Today you should read: Galatians 4:1-7
Let’s take a brief recap of verses from chapter 3 to get our bearings on what Paul is saying in our passage today:
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.
19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made.
24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
As we start in chapter 4, Paul makes another illustration of what the Law is like—a guardian. This image is that of a child’s caretaker. I don’t know about you, but for me, the one person who comes to mind when I think of this role is Alfred Pennyworth.
There was a young man who went into the city with his parents for a show. After the show, while walking through an alley, this young man’s parents died in a robbery gone wrong. The young man, whose name was Bruce, was taken under the care of the household steward, Alfred. Although Alfred raised Bruce as a surrogate parent, he was still a hired worker. Bruce was the boss, but he was a child and under the authority of his guardian. Eventually, when Bruce grew up, at the time set in his father’s will, he inherited the Wayne family fortune.
The Law given to Moses accomplished several things, but ultimately, it was temporary. It was in authority only “until the offspring should come”—Jesus. Christ came at the “fullness” of time. The word here is often translated as “complete” or “perfect.” Space does not allow to share all that God had done to prepare the world for the Messiah after the close of the Old Testament. Two of the major highlights include 1. common language, and 2. a safe way to travel.
When Jesus came, Rome had greater world-wide power than any empire before or since. Also, those carrying the message of the Gospel could travel safer than any other previous time in history thanks to romans roads and Pax Romana(the peace of Rome). And, they were able to speak with groups of people using a language that everybody understood—Greek, the trade language of the day. Not only that, but this whole preparation later allowed for a Jewish man, a pharisee, from the backwater of nowhere, who happened to be a citizen of this great empire, to take the message of the Gospel to the very seat of power in an appeal to Caesar.
Jesus came at the perfect time in history that his message could be shared effectively to the world. He came to bring salvation, not through works, but through his death. He was born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law. Through Christ, we have received adoption. We are co-heirs, benefitting from His inheritance. In addition, through Christ we receive the gift of his Spirit, whose unique relationship with the Father allows us to cry out with Him, “Abba.” We are justified and sanctified because we are no longer under the guardian, but inheritors of the Father.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate
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