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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”—Galatians 4:1-5 (NKJV)
To witness a child being adopted into a loving family is beautiful, and this text says believers were adopted as sons and daughters when they were still children.
The word child in the text refers to someone who is not a legal adult, someone not ready for the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. An infant is not capable of enjoying the wealth of his father.
In Roman culture, children of the wealthy were cared for by slaves, who were their guardians and caretakers. Children had to grow up and become more responsible before enjoying their parent’s estate.
David Guzik states, “Think of a wealthy ancient household with a young child who is destined to inherit all that his father has. As a child, he actually has less day-to-day freedom and authority than a high-ranking slave in the household. Yet, he is destined to inherit everything and the slave isn’t.”
Likewise, this was the spiritual condition of the Jews under the law. The law was a “guardian” for teaching, discipline, and preparation in the Scriptures. They were instructed to prepare for the coming Messiah.
The Savior’s advent 2,000 years ago was ordained by God’s perfect design and appointed time for His redemptive plan for the world. Foretold in Scripture, God set the time for His Son’s coming in order to release us from under the law’s guardianship. His death bought freedom for us being enslaved to sin, so we could be adopted into God’s family.
Spiritually, we are adopted into God’s forever family by regeneration, by being “born again” (John 3:3). We then enjoy adoption into God’s family and the blessings by coming to Christ as our Redeemer.
Redeem means to set free by paying a price. In the Roman world, there were millions of slaves. Someone could purchase a slave and keep him or set him free. Warren Wiersbe wrote, “Jesus came to set us free. So, to go back into the law is to undo the very work of Christ on the cross. He did not purchase us to make us slaves, but sons! Under the law, Jews were mere children, but under grace, the believer is a son of God with an adult understanding in God’s family.”
In the book, The Search for Significance, Robert McGee offers this contemplation: “Because of Christ’s redemption I am a new creation of great worth. I am deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted by God, and absolutely complete in Christ.”
DIG: Are you truly born again (John 3:3) and can say like Job “that my Redeemer lives”?
DISCOVER: You were created as His son or daughter to become an heir to the wealth of His promises now and in future glory. How are you living in light of this?
DO: Live like a child of the King. Honor Him with your whole life. Grow intimately with Him as your good Father. Enjoy your inheritance now!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.