Thursday 15 August 2013

Bible Book:

Galatians 4:4-7 Thursday 15 August 2013


Galatians was written by Paul to the early Christian communitiesin the Roman province of Galatia, located in the central regions ofmodern day Turkey. It was written in the earlier stages ofChristian history, when most Christians were Jewish. to an audienceof primarily Gentile Christians. Paul had previously travelled tothis area (Acts 16:6) and preached the gospel to thepeople there. This letter is a response to the actions of peoplewho had attempted, quite successfully it seems, to turn theGalatians from Paul's teachings. They had been saying that allGentile Christians also needed to become Jews and subscribe to theMosaic law (the laws given to the people through Moses in the OldTestament).

Paul's passionate retort in this letter is that redemption comesnot from fulfilling the law but because of Jesus who "redeemed usfrom the curse of the law" (Galatians 3:13). Therefore following the Jewishlaw - the general idea of which is that redemption comes fromfulfilling strict rules and offering sacrifices when failure occurs- is unnecessary.

In chapter 3 verse 7, Paul explains to the people that "thosewho believe are the descendants of Abraham". The children ofAbraham - the Jewish people - were God's chosen people set apart byhim and called to follow the law, but now all people are adoptedinto that family through faith in Jesus. They are redeemed "inorder that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come tothe Gentiles" (Galatians 3:14).

In today's passage Paul continues with the idea of being adoptedby God, going on to refer to the implications this has forinheritance. 'Adoption to sonship' is a legal Roman term. The terms'child' and 'son' are significantly different with the word 'son'having a much greater significance. 'Child' means offspring; adescendant by birth. Later in life a Greek or Roman father wouldadopt his 'child' as a 'son'; a descendant by choice, demonstratingthat he has reached a point where the father can entrust him withthe responsibility of representing him. This is when he becomes theheir.

To Ponder

  • How does being 'adopted' into God's family make you feel?
  • If living the way God wants us to isn't needed for us to beredeemed, why do it?
  • What thoughts does this passage raise for you in terms ofequality with particular reference to the phrase 'sonship'?
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