“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba , Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”(Galatians 4:1–7 NIV11-GKE)
We are back on our theme of Living Under the Shadow of the Gospel, and for this month, we will be focusing on Galatians chapter four.
What does it mean to live under the shadow of the Gospel?
- It means that we are people saved by grace and justified by placing our lives, destiny and trust in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- It also means that we understand the Gospel as a set of beliefs and a relationship with the living God through his Son and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Lastly, it means that the Gospel is not just to be believed as a ticket to get into heaven! It is more than that! The Gospel is what sustains us for life here on earth.
Because of this amazing grace, we understand the Gospel as the Good News of Salvation so that everyone who places their faith in Christ will be saved. We must share the Gospel, talk about the Gospel, and live by the Gospel in its proclamation and deeds. We need to be a Gospel Centred Church, and today on Resurrection Sunday this then, this is reaffirmed and crucial.
Why is the Resurrection so significant compared to other religions of ideologies?
Because for the first time, humanity quest for significance is satisfied. The Gospel is not a set of steps to show you how you must live but shows us what Jesus did for you. First, he died for our sins and was buried. Second, he was raised to life on the third day, and he appeared to many witnesses. (Tim Keller).
Therefore this text of Galatians is so essential, and it shows us the fantastic benefit of the Resurrection of Jesus.
You and I must grasp this because if we do with all our hearts, minds, and souls, strengthening your life will be transformed forever. You will echo the words of Paul “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV11-GKE).
So, I would like to say three things about Galatians 4:4-7
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba , Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:4–7 NIV11-GKE)
There are more than three things to say, but we will stick to three.
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Galatians 4:4–5 NIV11-GKE)
The concept of Biblical adoption needs to be understood against the background of self-determination to become an orphan.
This is what I mean. It was never God’s plan for his people to be orphans. He was always ready and there for them. He promised that he would never leave them and never forsake them. This is the God of the covenant.
The problem was not on God’s part; it was always on the part of God’s people and people in general.
Let me make this distinction more clear for us. Throughout the OT, the story of God’s people is not that well represented as the left departed and went to worship other gods. They abandoned the Lord, and even though they claimed allegiance to their patriarchs.
While he was on earth, he confronted and disclosed the very nature of their real father’s identity. In an exchange of ideas and challenges, Jesus said :
“Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” (John 8:42–45 NIV11-GKE)
Let me tell you the Satan does not have sons and daughters. He has slaves.
You can say the right words and act in the right way. Even you could be reading the same Bible, but if you have not made Jesus Lord of your life, you are still an orphan, and you are still a slave.
With Christ resurrection, the adoption papers were signed by the blood of Jesus, and now you are once again brought to the place where we can call God our Father! We are no longer dead spiritually but very much alive in Him.
“to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba , Father.”” (Galatians 4:5–6 NIV11-GKE)
There is a significant interaction that takes place just after the Resurrection of Jesus.
Mary is looking for Jesus, and she becomes desperate because the body of Jesus was not in the tumb, and someone has moved the stone away. She finally meets Jesus, but she does not realise that it is him. She is probably is crying and very upset. Then Jesus called her by her name and said Mary, and as he said that, he said these words:
“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (John 20:17 NIV11-GKE)
This is the first time in the Gospel that Jesus makes this declaration.
Why is this so important? It is important because when Jesus was on this earth, he was God on earth. Jesus said it many times “if you want to see the Father, then you are seeing me”. Jesus is saying: I am ascending to my father, and now your father, to my God and your God! Jesus is saying clearly that the father’s access is now available, because now the words of Jesus have been fulfilled.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV11-GKE)
The concept of Sonship was lost when sin came into the world. Now the right to become children of God has been re-established by Jesus.
How does this Sonship come to us? It comes from the Holy Spirit. I want you to know that Pentecost, the giving and receiving of the Spirit, is so crucial for our Sonship. God sent his Spirit into our hearts so now we can call God our Father, our Daddy.
Paul develops this same teaching in Romans 8
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to Sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our Spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14–16 NIV11-GKE)
This is only possible because of the Resurrection of Jesus.
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:4–7 NIV11-GKE)
According to Roman law, someone who is adopted has the same privileges as a natural son. This means that the Son or daughter has taken on the family’s surname and becomes one of them. He or she has the same privileges and rights, and they will inherit the family fortune.
The zeal of adoption is a signature and the stamp validated by the adoption officer.
Our spiritual adoption is the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul, writing to the Ephesians, tells them that
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14 NIV11-GKE)
This seal now allow us to be “… raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6–7 NIV11-GKE)
We are no longer slaves, and we are sons. We are adopted, and we are heirs. Our adoption papers has been signed by the blood of Chirst.
Slaves belong to the devil, sons and daughters belong to God.
We have at our disposal everything within the Kingdom of God. The dominion that was given to man has now been restored.
So, who are you?
Are you a son or a daughter of God? Or are you a slave?