Summary: Paul writes to the churches in Galatia about how being under the Law is like being a child but when we are set free in Christ we finally come of age as God’s people.

The Church of the Adopted

Galatians 4:1-7

I sat in a restaurant this week at a table next to two guys who when their food arrived they decided which one would pray by saying, ‘Age before beauty’. I thought they both fell into the same category and unless they were waiting for someone else to arrive there was no ‘beauty’ at that table.

Age is something that precedes something very beautiful and that is the true Christian life. It is when we come of age that we are able to enjoy the full benefits of being the people of God.

Paul writes to the churches in Galatia about how being under the Law is like being a child but when we are set free in Christ we finally come of age as God’s people.

There was an article a few years ago in which a man gave his idea of a perfect world. He said "In a perfect world, mail would always be early, & the check in the mail would always be for more than you expected it to be.

"In a perfect world professional basketball & baseball & football players would be complaining because schoolteachers and church workers were signing multi million dollar contracts.”

I think that in a perfect world pecan pie would cure cancer, your coffee would never get cold unless you ordered it that way and golf balls would only fly in the direction of the green’.

He also said, "In a perfect world you would feel as good at 60 as you did at 17. And you would be as smart at 60 as you thought you were at 17."

A mistake many people make is to confuse age with maturity.

There are many 40 year old teenagers walking around nowadays. Age is a quantity of time while maturity is a quality of time.(W.W.)

For many the worst day of their life is when the graduate from High School. They see themselves as finally being totally free but those who know understand that it is the beginning of becoming totally responsible.

Good News: With maturity comes freedom. Bad News: Freedom brings responsibility.

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. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.

Word for child does not suggest any specific age but just that the person has yet to be recognized as an adult.

ADOPTION under Roman Law was not about adopting children like we do but about adopting ADULTS for the purpose of being heirs.

A child’s life is little different from someone who has no real hope for the future such as a slave. All that will one day be theirs cannot be used until they come of age. During that time of waiting they are under the protection of guardians and managers.

1) Hopefully those tutors/guardians would prepare the child to rightly use that which they would eventually inherit.

2) Prince William? Paris Hilton?

In Judaism a boy passed into manhood shortly after age 12, Barmitsva.

In the Greek world it was at about 18 years old at a festival called Apatouria.

In the Greek culture, the father controlled the son from the age of seven to eighteen, the mother having the responsibility for the first six years. And then at the age of eighteen the son became ethovas and for two years he was under the authority of the state. Before he became an ethovas he was received into a class at a very special festival in which his long hair was cut off. His long hair wasthen offered to Apollo; it was a sign of him passing into manhood.

Under Roman law the year was not fixed, but at the discretion of the father, based upon the development of the son, the family held a sacred festival called a Liberalia, held anuually on March 17th, in which the son was liberated from parental rule. He was taken down to the forum and he was introduced into public life. It was a very definite day and if he was a boy, he took his toys and he put them in the forum and left them there; and if it was a girl, she took her dolls and offered them to the gods to show they were putting away what Paul called childish things.

Galatians 3:22-25 says we were “under the Law,” described as: (1) a jailor which kept us in protective custody (3:22-23) or (2) a tutor (3:24-25). However, in chapter 4, it changes to “guardian” and “trustee.”

In Roman law, boys from birth to 14 years of age were in the charge of a legal guardian (3:23-25).

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