God Thought 2/21/24

Because of God's adoption, we aren't slaves anymore.

YouVersion Bible Study
Galatians: Accepted & Free
Day 5

'My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted. Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the goodwill you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children, burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than the children of the one who is married.” Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.'

Galatians 4:1-31
Paul says we Gentiles are all heirs according to the promise. Even though the Jews had this rich heritage, they still could not realize the fullness of their inheritance until Jesus came. And so they had the law that they were subject to as well. They were actually living like slaves. They had an inheritance waiting for them, but it could not be fully realized until Jesus came as Messiah.

So he's saying, Gentiles, you have the same inheritance they had. They didn't get a head start on you. Nobody got anything until Jesus came on the scene. You are adopted as his sons and daughters. Now, my two children, my beautiful kids, they are adopted. And that has been the biggest blessing in my life. I think about all of the things that we went through to qualify and be able to adopt them. And even though they will never share our DNA, there's not anything they can ever do that will not make them be an Edwards. They will always be a part of our family. They will always be at our table. He will always be my son. She will always be my daughter. And when I think about that image, I am overcome with gratitude that God tells me I cannot undo my adoption. So Paul is trying to encourage the Galatians to not be so caught up and distracted by what the Jews say they're bringing to the table.

He was saying, at the end of the day it didn't matter if you had generations of legacy behind you or you came to know Jesus today; nobody could get the fullness of what God promised until Jesus came on the scene. So they had a guaranteed inheritance but he says it was under the control of another. It was waiting for this appointed time. There was this temporary thing that the Jews had until Jesus could come and fulfill the entire law. So Paul is encouraging the Galatians and reminding them yet again that even though the Jews had generations of religion and law and ceremony, that they had been subject to, nobody really realized the inheritance until Jesus came on the scene. He says they were like children and they were no different from slaves. It's like if you are a child and at age 18 your parents or maybe a distant relative has some inheritance waiting for you. From zero to 18 you may have the inheritance waiting, but you can't really live in that inheritance because it's under the guardianship of someone else.

Jesus is the person that allows us to realize the fullness of our adoption. So Paul says, don't live like you don't already have your inheritance. A child that has an inheritance waiting for them, well, they don't have to be fully responsible. Someone else is managing the money, managing the resources. They can do whatever they want to do because they're not ultimately responsible, but a day is going to come when the inheritance is going to be handed to them and it would be unwise for them to continue to act like an eight-year-old after they've realized their inheritance. Paul is saying, you have everything that you need in Christ Jesus. Why would you choose to live immaturely when God has given you the fullness of your inheritance? How many times as adults do we still act like children when God is saying, you have everything you need, you don't have to throw a temper tantrum. You don't have to complain about what God hasn't given you, what someone else has in comparison. You have it all, and Paul is driving this point home because if we don't think we have it all, then we'll still be looking for it in lesser sources.

We will believe what someone else says. We will seek approval, seek affirmation from places that can never give what Jesus has already given us. So what elementary principles might we still be enslaved to? Paul is talking about simple things. They really should not occupy our minds as much as they do. Is it money? Is it that your whole life you said, "I just don't want to be poor?" "I want to make a certain income." Is it a career? Is it some promotion that you want? Is it attaining that certain degree? Is it the family that you've always wanted? Those things are important, but they are minor things compared to the inheritance that we have in Jesus. Paul says, if we are living like we don't have the inheritance that Jesus has given us, it's like an adult that still has to be told when to go to bed.

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