On one occasion Jesus described his religious antagonists as slaves to sin and sons of the devil! Yowzers! That’s one way to get people’s attention. But don’t forget – these aren’t just any people. These are people who never tire telling the world that they are free from sin and that they have Abraham (and by extension God) as their father. Like the tables in the temple, Jesus turns their claims upside down and exposes them for what they really are. Their slavery and sonship will fully manifest itself when they crucify the Lord of glory.
It’s important that we don’t stop there, though. What Jesus says about them is also true of us, apart from our union with Christ. Apart from Christ, we too, are slaves to sin and can only claim the devil as father. Apart from Christ, God will treat us as his enemies not as his beloved children. Put like this, we can see just how tragic the situation is for those outside of Christ.
In the gospel God unites us to Christ. He breaks the power of reigning sins and sets captives free. For a very long time many of our souls lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night. But God’s eye was directed to us and, in an instant, he diffused a quickening ray of light. Like one coming out of the deepest of all slumbers, we awoke and for the first time ever the dungeon of our captivity was filled with light, our chains fell off, and our hearts were set free. In faith and repentance, we arose and followed him. Amazing love, indeed. This is what we call regeneration. In regeneration the dead are raised, the blind are made to see, and prisoners are set free. God does it all.
In the gospel, God unites us to Christ. And having been united to him we are now welcomed into his family. Sons and daughters of the devil are made to be sons and daughters of God. There are many privileges of being adopted into God’s family. But at the heart of this is the relationship that we have with him. He provides for and protects us because we are part of his family. Unlike the devil who is the father of lies and lies to us, God speaks the truth to us in his Word. God invites us to pray and make requests. And because we are sons and daughters of the most high we have a royal inheritance that awaits us.
Beloved of the Lord Jesus, this is the glory of regeneration and adoption. Hopefully you can see it. Hopefully you love it. Hopefully you have experienced it. Slaves of sin and sons of the devil are set free and made to join God’s family. Now we can truly live. Now we can truly serve.