"So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir." Galatians 4:7 NIV
In Roman society when a young person came of age he was given a special toga which admitted him to the full rights of the family and society, and indicated he was a grown up by his father. Jewish, Grecian and Roman societies all had a similar ceremony for their sons. Under Roman law the age of maturity was determined by the father, and formal acknowledgement of heirship followed.
Paul used the ceremonial illustration of maturity and coming-of-age to remind believers of our birthright.
"What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate." Galatians 4:1 NIV
There is a famous study about five monkeys, a banana and freezing water. The basic story goes like this... five monkeys were in a cage with a ladder leading up to a dangling banana. Each time the monkeys tried to reach for the banana they were sprayed with cold water. Eventually the monkeys stopped reaching for the banana. One by one the monkeys who experienced the cold water were replaced by new monkeys, but if a new monkey reached for the banana they were pulled off the ladder by the monkeys that had experienced the cold water. Eventually all five monkeys were new.... none experienced the cold water... yet none reached for the banana. The monkeys became a slave to the culture taught to them in the cage.
As Christians, Paul employed us to not live as a young child, immature in our faith... someone who really owns the entire estate but has no power to make decisions for we are no better than slaves. Our Father has called us heirs, given us a new garment, and provided us with full access. Why would we want to settle for anything less? Why do we allow culture or the things of this world to tell us who we are?
Friends, we are no longer slaves. We have nothing to fear, for there is nothing He can't overcome in our lives! We know God and are known by God. Let us embrace being children of the Father... sons, daughters, heirs!