by Ellen Ceely
“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian… 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.” - Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7
A continuous theme of Jesus’ coming to earth is one of transformation. Christ didn’t come to enforce the law; he came to fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17). Jesus didn’t come to discipline us, but to replace our disciplinarian with his grace and mercy. Because of our faith in Jesus and what he accomplished here on earth, we are no longer subject to the law.
Why would God do this? Paul makes it very clear in this passage from Galatians why God would send “his Son, born of a woman, born under the law”: in order to redeem us. God wanted to bring us into his family, to adopt us as his children! The only way he could do that was through Jesus coming to earth to live a perfect life and give himself as the perfect sacrifice on our behalf.
Because of what Christ has done, we are no longer slaves to the law but righteous sons and daughters of God! God put the law of the Old Testament in place to help keep his people safe until Jesus could come to defeat sin and death. The law kept us safe, but it also kept us imprisoned. Now we live in the freedom only Christ can bring, transformed by his sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Living in the freedom of Christ as children of God doesn’t mean we do whatever we want whenever we want. Paul makes it clear throughout Galatians that Jesus’ salvation is not a free pass to live a life of rampant sin. Rather, as God’s children, we are heirs of God’s kingdom. Because we are his children and heirs, we listen to the Holy Spirit, daily pick up our cross and follow him.
Thinking of the role of a child can be a wonderful thing for some and a difficult thing for others. How does thinking of God as your Father transform and encourage your mindset? What does it mean to you personally to be his child? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit a "gift" who will guide us, lead us, and empower us. Yet many believers don't experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. This unique Christian small group Bible study provides a space in which we can explore what it truly means to "walk in the Spirit" on a daily basis. The Spirit-Filled Life small group curriculum centers on a 6-part video teaching series examining the life-giving and creative work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Begin to experience the gift today!
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