Heirs and Sons Galatians 4:1-9
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And 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. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
An Heir 4:1-3
An Heir 4:1-3
Paul uses the term “heir” in verse 1, what is an heir? He is the one set to inherit what has been designated as the inheritance.
So, in verses 1-3 Paul is saying that even though an heir is set to inherit all of his inheritance, as long as he is a child he is under supervision until his father determines when it is appropriate for him to receive his inheritance. Either upon the father’s death, or if the father so chooses, when the son comes of age.
Why would it be foolish to give a child an inheritance? Because the child is immature, make bad choices, could ruin him, no work ethic, spoiled, lazy, glutton, immoral, etc.
So if the father dies while the child is young, managers and supervisors are put in place, to protect the child from himself and the world until he’s ready to take his full inheritance.
Paul says that this is how we are. When we were young, we were foolish, immature, didn’t make wise decisions, in fact even though we thought we knew how to live and what was right, we had no idea. We were fooled by the principals of the world.
What are the principals of the world? Take care of yourself, look out for number 1, do what you think is best for you, you can determine what’s right and wrong as it suits you, get all you can, happiness is central, etc.
But God, Son V.4-7
But God, Son V.4-7
But God wouldn’t leave us this way. At just the right time, God sent us His Son, Jesus, who was born of a woman and born under the law, meaning Jesus, even though He was God was also fully human. His deity veiled beneath His humanity.
Jesus was subject to all that we are subject to, the same world system, the same temptations, and yet was without sin.
Part of the “why” to Jesus coming is in verse 5, to redeem us.
Redemption, can mean to make up for something bad with something good, the guy makes and error, but then gets a big hit and redeems himself.
Where does the word “redeem” come from? It is from the ancient slave market, it’s a term that means to buy out from, as in to purchase a slave for the purpose of setting him free. This came at a cost to the purchaser, and was for the benefit of the slave, for his freedom.
So Paul says here that we, those who are followers of Jesus, have been bought out of being slaves to this world and its system, and have been brought into a new relationship, not one as slaves, but one as now sons of God.
Adoption in the Roman world was super significant. If you had a son who dishonored you, lived a wayward life, you could legally disown him.
But when you adopted a son, he instantly became as one of you own biological sons, with all privileges and benefits, but with one massive difference, an adopted son could never be disowned, never kicked out of the family. This is what Paul says we are. Not natural born sons, but through faith in Jesus, His work to redeem us from slavery to this world and its system, He purchased not only our freedom, but brought us to God to be adopted and we now are His sons.
Jesus brought us to God, and now because He gives His followers His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, we through His power can now call God Abba, which means Father or actually daddy. And if we are no longer slaves, but sons, then we are also heirs through God, our inheritance is heaven.
This is all done by God, for us through Jesus, and given to us by faith, this is not done by us, all by Him. We receive it by faith.
Why do you turn back? V8-9
Why do you turn back? V8-9
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
Before we truly knew God, through Jesus, we were unknowingly slaves to the system of the world, we were willing participants, and our allegiance was to ourself, to serve ourself. But now because we’ve been freed from the system that brings us brokenness, misery, and death, Paul asks why would we go back? It’s because we don’t fully understand who we now are and what God has done for us. The old ways are familiar, but not healthy or good, they bring death and not life, emptiness not fulfillment. We have to grow in our understanding of who we now are in Christ, who God says we are, and not who the world or the lies in our heads say we are. Listen to this analogy.
The analogy of the homeless beggar, who sleeps in the alley, and eats from the dumpster. One day a limo pulls up and a man tells him to get in, he brings him to his mansion, cleans him up, clothes him in new clothes, and has him dine with him at his table. Gives him a room and informs him he’s been adopted by him and is now his son. The man is a king and his son is now a prince.
The analogy of the homeless beggar, who sleeps in the alley, and eats from the dumpster behind an Italian restaurant. One day a limo pulls up and a man tells him to get in, he brings him to his mansion, cleans him up, clothes him in new clothes, and has him dine with him at his table. Gives him a room and informs him he’s been adopted by him and is now his son. The man is a king and his son is now a prince. At first this seems too good to be true, awesome, but unbelievable. The more days he spends in the mansion the more real it becomes, but still hard to believe. As time goes by, the once homeless man may actually reminisce about the alley, maybe his new bed is too soft, or maybe he may miss the pizza crust and Italian food he ate in the dumpster. So he leaves the palace, he returns to his old alley, and lies down on the ground. It won’t take too long to realize how hard and uncomfortable this is, how had he forgotten? Well, hunger sets in and it’s time for a dive. Into the dumpster he goes and finds some pizza crust and chicken parm. The crust is ok, the chicken parm cold, and neither nearly as good as he remembered. And then the smell of it all hits him, its horrible, how had he never noticed. This place is dreadful, and then shame sets in. What have I done, he thinks? How could I leave a place so good and come back to this? How can I ever go back? My new father will be so disappointed. As he’s thinking these thoughts, the limo pulls up, door swings open and his dad is sitting there, not angry, but almost sad, not hurt, but hurting for his son. Get in he says, the ride home is quiet, but no judgement or condemnation from his father. As he tries to explain and apologize, his father stops him, it’s ok he says, I understand, he says. All that he allows him to say is I’m sorry. It’ll take a while for the son to grow into who he now is, he may fail again, but over time he will truly believe he is the son of a king, he is now a prince. Once he believes it his actions will follow, more right living less wrong. That alley will become a distant memory hopefully never to be returned to again, it’s not what he wants thats for sure. He wants to be the prince now, thats who is now.