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Sons of God

Christian men and women, you are firstborn-heir sons of God.
Speaker: Ray David Glenn | July 9, 2017 | Series: The Gospel + Nothing

Watch as Ray David unpacks Galatians 3:22-4:7 and shows us how the Gospel + Nothing = Freedom in Christ.


The very thing that makes the church in Galatia foolish is the same thing that makes us foolish – we are quick to forget the Gospel. We all too often drift from the Gospel, and begin to think that it is all about our works. We begin to try to earn God’s favor by working to be ‘good enough’. 

Christian Growth

One of our fundamental problems is that we passively view the Gospel as though it is just the beginning of the Christian life, but in fact true Christian growth is all about returning back to the Gospel – reminding ourselves, rehearsing it, and applying it to all the areas of our lives. Christians are to remain doggedly committed to living their lives through the lens of the Gospel. It shapes everything we do.

Start in the Gospel and continue in the Gospel.

The Gospel is Practical

The Gospel is practical. It shows us how to look on our finances, our work lives, our families. Apply the Gospel to every situation.

When your wife upsets you, look to Jesus Christ and love her the way that Christ loves the church – He laid down his life for her. Husbands, marriage is practice in how to die well – how to lay down your life for your wife.

It is easy to believe the Gospel until forgiveness is required. And then we switch gears into scorekeeping. But the Gospel shows us to forgive one another. Forgiveness requires that someone pays a price and to forgive someone is to say, ‘every time that the pain comes up I’m going to pay the price for you’.

The Gospel is not a starting point in the Christian life – it is everything. 

Fallen Short

When we first encounter God’s law, it reminds us that, on our own, we are not good enough. It shows us good things, but it reminds us that we fall short. It tutors us in the perfect ways of God and it imprisons us by its impossibly high standards. But the very thing that imprisons us, God uses as His vehicle to prepare us to experience His grace.

Set Free

If for you, being a Christian is all about going to church and being a good person, you will be robbed of joy and freedom, and you will always walk around with the feeling of being not quite good enough. But if for you, the Christian life isn’t about the law, it is about Jesus Christ, then you will feel completely set free. Your relationship with God will no longer be defined by rules and regulations – it will be defined by the fact that you are a son of God. It is a massive shift. It is not longer about law-keeping – it is about sonship. 

Sons of God

Paul uses the term ‘sons of God’ to demarcate those who belong to God. Everyone is a creature of the Creator, but not all are sons of God. Being a son of God is a special grace given to those who believe. When God gives you the grace to believe in His Son – Jesus Christ, He also makes you His son. 

The term ‘sons of God’ may sound like something that needs to be updated to be gender inclusive, but in fact the word ‘son of God’ applies to both men and women and is the greatest statement of inclusivity that you have ever encountered. In the Apostle Paul’s world, only the eldest son inherited the entire wealth of the family. So Paul is saying that whether you are a man or a woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, you are now not only children of God – you are firstborn heir sons of God. 

Christ Clothing

Our relationship with God is no longer defined by law-keeping – it is defined as clothing. We put on Christ. 

Clothing speaks to at least 3 things – 

  • Identity – when you wear clothing it marks you out as a certain type of person. Your identity is now found in Christ, not your old self.
  • Intimacy – your clothing is right up against you – close to you. And that it what your relationship with God is now like.
  • Imitation – when you put on Christ as clothing the rules are no longer external, but your relationship is so intimate that it begins to change the way you look – day by day you look more Jesus and less like the world. 

Divisions and Distinctions

In Christ, there are no more divisions by race, by social spheres, by gender. Paul is saying that there are no longer any divisions, but there are still distinctions. The distinctions between us are critically important, because it is our distinctions that allow us to show forth the glory of God in a way that is unique to us. But the deepest truth about every Christian is not the external distinctions, but the fact that you are clothed in Christ and you are sons of God.

Redeemed and Adopted

Maturity in the Christian life is not about moving past the Gospel, instead it is about realizing, remembering, returning to, and rehearsing two great truths –

  • God has redeemed us from the law.
  • And we have received adoption as sons and are now God’s heirs.

Maturity in the Christian life is about remembering that God has wiped your slate clean. God wiped the slate of your life clean and then wrote – ‘adopted, fully approved’.  God has set you free from the prison of your own hell. This is not a prize to be won, but a gift from God. You already are sons because Jesus did it for you.

How would your life look different if you lived every situation from the Gospel, and applied the Gospel to your relationships and to the world?

Objective Truths

All of these truths are not just objective – they are subjective; personal. They are tender truths that change your affections. God has actually given you His Spirit.

When you begin your Christian journey, God is just some codified set of laws.

Then when you take your next step, you realize that God became incarnate in the person of Jesus and saved you. He became God who walked with us and talked with us, and showed us what God is really like.

But now God is Spirit. God is not just in the law. He is not just incarnate in Jesus. He is not just God with you – He is Spirit, God in you. He has given you a new heart. He is God with you, God in you, God for you in a very personal way. 

Our Tender Father

When the Spirit of God comes to reside in your heart, it makes you like a little child. Because of the Spirit of God within us, we can cry out ‘Daddy’, and trust in the goodness of our Father. Maturity in the Christian life brings a tenderness, love and trust for our Heavenly Father. 

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About the Author

Ray David Glenn
Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.
  • About the Author

    Ray David Glenn
    Ray David is the rector (Anglican talk for senior pastor) here at St. George's. He lives in Burlington with his wife Monica and kids.
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