I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:1-7 (ESV)
Most of us are familiar with the who and the what of Christmas. At the very least, we have heard of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. We know of the shepherds and the wise men. We’ve heard of Bethlehem, the manger and the star in the sky. While we know most of the who and the what, we sometimes forget about the why.
In the book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes to a group of Christians who are forgetting how they became the children of God. As he does so, he reminds us that apart from Christ, we are slaves. Just to what are we enslaved? Elsewhere, Paul suggests that as an unbeliever, we are enslaved to sin (Romans 6:17). Here, he is saying that not only are we slaves to sin, but we are also enslaved to our own efforts at being good enough to overcome our sin. We work hard at being good and religious, but that is not enough to free us from our sin and its consequences. We need help. Something or more specifically someone has to set us free.
Subsequently, God sent His son. At just the right time in human history, God fulfilled His promise to set us free. Jesus became man and was born to a virgin. As He grew, He lived a perfect, sinless life and died in order to set us free. When we yield our lives to Jesus, He sets us free from the law of sin and death. He frees us from the power and the penalty of sin. He frees us from our human efforts at being good enough to earn our way to Him.
Ever try to be different only to come up short? Have you felt the frustration of not being able to make any real changes in your life? We need help. We need Jesus to set us free. Only He can deal with what really holds us back. This Christmas, experience the freedom that Christ offers. Quit being enslaved to your sin and your efforts to overcome it. Instead, give your life to the One who came to set you free. And, in Him, experience the real hope of Christmas.