Galatians 4:1-7 KJV
1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 4 is directed to the Jews in Galatia and is describing how the law was used to bring them into a position of sons of God. Paul starts out telling the Jews that they were like children under the law. They weren’t much different than a servant. They didn’t have any more rights than the servant even though they were heirs. He is not talking about a child in somebody’s house but he’s talking about a child in the things of God. You see the law was given to teach and train the nation who God was and how they needed to act towards God. A child has to be trained by the parents in right and wrong, good and bad, honor and dishonor. The law was put in place teach these things to he nation of Israel.
Children also need to learn how to act towards their parents. The analogy that Paul uses here is a very good one. The nation of Israel is under the law as a Schoolmaster – something that would teach him to a certain age. And they were taught that until the parents decided when that was done. God would be the decider of when the schoolmaster is no longer needed. Children are somewhat in bondage to the will of the parents. They were held back by their parents to protect them because their parents love them. This is much the same as the law dictating what was acceptable behavior because God wanted to protect Israel. If we read all the curses in Deuteronomy 28 we see what he’s protecting them from. They had an enemy out there that wanted to destroy them. If they did not follow God and stay under His protection then they were open game to what the enemy wants to do. It’s not that God punished them. They open themselves up to the things of this world. And the things of this world could easily destroy them. We quoted these scriptures before, but they bear repeating now. Deuteronomy 28:15-20 says:
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
Following this is a list of curses that will come upon Israel if they stray from the law – the schoolmaster. Keep in mind, these are not punishments! These are the result of not following the law. A parent tells a child not to touch a hot stove because they will get burned. Is it punishment from the parent if the child touches that stove? A child is taught not to run with their shoe laces unties or they may trip. Is it punishment from the parent if they do trip on that shoelace. Of course not. It is a result of not following the rule. The list is endless. Until the child is out from under the tutelage of the schoolmaster, or parent, the law is what teaches them.
When God had determined that the time was come to redeem them from the law He sent Jesus. Jesus was sent to redeem Israel from under the law. This applies to both physical and spiritual Israel. This it applies to all who believe in Jesus Christ, as we have discussed before. He paid the price so we could be free. Remember the example we gave before of the Schoolmaster being a Slave that took care of the children until they were the right age? The law was that Schoolmaster God used. He kept them under the law until Christ came. Once Christ comes everything changes. Because he was born of a woman who was a virgin, He did not have Adam’s seed of sin. The Holy Ghost put God’s seed into Mary and so the child that resulted did not carry the seed of sin that have been passed down from Adam
Since Christ redeemed us from the law, we can receive the adoption into God’s family. We become the children of God. Way back in the garden God says we were made in His image. It has taken this long to get back to our rightful place beside our Father God. It is amazing to me to just think about it. I am a son of God! I am His child. He will protect me, care for mem provide for me, deliver me and shelter me. All those things a parent does for their child, God will do for me. I cry out to Him as a child calls for their parent. I honor Him and adore Him. I raise my hands to Him so He will pick me up in His arms and hold me. The Almighty God, ruler and creator of all things, is my Dad!
In verse 7 Paul writes if we are sons, then we are also heirs. Heirs to all God has – all He has made, all His gifts, all He possesses, which is everything. There is nothing withheld from His children. He always does what is good and just. He always gives us what is needed for our growth. He watches over us at all times. His will has us included in it, and no one can take that away from us. What an amazing thing this is!