fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Heir to a Promise


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Galatians 3:18 – 4:31

Okay, folks – we’re getting into deep stuff, here.  I really take this lesson to heart because it calls us to examine our spiritual place as individuals. If anyone has a comment or explanation on the scripture in Galatians, please post a comment or email it to me and I’ll post it for you.

Paul had a strong argument about the promise God made to Abraham in Galatians 3:15-18 and how it relates to the Mosaic Law. The last known confirmation of the Abrahamic covenant was to Jacob just before he went to Egypt, which was 430 years before the Law was instituted. The promise made to Abraham was not invalidated when the Law came on scene; if the inheritance was based on the Law, then it wouldn’t be a promise.  18For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise (Galatians 3:18). Paul explained that the covenant between Abraham and God has never changed. He also showed that the Law brought a curse and that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law.

 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us–for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”–  14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13, 14)

 The Law was inferior to the promise, but it did serve a purpose; it was to reveal man’s sinfulness and inability to redeem himself. Man couldn’t perform enough works to bring himself back to a sinless state. 19Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made (Galatians 3:19). The Law and promise of the Covenant (Jesus Christ) work in harmony. At Galatians 3:23, Paul brings out how imprisoned man under the Law. The Law served as a teacher leading us to Christ – so that when the Messiah appeared, they would recognize the need for salvation and invite Him into their hearts.

 1Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything,  2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.  3So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.  4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,  5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:1-7).

When Christ died for our sins, we became God’s spiritual children. Galatians 3:29 says we are all heirs in the sense that we benefit from the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, being justified by faith in Christ. Galatians 4:1-7 are such great verses because it clarifies our position with God. There is nothing worse than not knowing where you stand: whether it’s a job, a marriage, health issues and yes, even with God – we need to know our position in these matters. In His mercy, God lets us know where we stand so that we’re better equipped to fulfill His purpose for us. Paul basically explains this to the Galatians because, obviously, they’re lost. To help them understand, Paul uses an illustration of a child and a slave. God’s children are heirs who were entrusted to guardians and tutors until they became of age. These guardians and managers depicted the Law. However, when Christ died for us, God’s children were released from the “guardians and tutors”.  

 Jesus was born under the Law. This is significant because it emphasizes Jesus humanness; he had to fully be man to be able to substitute man for himself. He was also under the Law up until his death – he released us from the bondage and curse of sin (represented by the Law). As a result of Christ death, we have become God’s children by adoption (Gal 4:5). We are heirs of the covenant being “justified” by faith in Christ alone. It’s sad to see that unbelievers are still living their lives as if under the Law – trying to endlessly please God by the flesh.  23But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.  24Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:23-26).

Now that we know where we stand with God, how should this affect our lives? Rather than looking back – or even regressing back to the time we were alienated from the God of our salvation, let’s build our relationship with Him; we are His children. Prayer brings us into God’s presence. Study of God’s word allows the Holy Spirit to reveal spiritual truths to us. Through prayer and bible study we will deepen our love for God our Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

 The bottom line is that we are God’s adopted children. I could have summed it up with that statement, which is easy to accept and comprehend. But knowing how we came to being heirs to a promise adds significance to our existence as believers of Christ and worshippers of God. No one can take away our inheritance (unless we surrender it ourselves). May we never take our position in God’s sovereignty for granted – we are His children, justified by our faith in Christ. To Him be the Glory!

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June 23, 2009 - Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. As you stated, “there is nothing worse than not knowing where you stand.” Reading this material on Galatians brings back profound memories of my deliverance from the grip the false prophet had on me during a time when I had no idea where I stood with God. I was trained by my former religion to believe God hated me! When I understood that the verses about adoption into His family were FOR ME, I cried and cried and still even as I was believing and accepting, I was APOLOGIZING to God for believing it! That’s how nasty that false prophet is! I had no choice but to repent from my self-righteous involvement in living a life “under law” and praise Jesus for being born under law and dying for my sin. I live in HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS now.

    Yes, the bottom line is we are God’s adopted children! That is POWERFUL for me because now I no longer apologize to God for believing it, instead I flaunt it at Satan and clearly state “I belong to Christ, GO AWAY!!” The chains are GONE!!! Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us…so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith! Amen.

    Comment by Julie | June 25, 2009


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