Day 11

Sons and Heirs

from the Galatians reading plan

Galatians 3:27-29, Galatians 4:1-7, John 14:1-11, John 14:18-21, Romans 8:1-17

BY Bailey Gillespie

One of my closest friends, Rory, has a fierce loyalty to both Jesus and quality coffee beans. Lately, while coffeeshop crawling around town, we seem to keep coming back to the same topics: G. K. Chesterton, the Enneagram, men, and what she likes to call “ecumenical dialogue.”

Although we don’t share a love for coffee, we do share a passion for the Church in all its broken, messy complexity. Having had exposure to a wide range of church traditions, these conversations always remind us that we long for deeper unity—remembering that God doesn’t align more with one end of the faith spectrum than the other: He is the spectrum.

When Paul calls for unity in his Galatians epistle, he declares, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female since you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gl 4:28). Human nature just wants to divide. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s denominational or sociopolitical or any other categorization: it wants to raise and lower inherent value to seek and further its own good. But the gospel is a hospitable, open table where everyone is honored.

During Paul’s missionary journeys, he needed to clarify the heartbeat of the gospel to an ancient world that devalued Jews, slaves, and females. Religion was just one more system that marginalized them. The temptation to reserve the gospel for those who didn’t seem to need it as much began to quelch what should have been “good news.” Good news for all—not just those who already had all the freedom they needed.

Paul urges us to remember that the kingdom of God isn’t discriminatory. It’s heaven extending its hand and inviting us to a feast as brothers and sisters. We are, communally, made in the complex image of God. No individual, no matter how impoverished in mind, body, or resources is exempt from His lavish hospitality. Although we’re born into this world enslaved, He adopts us and makes us not “a slave, but a son” and an “heir” (Gl 4:7). We are now all heirs to this grace.

No community is perfect, but my home church back in California does a beautiful job at pursuing unity. It’s quirky and hard to pin down theologically. The air circulation isn’t great, and the worship flows in and out of syncopation. But, boy, does that church know how to love. On any given Sunday, on your way to the Eucharist table, you may meet those who are wealthy or who ride a bicycle to work. Who have a PhD in early church history or who have never taken a college class. This church doesn’t quite fit or belong to any one denominational stream. And maybe the reason why I gravitate to churches like this is because I, too, never quite feel like I fit or belong. It’s churches like these that remind me why the gospel is good news.

May we always have a spirit of hospitality toward our brothers and sisters. After all, we’re all just looking for a family in which to belong, and Jesus has made us this hopeful promise: “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you” (Jn 14:18).

Post Comments (34)

34 thoughts on "Sons and Heirs"

  1. Janice says:

    Thank you, I needed this reminder today. Having moved to a new city a few months ago, I’m just beginning to settle down to a new church and I keep comparing it to my previous one. I keep thinking “this isn’t how we did Bible Study there”, etc.etc. But there is a great mix of people, old and young and we all worship the same God. I know God has put me where I am for a reason and I should focus on Him and not my church.

    1. Mackenzie Riley says:

      Janice, myself and my family are in the same boat as you. We relocated to a much smaller community and church looks very different here. Options are less and traditions are different. This post was such a good reminder to me as well! Praying for you today as I reflect on my own experience.

  2. Savannah Gilmore says:

    Love this! My church tackled this topic on Sunday. It’s so unfortunate to see some churches split over items when they’re not focused on their mission or what their actual spectrum is: Christ.

  3. Laura Smail says:

    God is not a spectrum. He is truth. The unity we have in Him comes only when we are grounded in the truths of His Word

  4. Amber Trimble says:

    Love, Unconditionally.

  5. Erin says:

    I love this concept and our world needs it so bad (including the Church). In the short time I’ve been married (only a bit over two years) I’ve seen this so close up because my husband and I have slightly different theological passions (if you will)— he is a lover of “Reformed” theology and traditions and I’m used to a non-denom set up. When we joined our lives it really took some adjusting to because I moved and joined his small church. God has used this time to grow us so much and ultimately to express this very message (of unity in the Church) but it’s been a messy road.

    We just finished reading Galatians via family worship in the evenings, so pretty excited to find it being covered here! I’m jumping back in to SRT after almost a year of hiatus because I had triplets.

  6. Maura says:

    Jesus is the great equalizer. The Holy Spirit joins with our spirit to cry out Abba Father. And we all our children of God. How beautiful that God the Creator had such a plan for us, His creation to find the Way to such a family, to such an inheritance. No matter where we started, no matter the battles we have been through, the sins we have been caught in. Abba Father has redeemed us in His Son. Praise the Truth, the Way and the Life. Praise God we are His.

  7. Madison Ortiz says:

    This goes against the grain of society who has a box for everyone and even the traditional church too, but it showcases Christ above all that he came to make a way to set men free. In Christ there is freedom.

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