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 [...]
Read for This Week’s Study:
Gal. 3:26–4:20; Rom. 6:1–11; Heb. 2:14–18; 4:14, 15; Rom. 9:4, 5.
“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 [...]
Many have interpreted Paul’s comment in Galatians 3:25 as a complete dismissal of the law. This makes little sense, however, in light of Paul’s positive comments about the law elsewhere in the Bible. 1
What does he, then, mean?
First, we are no longer under the law’s condemnation (Rom. 8:3). As believers, we are in Christ and enjoying the privilege of being under grace (Rom. 6:14, 15). That gives us the liberty of serving Christ wholeheartedly, without fear of being condemned for mistakes we might make in the [...]
In Galatians 3:23, Paul describes the law as a guarding and protecting force. To what does he liken it in verse 24, and what does that mean? 1
The word translated “schoolmaster” (KJV) comes from the Greek wordpaidagogos. Some versions translate it as “disciplinarian” (NRSV), “tutor” (NKJV),or even “guardian” (ESV), but no single word fully can encompass its meaning. The paidagogos was a slave in Roman society who was placed in a position of authority over his master’s sons from the time they turned six or seven until they reached maturity. [...]
Paul gives two basic conclusions about the law: (1) the law does not nullify or abolish God’s promise made to Abraham (Gal. 3:15–20); (2) the law is not opposed to the promise (Gal. 3:21, 22).1
What role does the law actually play then? Paul writes that it was added “because of transgressions” (Gal. 3:19), and he expands on this idea using three different words or phrases in connection to the law: kept (vs. 23), shut up (vs. 23), and schoolmaster (vs. 24).
Read prayerfully and carefully Galatians 3:19–24. What is Paul saying about the [...]