"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:4-6)
Christ Jesus was sent into this world to redeem His people who were held captive by offended justice. We were redeemed by price from the law of God which had a rightful claim to us and held us for ransom because of our sinfulness. The price demanded for our deliverance was nothing less than the blood of the Son of God, that is, His substitutionary death. It was by the sacrifice of Himself that Christ delivered all of His chosen ones from sin and shame. Upon the basis of Christ’s life laid down, God sends His Spirit to us with the gospel of His grace; the Spirit of Christ indwells us, grants us faith in the Savior and gives us a blessed assurance that we are the children of the Lord. It is our honor to address the God of infinite glory with the deepest affection of children, "Abba, Father." He instructed His disciples to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven." Prior to His death, the Savior told His brethren, "I go to the Father" (John 16:16), but after He had put away sins by His death and resurrection, enabling God to be a just God and a Savior, He tenderly said to Mary, "I ascend to my Father, and your Father" (John 20:17). The Lord’s people are no longer slaves, we are sons; what a dignity is ours in Christ Jesus! What a glorious birthright we have! We draw near to God through the blood and righteousness of our Redeemer. God is "Abba, Father." Take notice that the act of crying is attributed to the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit of Christ we cannot perform a spiritual act. In all things, even in our prayers, the Lord receives the glory. He moves us to pray, leads us to pray, teaches us to pray, empowers us to pray, enables us to pray and excites us to pray.
Let it be remembered that though we don’t always conduct ourselves as we should, our Father always deals with us in love. We may (and will) fail, fall and stumble; in fact we might even deny the faith, as Simon Peter did (he was later restored), yet the Lord will never disown us, sever His everlasting affection from us or disinherit us as His heirs. Regrettably, we often cease to behave as His children. Thankfully, He will never cease to love us and provide for us as our Father.
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
DESPISED BUT JUSTIFIED
Christ spoke the parable in Luke 18 to the Pharisees who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others.” (vs. 9) What we say about others and how we treat them often reveals more about us than it does them. Sad as it is, all people, even believers, are by nature like these Pharisees. Self-righteousness plagues us all our days. Often we manifest this self-righteous spirit in our attitude toward others. Christ said they believed themselves to be righteous and “despised others.” Christ illustrates this in the parable of two men that went up to the temple to pray. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” His prayer was really about his superiority over others. Listen to how he speaks of the man: “this Publican.” His speech revealed contempt for a man he probably didn’t even know. He probably put the man in this class based upon what someone had told him about him. They both had come as worshippers but only one of them was really righteous, the man that God said was righteous! That man was not looking at or talking about others; he was concerned about his own state and condition! He smote himself upon his breast and cried out to God saying, “God be merciful to me THE SINNER.” How can a sinner saved by God’s mercy and grace alone in Christ despise any other sinner? When Isaiah
saw the Lord high and lifted up he cried, “Woe is me!” When Job saw what he was before the thrice holy God he cried, “I abhor MYSELF!” Those who see themselves as miserable sinners saved only by sovereign mercy cry, “I am undone!” Like Daniel they confess, “my comeliness was turned in me into corruption.” Paul said, “O wretched man that I AM!” In reality, we ARE just like other men BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD! He alone makes us to differ! Furthermore, the man the Pharisee was talking about was one of God’s elect. Better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be cast into the sea than to offend one of Christ’s little ones. Christ said he “went down to his house JUSTIFIED” – Declared righteous before God through the righteousness of Christ! What the Pharisee said about him didn’t change what he was before God one bit, and I am so thankful that the same is true for all God’s people! The worst they can say might be true, but only what God says of me in Christ counts. I might be “despised” but I’m “justified.”