No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' there they shall be called sons of the living God."
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (John 15:15-16; Romans 9:25-26; Galatians 4:4-7, NKJV)
The rise of the social network has given those of us who indulge in it the opportunity to declare our "status" to anyone and everyone willing to listen. We share our changes in moods, jobs, places to eat, relationships, and a host of other things that come across our minds. Frankly, it has watered down what "status" once meant.
I recall several changes in status across my life that I might consider significant. The move from high school to college – followed a short time later with the change from college student to drop-out. I changed status from being a single man to a husband (twenty-five years ago) and then from having a living father to being without one. Two of the bigger changes turn fourteen and twelve respectively this year. And all these changes in my status marked passages of time in some way or another. But they all pale in comparison with the status change that I did nothing to achieve – it was granted me as it was granted so many others by pure Grace alone.
Imagine the confused band of students in that upper room who had watched their Teacher ride into the city in triumph. A few days later, He is telling them of His death and departure. In the midst of all this, He also tells them He has changed their status. They are no longer to consider themselves students or servants. They are to think of themselves as His friends. Paul echoes this type of thought in Romans when he quotes the old prophet Hosea. God had formerly cast away His people, but, in an enormous act of Grace and Love, He promises to call them back and make them His people once again. It's a fantastic promise that He is keeping to this very day.
Again Paul, writing to the churches in Galatia, calls out the essence of the Gospel of Christ – a legal transaction changing the status of people from slaves to sons with all the rights, privileges, and duties associated with that position. In fact, he calls them out as joint heirs with the Son of God, making Jesus our Divine Older Brother … the one who made Himself a prodigal for our sake so we could be rescued once and for all.
The books I've been reading (Keller, Nouwen, and Manning) all speak to this change in status and, at times, I'm afraid we've overlooked it. Sure, we give great lip service to the miracle of Grace, but we then go about as if we were still slaves, having to prove something or earn our way out of bondage. As a result, we live lives of fear instead of victory. We need to come to terms with the fact that we don't have to be perfect; we just have to accept that Jesus was perfect on our behalf. And, in doing so, He changed our status to friends, sons, and daughters – joint heirs with Him of all Heaven has to offer.
The Crooked Path surprises and challenges me on a daily basis. One of the most recent challenges is to look at my relationship with my Father in a different way. I need to understand just how much He gave up for me personally so that I could be counted as His son. I need to stop and thank Him regularly and call Him by the most intimate name a child can use … Daddy. That's what it means to be a son of God. That's what my status should read when people see it … Daddy's child!
- If you try to call God "Daddy", does it make you comfortable or uncomfortable?
- When you think of all the times Jesus has called us friends, His brothers/sisters, or God's children, does it excite you? Or do you find yourself feeling at odds with the whole idea?
- Are you looking at yourself like some peripheral member of God's household, perhaps relegated to hanging around the fringes and doing the "dusting" or "cooking" or some other task of a servant? Are you looking at the family celebration going on right now and wishing you could join in the dance?