was God’s promise of a Savior. It was God’s undying promise of heavenly treasures. All they had to do was wait for the time of its fulfillment to come. All they had to do was trust in God Who cannot lie and not renounce Him or His largesse. And wait they did. They had faith in the One making the promise.
And then it finally happened! “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
God’s Son was born so that our sins, our inner evil, our rebellious nature, our unhappiness with life, and our mortality could be transferred to Jesus and that His goodness, kindness, love, forgiveness and immortality could be transferred to us! Christ, the eternal Son of God, transferred His Sonship to each of us! Thereby, He made us everlasting heirs, inheritors, of everything that belongs to Him, to God.
I hope and trust that you appreciate that inheritance. I hope and trust you give thanks to Him for it every day. I hope and trust that you don’t abuse it by actively engaging in sin, and then rationalizing it this way: “Well, since I’m forgiven, I don’t have to worry about continuing in my old ways.” Isn’t such an attitude an abuse of His inheritance?
The temptation is always to spend what we don’t yet have in hand. Another temptation is to take advantage of a promised inheritance by going into debt thinking: “I’ll be bailed out in the end.” But, such an attitude really turns people into slaves, slaves to debt, slaves to their creditors, and slaves to sin. Yet, the point of our lesson is that we’ve already been bailed out, redeemed, bought back from such slavery by the blood of Christ. He has made us free, made us eternally solvent. He has paid our everlasting debt to God the Father. And so Paul continues: “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Which means: thank You, loving Father.) So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”
Before God, you and I were slaves. We counted for nothing. We had no inherent worth to offer up to God. And yet, by God’s Son offering up Himself for us, by transferring His assets to us in pure love, we became free, rich, and have received a place at the heavenly table. This is His inheritance to us—all made possible by His death on the cross in our place.
So, are you currently living the truth of His inheritance to you? Are you appreciating it? Every time you spend a portion of it by being kind to someone, do you remember Who has put kindness into your heart? Has His inheritance changed your thinking about life and re-ordered your priorities into placing Him first in all your decisions? Has it made you happy and peace-filled inside because you now know what’s really important? Do you view yourselves as the richest people on earth? Well, you should because you are!
I don’t know what this New Year will bring for our nation. I don’t know what will happen in the upcoming decade. However, I do feel a sense of foreboding at what we’re doing to ourselves and the debt trap we’ve spun ourselves into. That being said, God has given me and each of you something to free our hearts. He’s given us eternal riches in Christ that we don’t have to pay for, but instead pay never-ending dividends to us! And that, my friends, is the hope and certainty that will always sustain us. Thank God it will never change! Amen