I grew up in China, where religion wasn’t a part of our lives except that we honored our ancestors during special times of the year. I moved to New Zealand when I was 12 years old and had to learn English. I also began learning a bit about God in the weekly Bible classes offered in New Zealand’s schools.
I enjoyed hearing Bible stories and liked to draw pictures of Bible characters. The teachers didn’t tell us we had to [...]
“In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving his only-begotten Son to pay man’s ransom. Those who perish will [...]
Read Galatians 4:8–20. Summarize on the lines below what Paul is saying there. How seriously does he take the false teachings among Galatians?
Paul does not describe the exact nature of the Galatians’ religious practices, but he clearly has in mind a false system of worship that resulted in spiritual slavery. Indeed, he deemed it so dangerous and destructive that he would write such an impassioned letter, warning the Galatians that what they were doing was akin to turning away [...]
In Galatians 4:5–7, Paul expands on his theme, stressing that Christ has now “redeemed those who were under the law” (vss. 4, 5, ESV). The word to redeem means “to buy back.” It referred to the price paid to buy the freedom of either a hostage or a slave. As this context indicates, redemption implies a negative background: a person is in need of being liberated. 1
From what, though, do we need to be freed? The New Testament presents four [...]
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law”(Gal. 4:4, ESV).
Paul’s choice of the word fullness indicates God’s active role in working out His purpose in human history. Jesus did not come at just any time; He came at the precise time God had prepared. From a historical perspective, that time is known as the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace), a two-hundred-year period of relative stability and peace across [...]
Having just compared our relationship to God with that of sons and heirs, Paul now elaborates on this metaphor by including the theme of inheritance in Galatians 4:1–3. Paul’s terminology evokes a situation in which an owner of a large estate has died, leaving all his property to his oldest son. His son, however, is still a minor. As is often the case with wills even today, the father’s will stipulates that his son is to be under the supervision [...]
Keeping Galatians 3:25 in mind, read Galatians 3:26. How does this text help us understand what our relationship to the law is, now that we have been redeemed by Jesus? 1
The word for at the beginning of verse 26 indicates that Paul sees a direct connection between this verse and the preceding one. In the same way that a master’s son was under a pedagogue only as long as he was a minor, Paul is saying that those who come to faith in Christ are no [...]
“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7, ESV).
Paul tells the Galatians that they should not live and act as slaves but as the sons and daughters of God, with all the rights and privileges thereof. Their situation was similar to the story of a discouraged new convert who came to talk with Chinese Christian Watchman Nee.
“I am asked concerning the law in Galatians. What law is the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ? I answer: Both the ceremonial and the moral code of ten commandments.
“Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. The death of Abel was in consequence of Cain’s refusing to accept God’s plan in the school of obedience to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood [...]
I live in Zambia in southwestern Africa. My parents died when I was little, and my aunt and uncle took me in. They sent me to a boarding school to study. There I met some Adventist students who shared their faith with me. They taught me about God from the Bible, and I decided to attend church with them.
When I returned home for vacation, I told my aunt and uncle what I had learned. They were angry and threatened [...]