Friends of ours served as foster parents for a little girl for several months when they received the opportunity to adopt her. The process was long and emotionally exhausting. They knew that at any time, the birth mother might change her mind, or they might discover that some piece of paperwork had not been filled out correctly. The day their adoption became official was filled with relief and great celebration. This little girl was now officially part of their family.
In today’s reading, Paul describes a great change in status that takes place for every person who puts their faith in Jesus. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, you become “children of God through faith” (Gal. 3:26). You are adopted into the family (4:5)! One of the key acts to commemorate this important change is believer’s baptism. In the early church, baptismal candidates would be immersed in water. When they came out, they would be given new garments to wear. Paul may be referencing this in verse 27 where he declares that those who were baptized into Christ “have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
As the adopted sons and daughters of God, we put on these “new clothes” to symbolize our new identity. Baptism is an outward symbol of this inward transformation and is made even more clear as we learn new habits and practices. What a privilege it is to be adopted by God! The image of God as our Father speaks to His personal and intimate relationship with us. As Paul eloquently puts it, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’” (4:6).
>> My three children know they can call on me any time, and I will respond. They have that right because they are my children. The same is true in our relationship with God. We can call on Him as our Father, confident that He cares. What a wonderful gift!
What a joy it is for us to address You as Abba, Father! We marvel that You have made us children of the Almighty King, adopting us into Your family. Being connected to You changes everything!