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Summary: Many well-meaning Christians today get involved in legalism in a desire to become better Christians. Legalism means "a relationship that is governed by rules or by law."

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Text: Galatians 4:1-18 (NASB)

Introduction: Many well-meaning Christians today get involved in legalism in a desire to become better Christians. Legalism means "a relationship that is governed by rules or by law."

Their motives may be right, but their method is wrong.

At Galatia, these young converts, whom the Apostle Paul had, lead to Christ, were being assaulted by the Judaizers who told them unless they kept the law, they could never grow or be spiritual. As they measured their performance; they thought themselves making good progress, and no doubt, felt a sense of pride within. Instead of going forward, as they believed, they were in truth going nowhere.

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 is the bad news. But the good news is that we are making very good time."

Legalism will never ever bring us spiritual growth. It will only bind us to its rules and regulations. The Scripture makes it plain.

John 8:31-36 (NASB)

Romans 8:2-4 (AMP)

The believer lives a righteous life, not in the power of the law, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. The law does not have the power to produce holiness; it can only reveal and condemn sin. However, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit enables you to walk in obedience to God’s will.

In the Holy Spirit, we have life and liberty. The legalist tries to obey God in his own strength and fails to measure up to the righteousness God demands.

However, the Spirit-led Christian, as he yields to the LORD experiences the sanctifying work of the Spirit in his life.

Philippians 2:13 (NASB)

It is this fact that leads to the freedom we enjoy as Christians.

In our text the Scriptures gives us some reasons why we do not need legalism to live the Christian life. We have all we need in Christ Jesus our Savior!

I want to speak on this subject, "Living as a Slave, When You Are a Son."

Many live as slaves and not as children that have been adopted in to the Family of God.

I. They do not appreciate their adoption into the Family of God

A. Galatians 4:1-7 (NASB)

B. The meaning of adoption

1. One of the greatest blessings of being born-again is that we have been adopted.

2. Ephesians 1:1-7 (NASB)

3. In the New Testament, the word "adoption" means "to place as an adult son."

4. We do not become part of God’s family by adoption.

5. However, we do become part of God’s family by spiritual regeneration.

6. John 3:3-5 (NASB)

7. But once we are regenerated-"born-again"-God "adopts" us.

8. We are given all the privileges of an adult son.

9. The Jewish child, though he might be heir to a vast fortune, could not enjoy it until he reached maturity.

10. The Greek word here for "child" means "one of tender years," which is in stark contrast to one of full age.

11. While in this condition, the immature child is according to verse 1 of our text "does not differ at all from a slave"

12. He is lord of all by birthright and title, but has no rights over it until he reaches full age.

13. Israel under the law was but a child, an immature one who can neither speak for himself nor govern his own actions.

14. Both a person and his property was guarded by tutors and governors until the time previously fixed by his father.

15. In verse 3 of our text the Scripture exclaims that, “while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.”

16. The word "children" here means "not speaking, an infant, or a minor. A simple-minded person."

17. This was the spiritual condition of the Jews under the age of the Law.

18. Therefore, when these Judaizers were trying to lead the Galatians back into legalism, they were leading them not only into religious bondage, but also into moral and spiritual infancy and immaturity.

C. The majesty of adoption

1. One dictionary defined the word majesty as “exalted dignity, stateliness; grandeur.”

2. All of us were in bondage to the "law of sin and death" until we by faith accepted God’s offer of grace!

3. Then were we made free!

4. Then were we adopted.

5. Galatians 4:7 (NASB)

6. When a sinner trusts Christ as his Savior, and is saved, as far as his condition is concerned, he is a "babe" spiritually who needs to grow; but as far as his position is concerned, he is an adult son who can draw on the Father’s wealth and exercise all the wonderful privileges of son ship.

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