The Slave And The Son
The young heirs of a wealthy estate in the Roman Empire had no power or authority; they could not manage the estate or benefit from it directly. Even though they would inherit it all one day, as children they were under the authority of their father’s servants. They had as much say in what happened as the lowest slave. In the same way, Paul says, God’s people were under the authority of the Law before Christ came. They had no freedom to be true heirs of the Kingdom until they received Christ and grew up spiritually.
However, the Galatian Christians had been convinced by false teachers to go back to their spiritual nursery instead of accepting the privileges of being grown-up sons. And Gentiles, who had no ancestral right to be heirs, had been adopted into the family of God when they believed in Jesus. So the Jews who had been slaves to the Law (with no prospects apart from punishment every time they broke the Law), and the Gentiles who were previously incapable of gaining family rights, were both accepted as grown-up sons of God because Jesus paid the price to redeem them and bring them close to God.
Too many believers today seem to want to go back to their spiritual nursery instead of growing up into Christ. Like the Galatians, we need to be reminded that we cannot earn our favour with God. He grants us the right of sonship, freely, as we trust in Jesus. Believing that He has forgiven us and set us free is the only way to grow up spiritually. That will mean admitting our sins and accepting His forgiveness, instead of relying on our own goodness. So, paradoxically, it is often the worst sinners who grow up the most quickly once they have received the grace of Christ. Paul was one such sinner. Perhaps you are another. Do not give up hope, but simply repent and receive the forgiveness He offers you (www.crosscheck.org.uk) and accept the privileges of a grown-up son in God’s household.
© Dr Paul Adams