Summary: Message 8 in our Galatians series declaring the wonder of our sonship.
Chico Alliance Church
“Sons of God”
True freedom comes by grace through faith in Christ
I. Paul Possessed the Correct credentials 1-2
Paul taught only what he received directly from Christ Himself.
II. Paul Proclaimed the Correct Concept of Grace 2:15-4:31
Right standing before God comes only through faith in Christ apart from works.
A. Paul Introduced the theme 2:15-21
B. Paul Argued and Illustrated the theme 3:1-4:31
1. Faith Argued by clarifying interrogation 3:1-6
2. Genuine faith illustrated by Abraham 3:7-29
a. God blessed Abraham on the basis of his faith 3:7-9
b. The Law condemns all who don’t keep it fully 3:10-12
c. Christ was cursed so we could be blessed 3:13-14
d. The promised blessing is unconditional and eternal 3:15-18
e. God gave the law to point out sin 3:19-20
f. The law is good but cannot save 3:21-24
The Law is a reflection of the righteous and holy character of God. The Law was given to clarify the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. The law is good and holy.
The problem lies not with God but with us. We simply can’t keep the law. We continually violate the moral law of God to our detriment and His disappointment This bent or ours to operate contrary to the moral character of God bears consequences whether there we do it consciously or unconsciously. The Law was given to demonstrate the absolute inability of man to live righteously. The Law shuts everyone under sin. The Law is a tutor that graphically demonstrates our need for help outside of ourselves. The Law cannot give life.
The law cannot keep us from transgressing. It can only expose our transgression and judge us accordingly. Law is for the lawless. Paul says that the law is weak in that it cannot energize the flesh to keep the law. The Law cannot cleanse or forgive sin. The law can only bring us to the cross and no further. We must by faith submit to the regenerating, purifying process of the Spirit. Christ became a curse for us. He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. The law serves to illustrate the futility of self-righteousness and the necessity of coming to God by faith in order to receive a new, heart, a renewed spirit, His righteousness.
By faith in Christ we are declared righteous. Not guilty!
But that is not all that happens when Christ redeems us from the curse of the law.
g. We are Blessed by faith in Christ 3:25-29
3. New life illustrated by sonship 4:1-31
a. Slavery verses sonship 4:1-11
The issue requiring attention here, has to do with the Galatian believer’s return to ceremony, ritual and keeping law as the basis of their continuing relationship with God. Those who continually subject themselves to strong external controls and rules never the experience intimacy of relationship with God. Only as we learn to make decisions based on developed character and genuine love for God through continual submission to Christ do we mature in our walk and faith in Christ. So Paul attempts to explain to these Christians the seriousness of returning to a principle of law and ceremony.
In this next section of Scripture, Paul reminds them of their previous condition.
• He recounts the action of God on their behalf.
• He applies the truth to their present thinking and behavior.
• He expresses deep concern over their failure to properly live according to the truth.
THEIR PREVIOUS CONDITION OR STATE
4:1 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, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.
Perhaps Paul picks up on the previous teaching concerning our new identity and heritage in Christ. He contrasts the state of a child under the authority of a tyrannical, condemning parent unable to choose, with adoption and elevation to adulthood under a new parent in the family of God. All children are bound to obey the authority of parents and guardians no matter their heritage. When it comes to living under authority, they are no different than slaves. All through this passage are references to our previous condition as slaves and bondage and control.
4:3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 4:8
Here Paul urges the Galatians to remember their previous condition and what God did to change it. Much of our struggle in this life begins with a memory lapse or block regarding our true identity in Christ. Paul deals with the issue of their return to ritualistic legalism by focusing on what they came out of and what God did for them. When you add the other references in this passage to the picture here, you can follow Paul’s attempt to jog their memory concerning their previous state so as to appreciate their present status.