Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ
God used different illustrations to drive home the same point. The Galatian saints needed to understand the basis of salvation and they needed to understand the importance of accepting God’s truth. There is no other truth and they and we need to understand this. No one can defy God and be speaking the truth.
An heir does not have the power to take possession of what he has until he is an adult. A child is like a servant in this regard. He is the future controller of the company or whatever it is that is being willed. However, as a child he cannot legally take control.
In verses 1-2 we see that the child that is the heir is under tutors. He or she cannot make wise decisions and thus is under the authority of the appointed guardians. The father of the child sets the terms of the governorship.
God gave that illustration because we understand these things. In verse 3 Paul drew this home to the spiritual situation. God taught Abraham important truths about Himself and His plan for Abraham and his descendants. Abraham taught his son Isaac the truths that God had given him. Isaac did the same for Jacob. Eventually God gave the nation of Israel the law. We have already seen that God gave them the law because of transgressions (sins). As is typical with us as people, the further we are removed from the source, the more corruption there is in the message. By the time Israel was a nation leaving Egypt, they had witnessed much idolatry and they had adopted some of the paganism of the Egyptians. Most of the Jews that left Egypt did not believe in the true God. They had a version of God that was far removed from the facts.
We know that the Pharaoh that lived after the death of Joseph did not know about Joseph and the significance of his family being in the land of Goshen. Thus he took a much different approach to the Jews. We know that the Jews were not being well taught in the fear of the LORD. Thus there were things that were becoming normative to the Jews that were sin. God put the law in place when Israel left Egypt to remind them of Who He was. He showed them that they were not living holy lives and yet that was what was required of God’s children.
In chapter 4:3 Paul began with the phrase “even so we”. He is again addressing the Jews, his people. In the Old Testament dispensation, even the Old Testament saints were generally not well taught. We know that at the time of Christ, there was much distortion of the truth. Jesus often referred back to things that were spoken of by the prophet Isaiah or Jeremiah or even of Abraham. He took man right back to the time of Creation. The Pharisees had flooded the minds of the people with false teaching. The temple was not being used as God intended it to be. Twice Jesus had to cleanse the temple in His 3 1/2 years of public ministry. Most of the O.T. saints were children. We have noted before that in God’s economy, a true believer in God is a child of God. We have already noted that not all the descendants of Abraham were his spiritual descendants. Those in the Old Testament who believed God, like Abraham were children of God, but they were not yet able to have all the benefits of being heirs of the promise because Jesus Christ had not come to fulfil the demands of the law. God knew that Jesus Christ would come. He stated “in the fulness of time”. It was not if, but when. God knew the “when”, and He did provide the necessary piece of the puzzle to make the O.T. saints complete in Christ.
Children do not have the capacity to understand or to think things through properly. Children are easily drawn into the world’s thinking and system. Sadly, if we are honest, we find that even adults are easily drawn into the world’s thinking and system. Especially unsaved adults. They have been groomed by the devil from birth and they cannot think properly because they are in darkness. Without God’s salvation, man cannot think properly.
There were O.T. saints who were true saints of God. They believed the promises of God, but God had not brought the ‘seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent’. God was not being unjust with them. Abraham had confidence in the promise of God. He looked forward to the fulfilment of God’s promise in the seed of the woman.
In verse 4 we are reminded that in the fulness of time — at just the right time, God sent forth his Son. Jesus Christ was made of a woman, under the law. Jesus Christ is eternal. He is from eternity past.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Verse 14 of that chapter makes it clear that the Word is Jesus Christ. Verse 1 tells us He was in the beginning and that He is God. Verse 2 reminds us that He was in the beginning with God. Verse 3 tells us that He created all things. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead.
He was made of a woman in that God chose to use a woman (Mary) to give flesh to the eternal Son of God. God could have done this any way He wanted to, but He chose to use the normal process in which any human being comes into this world, to give flesh to His Son.
Why did Jesus need to become flesh? Verse 5 makes this clear. We needed a Redeemer. The Jews need a Redeemer. No one can be saved unless the curse of sin is paid for. Some religions teach that Jesus Christ needed to redeem us from the devil. That is false teaching. God is the One Who cursed man. God’s holiness and righteousness needed to be satisfied. Jesus Christ — the eternal Son of God became flesh and as the sinless Son of God, He could go to the cross and He could shed His blood to make it possible for lost sinners to be forgiven and saved.
The law says we are lost and cursed. The law says that we are headed for hell.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The law says that sin must be paid for. The wages of sin is death. All of humanity could die and go to hell and that would never satisfy the righteousness of God. God did not create man to go to hell. God created man to live eternally. Due to the fall of Adam, he became a sinner, doomed for hell. God was not caught off guard by the sin of Adam. Adam had free will. He chose to disobey and sin. God promised the only solution to the sin issue in Genesis 3:15. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. We need to be adopted into God’s family. We need to be set free from the curse of sin. Jesus Christ alone can set us free from the curse of sin. This does not happen automatically. The lost person must turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
In verse 6 we see that once we are adopted into God’s family by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, when a person is saved, the Holy Spirit indwells the saint. He dwells in the heart of the born again Christian. He causes the true child of God to cry Abba, Father. The word “Abba” means “father”. It is like a young child that sees their father after he comes home from work and they cry out “daddy, daddy”. They love their father and they are excited to see him.
The saved person loves their heavenly Father and is excited to be in His presence. It is a term of endearment that is unique to the child of God. Lost people might use that name, but they do not have the relationship necessary to give the term its rightful meaning. They do not know the Lord and have no spiritual right to call Him “Abba Father”. We can cry out Abba Father now. We do not need to wait until we are in heaven. We have a relationship with the Father immediately at salvation because of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The redeemed saint is not in bondage to the law. He is no longer a servant under a governor. Now he is a son, and as a son, he is an heir of God through Christ. Without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour there can be no right relationship with God the Father. This is important to understand. There are cults that deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. To deny His deity is to deny the Father and thus to cut off the opportunity to be saved and know God’s peace.
The good news is that God is working in the hearts of lost people to bring them to salvation. The person who will listen to Him, and turn to Him in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation is given the gift of eternal life. He is set free from the bondage of sin and now can and will glorify God. He will seek to please God in his thoughts and actions. His life will be changed by God. He then needs to be fed the truth and grow in Him.