15 August 2015

Galatians 4:4-7

"When the fullness of time had come God sent his Son." (v.4)

Psalm: Psalm 45



There are plenty of words or phrases that need unpacking in today's passage!

'The fullness of time'(v. 4) (or right time) refers perhaps to that moment when various factors combined to make it opportune for God to send God's own son. Roman roads with guards to protect them and the common use of the Greek and Roman language made communication easier. The old mythical gods were losing their hold and the law of Moses had done its work so that women and men were hungry for a religion that could satisfy and set free.

'Redeem' (v. 5) can either mean to 'set free' (perhaps a slave set free by a generous owner) or to 'buy back' what is rightfully yours (say, from a pawnshop). But in either case God sends God's own Son to do what humankind cannot do for itself.

'Adopt' (v. 5) A member of a Sunday School where I was minister was being made fun of at his Junior School for being adopted. Eventually he could stand it no more. "Well at least my parents chose me!" he said. "Yours had to take what they were given!" In the same way Paul (who wrote this letter to the Galatians) reminds us God has made a deliberate choice to bring us into God's own his family and to call us God's own children.

'Abba' (v. 6) is an Aramaic word nearer to 'Daddy' than 'Father' in English. It suggests the intimate relationship that God now shares with us through redemption and adoption.

'Heir' (v.7) What Christ inherited as a son, we also inherit as God's children - the power of the Holy Spirit, the riches of grace and the promise of eternal life.

To Ponder

  • Does God always come at the right time?
  • If each child of God is precious, how should that affect the way we think and act towards others? Does it?

Bible notes author

Revd Leo Osborn

The Reverend Lionel E. Osborn (known as Leo) was born in Birmingham in 1952.