Adoption Over Slavery Romans 8:15 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Lately, there have been a lot of people who have been aspiring to join the ranks of the wealthy through what most would consider a long shot… the lottery. There had been a lot of coverage in the media because the pot had grown to such an extent that whomever won it would be catapulted form their current state to the wealthy elite in what seemed to most was the only path towards riches. I didn’t personally play in this lottery, but I can certainly understand the draw. For a guy like me, it would probably be the only shot to wealth and riches. When I considered this, it reminded me of the uncommon and life altering opportunity that Paul writes about in Romans 8. In the days of Paul, there was a huge unbridgeable gap between poverty and wealth. The world was different from today. We like to think, here in our nation, that if you work hard and do your best you will be able to build something. This didn’t happen in the 1st century Roman Empire. There was no middle class and in order to have any kind of opportunity you had to be born into it. There were very few ways to rise up in society. This was especially true for a slave. To a slave, there was really only one long shot at “redemption” so to speak. Roman law afforded that a wealthy land owner who had no heir could adopt one of their slaves, and this person would from then on be considered his son. The rights of the adopted son under the law were no different from the rights of blood children. In this process, the master and the slave would meet together and agree to the adoption personally, and then there would be a public declaration made of the new identity of the slave. This would completely change the slave’s life to the point that he became the master of the house in which he was once a servant. Paul relates this to salvation in Romans 8. We were slaves, not of God but of sin, and God adopts us as his sons and daughters. Our adoption is a personal agreement between God and us, but it is also publically declared with baptism. Through this adoption we are catapulted from a poverty of righteousness to having every spiritual blessing as heirs to the righteousness of God. Through this adoption we have a place as masters of the house of God in heaven, we have the wealth of God, and we have a new identity as sons and daughters of God. A slave would never be so bold to enter the presence of a ruler without being summoned. A prince or princess has no fear entering the presence of their father though he may be a king. It is our adoption that causes us to have boldness in approaching God. Who we are is fundamentally altered. Well most people would confess that playing the lottery is not really a great investment most of the time, and is never a sure thing, the adoption of Christ is the seemingly unlikely but always sure payoff for everyone who agrees to be a child of God. Salvation is a sure investment. Compared to this, the lottery is nothing.