By Robert Halsey Pine
“Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith…But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7 NRSV).
As children of our Lord and Master, we have a great inheritance. As does any heir, we have a choice as to what to do with it. When we celebrate the life of Jesus, it is important that we reflect, as St. Paul did, on the reason for Christ’s coming and it’s meaning as our inheritance. Faith is a greater master than the law. If we practice it, faith is our key to God’s kingdom.
No worldly ruler can conquer our faith. What a gift God has given us through His Son. It is an inheritance unmatched in the natural world. In John’s Gospel (1:1-18 NRSV) in speaking of Christ he says, “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John, the baptizer, recognized this as he prepared the way for his cousin Jesus.
When the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus while John was baptizing Him, it was obvious to John that Jesus was without sin. The child that was born in a manger became God’s teacher and finally a perfect offering for our sin, as He was without sin. Instead of the law being our guide and master, we have become the heirs of faith in God through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The story of the life of Christ is one that we must take with us and live out in each moment of each day. We have a great inheritance. We must use it wisely. We must love God and one another with our faith at the very center of us. No man can destroy it. It is ours to keep for eternity.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.