Summary: God the Son invaded time and space and took on our humanity. God the Creator of the galaxies, came down through forty and two generations and as someone has said, “put on a robe of flesh” becoming just like us yet without sin.
(Gal 4:3 NKJV) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
(Gal 4:4 NKJV) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
(Gal 4:5 NKJV) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
(Gal 4:6 NKJV) And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"
(Gal 4:7 NKJV) Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
A modern slavery is underway. People are being enslaved right before our very eyes. The American Civil Liberties Union won’t acknowledge this kind of slavery, as it isn’t limited to any particular race of people. It transcends the color of the skin, class and ethnicity and includes all and doesn’t exclude any.
Paul speaks of this slavery in our text: “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements or the basic principles of the world (NIV).”
When Paul writes “…the basic principals of the world” – he is referring to both the bondage of a legalistic practice of Judaism that was thrust upon the Jews and the bondage of heathenism that was openly embraced by the Gentiles (also v. 9).
The Jews were in bondage to legalistic Judaism. They were being taught that being right with God depended upon all the rituals they kept.
For example, the Law that God communicated through Moses taught that they were to rest on the Sabbath but the religious leaders took this to the extreme. The religious leaders got all bent out of shape when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. They got angry because He was “working on the Sabbath” (Luke 14:3).
Today we see this kind of legalism some religions where their followers aren’t allowed to eat certain foods and must keep certain rituals and holy days in order to satisfy their God. Paul would tell the people, “You’re in bondage.”
There is this kind of legalism taught many of our churches today.
• Some churches have prescribed a dress code for worship when the only “dress code” the Scripture teaches is modesty.
• Some folk teach that God only allows certain styles of music in the church. But the Bible lets us know that the kind of music that God likes is that which exalts His Son, Jesus Christ.
There was legalism in Paul’s day in the synagogue that was trying to finds its way into the church.
Then, while the Jews were in bondage to legalism many of the Gentiles were in bondage to heathenism.
While the Jews and the Christians living during the first century were monotheistic, meaning they worshipped one God, the Gentiles were in many respects polytheistic, worshipping many Gods.
They knew of the God of the Bible, they didn’t worship Him but formed and fashioned and bowed before the idols of their own making.
In the New Testament book of Romans the writer sheds some light on Gentile worship:
(Rom 1:21 NKJV) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(Rom 1:22 NKJV) Professing to be wise, they became fools,
(Rom 1:23 NKJV) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
(Rom 1:24 NKJV) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
(Rom 1:25 NKJV) who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
(Rom 1:26 NKJV) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
(Rom 1:27 NKJV) Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
The Jews were in bondage to legalism and the Gentiles were in bondage to heathenism and today, many are still in bondage to the elements or the principals of this world.
What men and women in our day call “freedom,” God’s Word calls bondage. They say, “Eat, drink and be merry” and thus we see the beer and liquor commercials on TV showing everyone having a good time but what they don’t let us see is the aftermath of a night of debauchery.
• It was that first drink that captured many a soul into a life of alcoholism. Many have said, “I’ll just have one…” and that “one” evolved into a lifetime of drunkenness.