Galatians 4:4-7 Devotional Commentary

For you: Devotional Commentary for December 5-11

Galatians 4:4–7 (NASB)

4:4-7
4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul dealt with the false teachings of the Judaizers regarding the Law and Grace. He protected his children-in-the-Spirit by exposing the falsehood of the Judaizers and by reiterating the Truth of the Gospel of redemption and Grace he already preached to them. Using the family structure as metaphor, he showed them how they were slaves under the Law and how they were set free by Grace, when God sent His Son in keeping with His time and purpose.

According to His Will, Time, and Purpose, God sent His Son into the world to secure the redemption of the lost by His Righteousness and by His atoning sacrifice. After laying down His life for the salvation of sinners, Jesus Christ the Son of God actually became the Way out of sin, darkness, condemnation, and bondage. Jesus was sent to earth as a humble human Baby, born of the Virgin Mary, subject to the rules of the Mosaic Law. He is the Word Who became flesh and dwelt among men. He is born subject to the Law into a nation under the Law so that He might fulfill with His righteousness the Law violated by man.

Jesus Christ was sent to earth to satisfy the legitimate demands of the Law justly imposed on all transgressors. He came not only to fulfill the Law with His perfect and righteous obedience, but also to pay with His life for the freedom of those who were condemned to death by the Law. Since Jesus is the only One to live an absolutely righteous life in absolute righteousness and obedience, He is the only unblemished Lamb of God Whose sacrifice satisfied the Law. By His atoning death, Jesus set the captives free so that those who are rescued from condemnation could be adopted as God’s redeemed children.

The process of redemption, regeneration, or New Birth into the family of God is not observable in the same way as biological birth. There is no physical infant coming into this world when a spiritual birth takes place. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, the New Birth is real and spiritual but just not in the physical sense.

In this transformation, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the heart of the individual He redeems, transforming the lost from darkness to light and from death to life through the process of regeneration which He initiates and executes. The Holy Spirit generates a spiritual sense of awareness in the heart of the believer and confirms the effective change that takes place during spiritual birth, giving the redeemed a sense of belonging to our Father in heaven. The child of God then recognizes God as true Father, Creator, and Redeemer, and in a new intimacy calls Him “Abba! Father!”

Paul sought to restore the faith of the Galatian Christians by assuring them that their transformation is irreversible. They have been transformed from bondage to freedom and from slavery to being children. They are no longer slaves. They have been made the children of God by the Grace of God.

Those who are set free from bondage are no longer slaves to what was holding them under the yoke of subjection to the Law. In fact, once free from bondage and condemnation, God’s children are made heirs of the heavenly inheritance through Jesus Christ. Once freed, the redeemed can never return to a life of condemnation, because the way back to bondage under the Law is sealed-shut by the life, death, and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who took away the sins of the world—the only reason for the authority of the Law over the lost. Paul preached Grace to the Galatians instead of condemning them, because they were the children of Grace.

Notes/Applications

The Galatians heard the Gospel from Paul. They responded in faith and they believed. But they failed to act on what they heard and believed.

Paul was shocked to observe such a contrary behavior. He was so dumbfounded by the behavior of the Galatians. He asked them: "… who … bewitched you" enough to entice you back to the slavery from which you were set free by the Grace of God? He called them fools because they were trying to earn what God has already graciously given them freely at the cost of His righteous Son's life.

Even though they believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ when they first heard the message of salvation, the Galatians quickly fell victim to the seduction of an appealing theological philosophy and the scheming devices of the enemies of the Gospel. Because they were not firmly grounded in the knowledge of the spiritual transformation that had taken place in their lives, they easily strayed from the Truth. They deviated from the true Gospel because they were deceived by a well-reasoned falsehood.

The Galatians were spiritually immature and were, therefore, infants. They became defenseless prey to the Judaizers, who sought to draw them back to subjection under the Law. They did not necessarily prefer slavery to freedom. They did not consciously favor bondage. But because they did not correctly comprehend their own identity as children of God’s Grace, they were easily misled by false teaching. Because they listened to the Judaizers, their understanding of their newness in Christ was distorted by a sense of indebtedness to the Law. To them, the Law became more real than the Grace of God, even though they were saved by Grace through faith from the just condemnation of the Law to which they were called back by the Judaizers.

They did not fully grasp the magnitude of the salvation they received through Jesus Christ. They did not grow in the knowledge of the finished work of Jesus Christ by which they became God’s children and "joint-heirs with His Son. They did not understand their freedom in Christ and traded their privilege-in-Grace with slavery to the Law.

The Galatians tried to build their Spirit-instilled faith by their obedience to the Law. The Law could not save anyone because it requires perfect submission in righteousness and in holiness. Because of sin, fallen man could never qualify for salvation under the Law. Therefore, Christ the Righteous and Holy Son of God became our Righteousness and our Holiness. He purchased our redemption with His atoning death on the Cross and His glorious Resurrection from the dead. But the Galatians were easily dissuaded from the Truth because they stagnated in spiritual infancy.

Paul speaks with the same passion to everyone of God's redeemed children regarding the reality of our salvation in the Grace of God. In his letter to the "Ephesians, Paul prayed that we would be enlightened by the Truth and be filled with knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He interceded with God our Father that we would know that the Power of God which raised His Son Jesus Christ from the dead also works in us raising us from death in our sin to a New Life in His Grace. God's Word is "the Lamp unto our feet and the Light unto our path. But our salvation and sustenance is by His Grace. That was the Truth the Galatians missed. That is the Truth revealed to us as we meditate upon His Word.

The liturgical calendar of the Christian community reminds us that we are in the advent season, November 28 through December 24, this year. It is the time when we meditate on the first coming of the promised Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, while anticipating His return. The birth of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham. In His promise to Abraham, God reiterated the promise of redemption He gave to Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ is the Seed of the woman Who crushed the head of the serpent. Jesus Christ is the Word Who became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus Christ: the promised Messiah Who had already come.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

We encourage you to frequently visit our website where you can find weekly devotional readings and helpful blogs.

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