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. Andrea says:

    Let’s not loose site of what this Epistle is about. The dangers of allowing false doctrine to creep into the church. His purpose was to preserve the gospel in its purity.

    “A little leaven [a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers] leavens the whole batch [it perverts the concept of faith and misleads the church].”
    ‭‭GALATIANS‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭AMP‬‬

    I’m a little confused why you would reference a catholic apologists and the occultic enneagram?

  2. Cynthia Johnston says:

    I am His! Glory to God!

  3. Kellie LynaePerron says:

    Jesus, set up a divine appointment today with someone I may have before judged. I want to love each person as you see them…heirs to a kingdom! To your kingdom. They are not poor, homeless or dirty. Instead, they are clean, forgiven and children of the King.

  4. Angie says:

    As I read and study about being sons and heirs,
    I glance up and see pictures of my sons, their wives, grandsons, and granddaughters.
    They are uniquely different from each other…
    in the way they look at and live life,
    in their responses to situations, and in the choices they make.
    Uniquely different.
    And yet I love each one
    with a force that both blossoms…
    and pierces my heart at times.
    For no one can bring joy
    or heartache
    at the depths of an heir.
    If I,
    nowhere-not even close to perfect, a selfish human love at this breadth,
    ache-for at his depth,
    how much more does God
    God, our Father
    love, and ache, for me,
    for us?
    What does Sovereign God do,
    stretch open His arms of love
    gather us, love us, and reveal himself
    over and over and over…
    He is my Father,
    my Example,
    my Love to my heirs,
    to my brothers and sisters in Christ
    Oh to be like You Lord.
    Gather, love, and reveal more of YOU
    Amazed, comforted, drawn in by your love.

  5. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would see all of God’s children as equal in his sight.

  6. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Help me to live in unity with everyone in the church. Knowing that each one is your child.

  7. Mari V says:

    I belong to a fairly large church. I’ve been there now a little over 20 years. There’s people from all sorts of walks of life. I have always felt welcomed, loved, encouraged. For the most part there is no judgment of my ethnicity or my bank account. I meet my friend Gretchen whom we’ve been friends since I’ve been at this church. We both had our boys within two months apart and now those two boys share a dorm at a Christian college 600 miles away. God is good!

  8. Melissa Graves says:

    Wow! MIND BLOWN! The timeliness of this message…I’m reading a book for my book club that delves into some areas in Christian practice with which I am extremely uncomfortable. So I’m DREADING my book club meeting tonight whereupon I will be expected to join into the discussion of said areas. Thank you Jesus for the scripture and accompanying devotional thoughts. They are a great encouragement to me to relax and enjoy the fellowship of sisters who interpret differently but with whom I am , ultimately, one with in Christ Jesus. Love to you all as well, my SRT sisters!

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