“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.” Galatians 4:1-2
In this chapter Paul is going to try to explain to the Galatians what he means by living in freedom of Christ and living under the law. I’ll be honest, I had to read this chapter several times and read commentary to really glean what Paul was trying to say here. He starts out explaining to them what it means to be the heir and what it means to be enslaved. Children of a wealthy estate are under the guardianship and guidance of their parents and in some cases maybe even the adult slaves. However the adult slaves will never inherit the estate. The children will grow up and inherit the estate. Paul is saying that when people were under the law, before Jesus came that is how they were. They were like the children of the estate that would inherit all the benefits of knowing God, however they would never really grow up. They would always live under the law and the rules and the regulations. But after Jesus came, we are not only like the slaves but we have been redeemed into God’s kingdom as his sons, as His grown up sons who not only inherit but get to walk in the freedom of calling Him our Father.
“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 4:6
Don’t miss the term Abba! Young children usually call their earthy father Daddy. They may grow up to call him Dad. But the term Daddy is an affectionate one. It doesn’t just show the relationship as child and father, it shows an intimacy. Saying Abba in Aramaic is like saying Daddy. It is affectionate. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can be so affectionate and intimate with God as to call him Daddy. Not just Father! And furthermore our hearts can cry out to Him Daddy! My first thought here was like a young child who has had a nightmare in the middle of the night. He is going to cry out DADDY! We get to do that!
“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?” Galatians 4:8-9
People who do not know God or who are not known by God, see this christian life as if being enslaved. The Galatians had apparently at some point bought into what Paul was teaching them of freedom in Christ and they had come to know God and were known by God. But they were slipping back into the patterns of slavery. Of looking at the law and the christian life as a list of rules and regulations in which to keep. This troubled Paul and he quite frankly couldn’t understand why they would want to do it. In verses 8 – 20, Paul is showing concern for the Galatians. So much so he compares his concern with the anguish of childbirth.
“my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” Galatians 6:19
Have you ever had someone you wanted to know Christ and the freedom of Christ so badly that you almost felt like you were in anguish of childbirth over them? That is how Paul felt about the Galatians.
“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son by the free woman was born through the promise.” Galatians 6:21-23
We are children of the promise like Isaac. We do not have to live under the law but we can let the law be our guide. I found this quote from Spurgeon that explained the law and freedom from the law so well.
“The law is under a Christian; it is for him to walk on, to be his guide, his rule, his pattern… Law is the road which guides us, not the rod which drives us, nor the spirit which actuates us.” (Spurgeon)
I loved that the law is no longer our list of rules, however it is our guide. Just like a parent starts out raising children with rules, as the children grow the rules lessen and the parent attempts to make them more of a guide for the children to live by, teaching the children to make decisions for themselves and to use the rules of the family as their guide to a good life. We start out seeing the law as rules, but as we mature in our relationship with Christ, these laws simply become a guide to live by and not rules to live under.
Lord Jesus may we live with the law as our guide and with you as our best friend and may we be so intimate with God as to call You Daddy!!!
Please pray for the President, Vice President and our government leaders today. Please also pray for the upcoming election.