I grew up as one of five daughters. Friends could always spot our family on the road because of our specialty license plates that read “DAWTRS5” and “GIRLSR5.”
I also became an adopted daughter of God at a young age. I loved the idea of being his daughter so much that I started blogging under the name “Daughter Redeemed.”
Being a daughter is a big part of who I am.
So, when I studied the book of Galatians with women at my church and read that we are “sons of God” (Galatians 3:26), my natural inclination was to add the words “and daughters.” Seems harmless, right? What I learned, however, is that Paul didn’t leave out daughters by accident. By referring to both his male and female hearers as “sons” instead of “sons and daughters,” he communicated the status we share together in God’s kingdom — we are all heirs through Christ.
Sons and Heirs
Paul refers elsewhere to “daughters to [God]” and “children of God” (2 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 8:16), so why did he choose to say just “sons” in Galatians 4:6–7:
Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
In ancient cultures, sons were named as the legal heirs. In turn, husbands and fathers were expected to provide for the women of their households. Being a direct heir, in society, would not have been possible for the Galatian women, though they would receive a kind of indirect inheritance through marriage.
Imagine the Galatian women coming to hear of this new status in God’s kingdom as Paul speaks in these otherwise familiar terms. Picture these women hearing Paul’s letter read — a letter addressed to the entire Galatian church. They understood sonship and all that it entailed, so hearing that God had given both brothers and sisters together the status of sons would have blown them away! God stepped in and radically declared that men and women are one in Christ, equally privileged and exalted (Galatians 3:28), co-heirs together (1 Peter 3:7). In his kingdom, both men and women receive the full inheritance through faith in him.
In his loving kindness, our heavenly Father allows us to share in this same inheritance today. While the notion of “gender equality” may not sound quite as foreign to our modern ears, the mystery of God’s unmerited favor and grace should continue to fill us with tremendous awe. We, who were once slaves, are not only sons, but heirs of God. Sisters, this is extraordinary news!
Scope and Span of Our Inheritance
As sons of God, we don’t receive just any inheritance. Ours is far better than any worldly inheritance in both its scope and its span.
The scope of our inheritance is the very kingdom of God.
In Children, Heirs, and Fellow Sufferers, John Piper writes, “Our inheritance as children of God includes at least this: the world and all that is in it; God himself as our final and ultimate portion and reward; and new, glorified bodies that can enjoy more fully and deeply God and his gifts with no hint of idolatry.”
The span of our inheritance is eternity.
As those “born again to a living hope,” we look forward to “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading” (1 Peter 1:3–4). Worldly inheritances are easily squandered, but the inheritance we receive from God lasts forever.
Sealed by the Spirit
You’ve probably heard nightmare stories about worldly inheritances gone awry — the pair of sisters who feud over mom’s fine china, the father who neglected to update his will, the widow who discovers that her husband gambled their savings away.
We are guaranteed nothing this side of heaven.
When God adopted us as sons, however, he gave us a down payment on our inheritance: his very Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who keeps our inheritance safe and who seals our status as sons of God (Ephesians 1:13–14). No loophole nor technicality can rob us of our inheritance in Christ. We can rest easy, knowing that the Spirit guarantees our hope.
Children of the Most High
As our own society fights against the abuse and mistreatment of women by men in authority, women of God can rejoice in knowing that our Father loves us so much that he sent his own Son to die for us so that we would no longer be slaves, but sons and heirs of God. In Christ, we have an imperishable birthright.
Fellow daughters, you are chosen heirs of the Most High God. Embrace your status as sons, live as children of the promise, and look forward with joy to the inheritance that awaits you.