Imagine your own family. Did your children—whether born into your family or adopted—do anything to earn their place, to convince you to care for them and call them your own? Of course not! There’s nothing we can do to earn the love of our parents or a place in the family, whether with our human family or our heavenly Father. And yet this doesn’t mean our children are allowed to sit around playing video games all day! When we pass out the daily chore lists, they don’t retort, “But I’m in this family by grace and not by the merit of my works.” We would reply, “So true! And now that you are part of this family, there’s work to do! Everybody in!” Similarly, we were adopted into Christ’s family while we were dead in our sins. There is nothing we could have done to earn our way in or deserve God’s love. Still, now that we’re here, made alive in Christ and adopted into the family of God, there’s work to do! With Paul we can join in the body of Christ and in God’s redemptive work with freedom and joy. God gives us, his family, a set of “chores” to do while we’re on earth—tasks that are part of God’s kingdom work. Remember that we don’t work to earn acceptance—that’s not something we can earn or lose!— but we serve out of joy and freedom, powered by God’s love, looking forward with Paul to our prize in heaven: falling at the feet of Jesus.
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