The Burdens and Obligations of Freedom

"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are." 1 John 3:1

After the prodigal son had returned home, he may have had second thoughts. He may have wished for a forty hour week instead of being restored to the rights of a son. Now that he was home, the full weight and obligation of being a son were upon him. He once again carried the pressures of his freedom and the responsibility of bearing the family name.

For all the moaning and complaining that comes from those who take a paycheck from an employer, the fact remains that most people do not want the responsibilities, burdens, and obligations of ownership. The majority are quite content to punch the clock and then walk away from the job at the end of the week, thanking God it's Friday.

Many also prefer an employee\employer relationship with God. It's easier that way. Provide me with a job description and then give me what I have coming. Those who practice an employer\employee version of the Christian faith are probably more in tune with the prodigal son's elder brother. He stayed at home, complained about his brother's lack of work ethic and moral laxity, did what he was told, and demanded his rights. But this is not the scenario which describes sons and daughters of God's kingdom.

In Jesus Christ, God has not simply adjusted our job description. God has completely altered our status. This new status is the gift of your baptism. The New Testament uses the language of royalty to describe what it means to be a child of God. Sons and daughters of royalty do not punch clocks. They freely share the benefits and burdens of their high status.

The Christian has entered a kingdom of grace, not a business relationship. There is nothing to earn, nothing to prove. Christ has done it all. To live within the kingdom is to know the freedom of royal sons and daughters. To rule within the kingdom is to serve in love.

Martin Luther put it this way, 'The Christian is a free lord, subject to none. The Christian is a dutiful servant, subject to all."

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