Sunday, June 23, 2013

Proper 7 Galatians 3:23- 4:7

For before faith was to come, by the Law we were guarded, confined into the faith about to be revealed, so the Law came to be our child-leader into Christ, so that out of faith we be justified. And the faith, having come, we are no longer under a child-leader. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many as into Christ are baptized are wearing Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for all of you are in Christ Jesus. And if you are of Christ, then the seed of Abraham you are, according to promise–heirs! And I say, for the length of time an heir is a child, he doesn't differ from a slave, being lord of all, but he is under guardians and house-managers until the time set of the father. So also we, while we were children, under the elements of the world we were enslaved. And when the fulfillment of time came, God sent out on a mission His Son, begotten of woman, becoming under the Law, so that the ones under the Law He may redeem, so that as sons we may be taken from it. And because you are sons, God sent out on a mission the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, "Daddy, Father!". Consequently, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, also an heir, through God..  

Many moons ago when I was in college, our Synod came out with a CTCR document called "Women in the church" (1985). It was hotly debated in that day, with some upset that it didn't allow for women pastors. Those who argued for women pastors cited the passage, "there is no longer male and female", as if that were the last word to be had in the matter. But it wasn't, of course. In fact, it wasn't even the last point St. Paul is inspired to make on the topic in our epistle for today. For all in Christ are Sons!

Oddly, after telling the folks that their own gender didn't matter, Paul seems to go an entirely different route with Jesus' gender. It mattered a whole lot! Jesus was not some genderless "child" of God. He was very much male, and as such, He is very much a Son of God. The legion of demons knew this well, addressing Jesus plainly as God's Son. Jesus refers to Himself countless times also as the Son of His heavenly Father. So how does our gender matter so little, but Jesus' matters so very much?

Whether you are a male or a female doesn't matter because you no longer live, but Christ lives in you. In Christ you have become a son of God, through THE Son of God. You were taken from the condemnation of the Law in your baptism, where God adopted you into His heavenly family. You were washed clean of all of your sins, and made holy to bear God's Own family name from that day on. You are no longer disobedient slaves of God under the Law, but sons of God by Jesus' forgiving grace.

"But I'm a gal" at least half of you are thinking. "It's just plain odd to be a female-Son!" Yes that would be odd, but remember, that's not how God sees you. You are a son of God, regardless of your gender, because you are wearing Jesus–the Son of God! At the blessed exchange of the cross Jesus became your sin and was dealt it's severe punishment in your place. You, in trade, received His holy righteousness by faith, to wear for eternity. God the Father looks down on you seeing only Jesus!

Your sonship from God comes with a very special bonus. As a son, you become an heir of God the Father! In bible times, the gals were never part of the inheritance, but sons were. As a son of God you have Jesus last will and testament already given to you. Not just a promise, but delivered through the cup of the new testament in Jesus' blood shed for you. You eat and drink from this last will and testament at the Lord's Supper, receiving the gifts of life and salvation through this sacrament.

Yet some of you want to cry out, "Why are women not allowed to do what men do in our church?" This is not what God has given you to cry out. He has placed the Holy Spirit of His Son into your hearts so that you will cry out a different thing: "Daddy, Father!" Instead of questioning about what some people want to do, God gives you to holy sonship, that your cries of prayer recognize by faith just who you are in Christ Jesus, an ever-blessed son of God! Repent of your foolish cries, and embrace sonship.

So refrain from the Law questions of "what do I get to do", for you are no longer children still under the Law. Instead, you are blessed by God to rejoice by His Spirit in the fact that, regardless of your gender, you are all Sons of God in Christ Jesus your Savior. For the Son of God died for you at Calvary under the Law to redeem you from its curse, forever. No longer are you under the guardian of the Law as a child, but since faith has come, you are fully grown sons of God in Jesus God's Son.

Hymns today from LSB:

#731  O God, Forsake Me Not
#825  Rise, Shine, you People
#594  God's Own Child I'll Gladly Say It



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