Friday 24 May 2019

Bible Book:

So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (v. 7)

Galatians 4:1-7 Friday 24 May 2019

Psalm: Psalm 130


Today marks the conversions of John and Charles Wesley, and for such an occasion today's reading is particularly appropriate. This is a text about experiencing salvation in the Son and life in the Spirit, and so the fullness of life that God brings.  

Paul draws a contrast within the passage between life under the law and the life of faith, a contrast key within the letter as a whole (Galatians 3:23-29). Living under the law, Paul claims, was a little like living under a guardian or trustee (vs. 1-2). In such a state, sons are like slaves; although owning the property, they have no access to it. Worse, life under the law was a kind of bondage, involving slavery to the "elemental spirits of the world" (v. 3). This verse is much discussed, but probably refers to the way in which sin used the law to enslave those under it (cf Romans 7:7-12).

But now, Paul explains, the "fullness of time has come" and God has sent his Son to save us (v. 4). The phrase "born of a woman" emphasises Jesus’ humanity, while the reference to "born under the law" may point to the way in which Jesus fully fulfilled it. God sent his Son both to redeem us, forgiving us from sin, and to adopt us, making us children in the family of God.

As adopted children, God also sends the Spirit into our hearts (v. 6). The Spirit who lived in Jesus lives in us too and allows us to pray to God as our Father. The term "Abba", Aramaic for Father or Dad, echoes the term Jesus used in his own prayer life (Mark 14:36). As we share the life of the Son, so we are drawn into prayer.

Paul ends with a summary verse (v. 7); as children of God we’re also heirs of God, and all this comes "through God", by God’s grace.


To Ponder:

  • Does the experience of moving from ‘slave’ to ‘child’ resonate with your own experience of faith?
  • In what ways does the image of adoption shape your understanding of salvation?
Previous Page Thursday 23 May 2019
Next Page Saturday 25 May 2019