This is the sermon for Sunday, September 19th, 2010.

Galatians 4:1-7 HCSB – 1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba , Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Introduction: Last time we asked the question, “To whom to you belong?”  Here are the main points from the sermon:

  • The importance of baptism (Galatians 3:27).
  • Belonging to Christ brings one-ness (Galatians 3:28).
  • If we belong to Christ, then we are heirs (Galatians 3:29).

Paul now goes further into this idea of being an heir according to the promise.  In verses 1-7 Paul is going to explain further what he has been arguing.  Let’s begin unpacking our text.

Before Christ came, we were heirs under guardianship under the Law.

Galatians 4:1-3  – 1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.

Paul is developing an argument he made in Chapter 3.

Galatians 3:23-25 – 23 Before this faith came, we were confined under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith was revealed. 24 The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. 25 But since that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

In these verses in Chapter 3 he described the Law as a jailor, or guardian and that we were locked up to it until Christ came.

Now he uses another illustration:  an underage heir.  In the Greek and Roman culture of Paul’s day if a death happened, an underaged heir could not just do whatever he wanted with the inheritance.  He was put under guardianship until the appointed time.  In essence, the heir was basically a household slave until the time set by his father had come.  When that time came, he was free to fully receive the inheritance, and do what he would with it.

Before Christ came we were slaves to the Law; bound to it, and also breaking it.  But the promise – Jesus Christ – has come.  And as heirs, we are no longer slaves to the Law – but children with rights and privileges.

Now what does Paul mean by, “…were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world” (verse 3)? Let me quote from the verse 3 commentary of the Reformation Study Bible: “The Greek phrase refers to the basic elements that make up the world; in ancient thought, these were earth, wind, water, and fire.  Sometimes these elements were referred too as deities governing the universe.  Here Paul may be thinking especially of the sacred calendar of the Law, it’s seasons determined by heavenly bodies.  Legalism subjected life to the control of the structures of the world.”

When Christ came, so came adoption.

Galatians 4:4-5 – 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Remember Chapter 4:2 – “he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.”

Well, it’s the same language and concept in 4:4 – “When the time came to completion.” The set, predetermined time of the heavenly Father had come.  Jesus didn’t come one moment too early, or one moment too late, but at the Father’s set time.

Notice how Jesus came:

  • He was sent by God (verse 4). This means he was fully God.
  • He was born of a woman (verse 4). This means He was fully human.
  • He was born under the Law (verse 4). He lived under the Mosaic Law.
  • To redeem those under the Law (verse 5). He bought back two kinds of people: (1) the Jew under slavery to the Mosaic Law; (2) the Gentile under slavery to sin (breaking the Law).
  • That we might receive adoption as sons (verse 5). This adoption is not as underage children still enslaved until the appointed time.  But full grown children adopted unto full rights and privileges.

As God’s adopted children God sent His Spirit to live in our hearts.

Galatians 4:6-7 – 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba , Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

I like what the ESV Study Bible’s notes says on this passage: “Because Christians are now sons and of age, they are in a position to receive the inheritance, beginning with the promised Spirit of His Son.”

It is the Spirit that God has sent to us that cries out, “Abba Father.”  “Abba” is Aramaic and basically means, “Pappa, Daddy.”  This speaks of a loving, close relationship.  This is what we receive as adopted children.

Conclusion: When you are in Christ, you are adopted as Children with full rights and privileges as heirs, not under guardianship of the Law.  He fills us with His Spirit and this Spirit cries out within us, “Daddy Father!”  What a wonderful truth.  It only becomes a reality through faith in Jesus Christ.  Trust in Him today.

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