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Summary: Relying on external law is the bondage of slavery. Jesus redeemed us from the law & made us heirs of God. The Christian does not need to wait to enjoy the riches of Christ. If he is a son then he is an heir.

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[Romans 8:15-17]

One of the tragedies of legalism is that it gives the appearance of maturity when, in reality, it leads the believer away from a spiritual dependance upon God. The Galatian Christians, like most believers, wanted to grow and go forward for Christ; but they were going about it in the wrong way. Their experience is not too different from that of Christians today who get involved in legalism, hoping to become better Christians. Their motives may be right, but their methods are wrong.

This is the truth Paul is trying to get across to his beloved converts in Galatia. The Judaizers had bewitched them into thinking that the Law would make them better Christians. Their old nature felt an attraction for the Law because the Law gave them direction and measured external results. As they measured themselves and their achievements, they felt a sense of accomplishment, and, no doubt, a little bit of pride. They continued serving the law thinking they were going forward when actually they were backsliden.

Such people are in a situation similar to the airplane passengers who heard their pilot announce: "Our navigator has lost our position, folks, and we have been flying rather aimlessly for over an hour. That’s the bad news. But the good news is the we are making very good time."

Relying on external law is the bondage of slavery. Jesus redeemed us from the law and made us heirs of God (CIT). The Christian does not need to wait to enjoy the riches of Christ. If he is a son then he is an heir.




In verses one and two Paul uses a legal analogy to illustrate the difference between living under the Law verses living under Christ. Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,

The illustration is that of a wealthy estate whose heir is still a minor. No matter how wealthy a young father might be if he dies his minor children will have to wait for their inheritance until they are of age. Though this child is the legal heir and accordingly the owner of everything, yet with respect to taking possession of and exercising control over the estate that has been left to him, he is no better off than a slave.

The reason for his inferior position is because he is under the guardianship of a minor as verse 2 states. but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.

Until the child attains to the age stipulated by the father he is heir by right (de jure) but not yet in fact (de facto). For the interim the child as stipulated by his father’ testament is under guardians, over whom his care has been entrusted. The heir’s estate was under the stewards or managers (often slaves) to whom the supervision of his estate has been entrusted (Lk.12:42; 16:1ff; Rom. 10:23). [Roman law (tutela impuberis) provided for the child to be under a guardian or tutor appointed by the father until he was fourteen. The estate was under a steward appointed by the state until he was 25.] The point is that the heir did not receive his full inheritance until the authority of these guardians ended.

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