By Brooke Holt
“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:1-7 NIV)
By Brooke Holt
Growing up can be hard to do! We move from being dependent children to adults expected to take responsibility for ourselves. While this transition can be hard, it also affords many privileges and blessings. Inheritances that have been withheld from the immature child are then freely given. Opportunities the child was not ready to take on are now open and available. There is freedom that comes with maturity.
The apostle Paul was calling the Galatian Christians to embrace this freedom brought by spiritual maturity. They were children and heirs of God, and as such, they were no longer bound to the law. Jesus Christ came to redeem them from that law.
So why would they keep looking back to the law? With the death and resurrection of Jesus, God’s people were invited into the new covenant, a covenant of grace, not works. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new gift included direct access to the Father. They were to address him as “Abba, Father” (verse 7). He now knew them intimately and perfectly, loved them with a steadfast and unconditional love, and continually invited them to know him and enjoy an intimate relationship with him.
While the Judaizers called the Galatians to look back to the old covenant of works, Paul would remind them repeatedly of the new covenant. They were free children of God — full participants and full heirs in the kingdom of God. All this was a gift from God which they could only receive and not earn.
What can you learn from this segment of Galatians? Do you ever look back to the law of God and long to earn his love and favor? Are you walking in spiritual maturity, claiming the rights and privileges of being a child of God? Do you address your heavenly Father in intimate terms knowing he loves for his children to come to him authentically, bringing the fullness of your desires, hurts, and needs to his heavenly throne?
Jesus paid a great price for your freedom! May you release the old to fully embrace his new work in you!
Are you receiving the new life of Christ today? What new thing does he want to work in you? What old thing is he calling you to release—shame, guilt, fear, control, unworthiness, or performance? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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