December 11th – Grow Up !



There used to be a great fuss made to celebrate our coming of age. This signified that we had ceased to be children, and officially had become adults. Once it was when we reached the age of 21 years.Then it became the 18th birthday. In Bible culture, Jewish men came of age at 30 years old, but there is another much more penetrating coming of age to which the Apostle Paul refers in his letter to the Galatians, and it’s to do with the human race reaching its majority!
Paul saw his people, the most religious folk on earth, as being in a kind of childhood for (wait for it!) 1,300 years! “All that time we were minors, treated as children and adolescents and under the authority of guardians until we grew up. We were a bit like slaves, although we were heirs to the estate.”
The stern guardian to act like a personal tutor, and ever present teacher, rapping our knuckles when we get too cheeky, smacking us when we did wrong, and even pointing us to a more grown-up maturity, was – the Law of Moses. It was given, Paul says, to be like a school teacher, a personal guardian or tutor, to help us grow up into our majority, ever watchful, ever corrective, because we were heirs of a great estate, but still too young, too childish, to take the full responsibility. Till then, the guardian insisted we did every word he told us. One day we’ll be free of this bondage. But it was not meant to crush us, but to put us on the road to freedom, not to condemn us, but to encourage us to be responsible, grown up inheritors of our great fortune. Then – the coming of age arrived. Galatians Chapter 4 v. 1-5
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
That’s the message of Advent. Not just the coming of God’s Son, but because of that, our coming of age. Now you don’t have to be treated like a naughty child, wilful and screaming ‘No’ all the time, crying for your own way, and having tantrums when you don’t get it. Now the time had fully come.
‘You Christians, you are no longer to be seen and not heard, drilled and schooled and disciplined. Now you are treated as sons and daughters who inherit your Father’s vast estate.’ That’s one of the differences Christ’s coming has made; but make no mistake, it’s a big difference.

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