“Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:1-7).
“God sent forth his Son,” “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.” As we have seen abundantly, to be under the law is to be under the dominion of sin. And such are all men of themselves, because “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and “what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).
Now, it is these people who are under sin: who are under the curse: who are condemned to death, because “the wages of sin is death”; —it was them whom God sent his son to redeem. And in order to redeem them, it behoved him to be made in all things “like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17). Therefore, that he might meet men just where men are and be a complete Deliverer, he himself came to men where they are, and was made like to men where they are. Therefore, he was even made to be sin. (2 Cor. 5:21).
He took the place of the transgressor: he became flesh, just as is the transgressor: he was made to be sin, just as the transgressor is sin: he bore the sins of men, “for the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). He took the condemnation, because the sins of the transgressor were imputed to him. And, as to the transgressor himself, the consciousness of sin is accompanied with the consciousness of guilt and condemnation; so when these sins were imputed to him who knew no sin, it was the sin indeed, with its accompanying sense of guilt and condemnation. He bore the curse, for sin brings the curse; and he bore the curse even unto death, because sin brings the curse even unto death.
Thus, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Thus he redeems them that are under the law. All the penalty, all the curse, all the wrath, all the condemnation, that the law can work upon the transgressor met upon him. And, in the divine sacrifice, which he thus made, there was rendered all that the law can ever demand of the transgressor. So that everything that can possibly stand between the transgressor and God is swept away in the sacrifice of Christ.
In this, God has reconciled the world unto himself so completely that he cannot impute their trespasses unto them (2 Cor. 5:19); and thus is extended freedom—absolute freedom—to every soul in the wide world. And every soul can have it, to the full and to all eternity, merely by accepting it. And, in accepting this redemption from under the law, every soul receives “the adoption of sons;” for, “as many as received him, to them gave he power [“the right, or privilege” margin] to become the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26).
And then, being sons of God, and “because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son then an heir of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:6, 7).
Before this deliverance, we “were in bondage under the elements of the world.” The only elements of the world that there are, are the elements of sin; for “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). But, when delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:15-17).
“Joint heirs with Christ.” That is, all that he had falls also to each one of the other sons. The inheritance is not divided up in equal shares among all the sons, as if they were equal heirs. No; all the inheritance belongs to each one of the sons, because they are joint heirs. This because God has no favorites among his sons; but all that belongs to any one, belongs equally to everyone. Accordingly, all that falls to Christ the Son and heir falls also to each and every other son and heir. And this wonderful truth Jesus wants the world to know; for, in his great prayer for us all, he prayed, “That the world may know that thou has sent me and has loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23).
And, this wonderful fact: that God has no favorite nor preference among his sons, but that all are equal, and, therefore, that each redeemed soul is, in his estimation, equal to Jesus, and takes his stand on a plane, and in the reward, equal in all things to Christ: it is this wonderful fact that caused John, in beholding it, to exclaim: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . ..
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall se him as he is” (1 John 3:1, 2).
[Advent Review and Sabbath Herald | May 8, 1900]