Summary: This message encourages people to grow up and think for themselves. In the history of redemption, God’s people were once children in His eyes. Now, since Christ has redeemed us, we are adult sons, free from the guardianship of the law.
The Freedom of Maturity (Galatians 4:1-11)
Marian Obeda, from London, Ontario, talks about a time when her husband, a pastor, was asked to officiate at a lot of weddings one particular season. During that time, they were also preparing for a son’s birthday party. When Marian asked him whom he wanted to invite, the only names he gave were his “girl friends.”
So jokingly she asked him, “Who are you going to marry when you grow up?”
And without hesitation he replied, “When I grow up I’m going to be a pastor and marry them all.” (Marian Obeda, London, Ontario, “Rolling Down the Aisle,” Christian Reader)
Most children look forward to growing up for many reasons, but primarily because there is greater freedom with fewer restrictions. It’s not that an adult can marry ALL his girlfriends, but we adults do have the freedom to marry any ONE we choose. We have the freedom to make a great number of choices on our own without somebody telling us what to do. We don’t have the restrictions a child has. We don’t have all the rules and regulations we put our children under for their own good until they are old enough to make good decisions on their own. And that’s the way it should be.
It’s a tragedy when you see adults who cannot (or will not) make their own decisions; and yet, there are a lot of adults like that when it comes to spiritual matters. They’re looking for somebody to tell them what to do. They’re looking for the rules and regulations. They’re looking for the magic formulas, the lists of do’s and don’ts, which will guarantee the good life.
Well, I’ve got news for you. There is no magic formula. There is no “law” which guarantees the good life. Instead, God has something for us, His adult children, that works a whole lot better than any “law.”
Galatians 4:1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. (NIV)
A child is like a slave.
Galatians 4:2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. (NIV)
A child is like a slave, because he cannot make his own decisions, and
he cannot manage his own estate.
When an underage child receives a large inheritance, we don’t give that child all the money and say, “It’s yours; spend it anyway you want.” No! We usually put it in a trust, under the control of a trustee, until that child is old enough to make responsible decisions.
And that’s the way it was for God’s people. For nearly 1500 years, from the time of Moses until the time of Christ, WE WERE CHILDREN in God’s eyes. WE WERE LIKE SLAVES under the guardianship of the law.
Galatians 4:3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. (NIV) Literally, under the A,B,C’s of the world.
It’s like we were in kindergarten, where we had to get permission just to go to the bathroom. We couldn’t make our own decisions. Instead, the law did all that for us, even to the point of what to eat and where to go to the bathroom. Have you read the Mosaic Law recently? There’s some really interesting stuff in there.
For 1500 years, the law dictated our lives; because like children, we really didn’t know how to make good decisions; we really didn’t know how to handle the rich blessings or the inheritance we had from God; & we really didn’t know how to handle the rough waters of life itself.
Not too long ago, a teenaged boy was in such a hurry to try out his new surfboard that, oblivious of the warning flags, he dashed straight out into the waves. Immediately, an authoritative voice boomed, “You are an inexperienced surfer. Return to shore.”
Embarrassed, he came ashore but not without asking the lifeguard how he knew he was a novice. “Easy. You’ve got your wet suit on backwards.” (H.J. Duffy, Livingston, Texas, “Lite Fare,” Christian Reader; www.PreachingToday.com)
We restrict children for their own safety. & That’s what God did for us by giving us the law.
But now, since Christ has come, WE ARE ADULT SONS OF GOD. WE ARE GROWN UP IN GOD’S EYES, no longer under the constraints of the law.
Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (NIV)