Imago Deo — In the image of God. God made us that way! It’s in Genesis…
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.Genesis 1:26 NLT
“Our image”… “to be like us” — us? Who’s the us? That’s God, the Father, Jesus, the son and the Holy Spirit — our triune God – the Holy Trinity. But we are not God’s children until we invite Jesus into our hearts and He gives us the Holy Spirit. Then we get God’s DNA. We become children of God.
I think DNA is fascinating. I had mine done last year and I discovered I have 1% Sephardic Jewish DNA. Those are the Jews that lived in Spain where the majority of my ancestors are from. I have the same DNA as Abraham and Jesus! However, when I became born again, I became a child of God and I had Jesus’ DNA in me in the form of the Holy Spirit. Though I may be blood kin to Abraham, through Jesus, I am part of the Christian family of born-again believers.
This is what Paul talks about in Galatians chapter 4. He’s talking to a mostly Gentile (non-Jewish) community. As it turns out, the Galatians are Celts. Yes, the same Celts who settled in Ireland, England and Scotland; also in Galicia, Spain, where one of my great-grandfathers was born. So, I have a special fondness for these poor, mislead folks.
Galatians Chapter 4
First I want to review where Paul ended in Chapter 3 with a powerful statement…
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.Galatians 3:26-29 NLT
Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. 2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. 3 And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.
4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” [“Daddy”] 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians
8 Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. 9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws.
You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. 13 Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News. 14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible. 16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?
17 Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. 18 If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you.
19 Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. 20 I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.(bold emphasis mine)
Abraham’s Two Children
21 Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. 23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise.
24 These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. 25 And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. 26 But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. 27 As Isaiah said,
“Rejoice, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
you who have never been in labor!
For the desolate woman now has more children
than the woman who lives with her husband!”
28 And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. 29 But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit.
30 But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.Galatians 4 NLT
Does God Know You?
This is the crucial question. For a long time, I knew who God was, and the Holy Trinity. And because God created me, He knew who I was and loved me enough to send His Son, Jesus to die for my sins in place of me. But it wasn’t until I invited Jesus into my heart and my life that He knew me.
Jesus told us…
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’Matthew 7:21-23 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Picture this — you live in one place and your parents live in another and you find yourself homeless. Where do you go? To your parent’s house. What if when you knocked on the door, your dad tells you, “I don’t know you! Go away!” You’d be hurt and dejected and homeless.
Well, imagine that scene when you’re dying. You’re alone. Not in a hospital. Maybe in a car accident. There’s no church or priest nearby to give you “last rites”. You know you’re dying. And you tell Jesus, “I went to confession every Saturday, then Mass every Sunday, I was baptized as a baby, did my first communion, confirmation, was even married in the Catholic Church. I volunteered at the soup kitchen. Hey, I even helped a priest with an exorcism! Was that enough?”
Jesus says to you, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”
“What do you mean? I did everything I was told to do?”
“You worshiped my mother, Mary, more than me. You prayed to saints when you should have gone directly through me. Those acts broke the first and second commandments.”
Then you might say, “Jesus, I’m sorry! Forgive me! I repent of my sins! Please save me!”
If you’re still alive and conscious, more than likely Jesus will forgive you and allow you into Heaven (Purgatory doesn’t exist, by the way). He loves you. He does not want you to perish. Jesus knows that you were deceived by the Roman Catholic Church. In reality, you may not have a chance to ask for Jesus’ forgiveness if you were dying.
Heirs in God’s Kingdom
Jesus told us,
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.John 14: 1-3
As part of our inheritance as heirs, we get a place in God’s mansion in Heaven!
How to Become a Child (or Heir) of God
It’s really rather simple. You already believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for your sins. Now you must Repent of your sins — stop sinning. Then be Baptized to show yourself and the world that you’re dying to your old life and rising like Jesus to a new life — as a Child of God. Then, you receive the Holy Spirit that helps sanctify you. Transformation complete!
Start by inviting Jesus into your heart and your life. If you don’t know what to say, then pray this prayer humbly and wholeheartedly…
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Please forgive me. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and my life to you. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I will follow you for the rest of my life. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…
- Start reading the Bible daily. If you don’t have one, I recommend the YouVersion, Bible.app and Through the Word app — both are free and have a lot of great daily devotionals and Bible studies.
- Pray every day. Talk to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you daily.
- Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably a non-denominational one and be baptized!
Jesus Christ is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!