In this passage, Paul reminds his readers that we are God’s children, and more so we are God’s heirs. This knowledge is significant and empowers us to move beyond fear. To be adopted as God’s heir is to have value, worth, significance.
When we think of earthly families, we think in terms of a limited number of heirs; only a select few inherit wealth or family property. How very different it is with God! There is no limit to the number of people who will be God’s children, adopted as God’s heirs. While in earthly terms being an heir can be a very exclusive, privileged status, in the realm of God all who are led by God’s Spirit are heirs. There is an abundance to God’s love and grace. There is an abundance to the realm of God. There is room for everyone to be an heir of God. One of the challenges underlying this passage is recognizing ourselves as God’s heirs. Moreover, how do we recognize and accept all people as God’s heirs? How do we live open to difference and diversity? How do we move beyond our inherent biases and begin to see every person as a child of God?
One of the first lessons I learned as a child in Sunday school was that God loves all children—no matter what color their skin, every single one is precious to God. As adults, we know that in many parts of the world racism is systemic sin causing oppression and suffering. How might taking seriously that we are all God’s heirs help us in the work of dismantling racism? How might seeing each one we meet as God’s child help us in our individual work of acceptance and inclusion?
God of all people, you love each and every person. Help us to love as you love. Amen.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine in the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.
Read Isaiah 6:1-8. Can you recall a time when you said to God, “Here I am; send me”? What prompted you? What helped you feel empowered to serve?
Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
Read Romans 8:12-17. When has fear controlled you? How does being led by God’s Spirit free you from fear?
Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?
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