Slaves of wicked men live under perpetual fear of torment. Perhaps they became slaves because of some fearful misfortune; but they generally have no means of escape. They cannot escape, because the penalty for runaway slaves is death; they dare not try to escape because the cost of failure is torture. We are born into slavery; slavery to sin. The fear of punishment looms over every action. The whip of shame flicks constantly overhead. Slaves know only fear. All they know behind them and before them is fear.
Not so with sons. Sons are loved. They are welcomed in, the father’s pride beams over them. Sons are disciplined, certainly, but the discipline is administered as a means of correction, not as a final judgement. By Christ, we are delivered from slavery, and thus all our fears, and brought into the household of joy. In this home, God counts us as His very sons and daughters. He beams with joy over us. He gives us our portion of the inheritance. That inheritance is infinite joy. We lay claim to that inheritance by being baptized into Christ. So, these children come not as slaves, but freeborn children. They are free because of Christ’s blood, shed to deliver them from slavery.