Friday, June 2
3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Gal 4:3-7 ESV)
I find Galatians 4:4 to be one of the most incredible verses in the Bible. It points to the truth that God always had a plan. There are times in life when we make things up as we go along. Those moments are more reactive than preplanned. On the other hand, God is not reactive but has a determined plan that will bring Him honor and glory.
One part of His plan was to send a Savior to redeem humanity. The Savior would come in the fullness of time, or put another way at just the right time. We can look at history to try and deduce why the time was right. History can give us some indications, common language of the day, relative peace in the Roman Empire, roads to travel, or the failure of worldly philosophies to satisfy. Ultimately God said the time was right. Even though it is interesting to speculate, it can distract us from the larger implication of the verses.
The illustration in the passage compares what it means to be a slave as opposed to being an heir. When a child was born into a Roman family, the child was placed under the authority of a slave. The child, even though he is the heir, had to obey the slave placed over him. To a certain degree, the child did not have as much freedom as the slave. This was the position of the Jewish people under the law. They were slaves to the law. The role of the law was to guard them as it prepared them for the coming Messiah.
When a Roman child became of age, the time appointed by the father, the child moved from a position of guardianship to claim his inheritance. Likewise, God the Father, at the appointed time sent His Son, the Messiah, to redeem His people from the law. Part of the redemption process is to move us from the position of slaves to the position of sons. It is amazing to be freed from being a slave. It is glorious to then be elevated to the position of sonship.
That is why I think verse 4 is so incredible. It tells us from eternity past, God always had a plan to redeem man from the curse of the law. God always had a plan to adopt us. God always wanted a personal relationship with His creation. God always wanted us in His family. That is good news.
“Father, thank you for appointing a time to redeem us. How glorious it is for you to call us your son or daughter. Today, may our lives bring glory to you, our Abba. Amen.”
Wednesday, May 31
1 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, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. (Gal 4:1-2 ESV)
Many of us have been to the Biltmore House in Asheville. We marvel at the 178,926 square foot chateau containing 250 rooms and sitting on, originally at least, 125,000 acres of land. I would even go so far as to suggest we have thought how cool it would be one of Vanderbilt’s children.
Think through that for just a moment. One day you would be the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune, $200 million in 1880. You would get to enjoy all the rights and privileges of being the Vanderbilt heir. However, even though those rights and privileges are yours, as a child you can not write a check drawing from your inheritance. While you are a child, guardians and managers are preparing you for the day you take over the family fortune. Then you can write the million dollar checks.
This is the illustration Paul uses in the opening of chapter 4. You are an heir. But instead of an heir to an earthly fortune, you are heir to the kingdom of God. What do we inherit? First, we inherit God Himself. One day we will dwell with God, and He will dwell with us (Rev. 21:3). The greatest inheritance for believers is to see our God, our Creator, the One who loved us from the foundation of the world, face to face. Second, we will inherit glorified bodies. To be able to live with God for all eternity, we need bodies to match. Our new bodies will not decay, get sick, hurt, or ache. Instead our new bodies will be perfect and able to fully enjoy the presence of God. Third, we inherit the world. In Romans 4:13 we are told, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” This inheritance is not only for Abraham but all who follow him in the righteousness of faith. Finally, we inherit all things. Jesus is appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). As joint heirs with Jesus, we inherit all things as well. What is “all things?” It is the catchall for everything we can imagine and everything we can’t imagine.
I have to admit, it would be pretty cool to be a Vanderbilt heir. As vast and amazing as his fortune was, it can never compare with the inheritance we have as children of God. To borrow the language from the author of Hebrews, how much greater will our inheritance as heirs with Christ be than any earthly inheritance we can imagine now.
“Father, thank you for making us heirs with Christ. Thank you for all that entails, what we know and even what we don’t. May we live today like the children of the King we are. Amen”
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