Sons & Heirs (Galatians 4:1-7, NIV) by Carley Evans


“4 What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

Odd that Paul starts this portion of his letter with the aside, “What I am saying” as if he is fully aware that he has not yet convinced his readers in the church of Galatia of the extraordinary truths that they are no longer slaves but fully adopted sons of God and therefore are no longer under the law.

The law, reminds Paul, was only a guardian — a kind of trustee of a future inheritance –right up until Jesus died on the Cross and was subsequently resurrected and ascended to glory. At that moment, born-again believers were transformed. They were adopted as sons and therefore heirs of God’s promise to remove the yoke of the law by fulfilling every jot and stroke of that law through Christ’s sacrifice.

Once freed from the law, Paul exhorts his readers not to try to put themselves back under the yoke and burden of the law which will only drive them deeply into guilt and shame.

Instead, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NIV).

“By God’s Own Act” (Galatians 3: 28, NEB) by Carley Evans


“You all put on Christ as a garment,” writes Paul. “There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus. But if you thus belong to Christ, you are the ‘issue’ of Abraham, and so heirs by promise.” (Galatians 3: 27 – 29)

We become God’s ‘sons’ by putting “on Christ as a garment.” “To prove that [we] are sons, God sends into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ [We] are therefore no longer slaves but sons, and if sons, then also by God’s own act heirs.” (Galatians 4: 6 – 7)

Christ purchases our freedom with His own blood. Through the shedding of His blood, Jesus frees us from subjection to the law so that “we might attain the status of sons.” (Galatians 4: 5) And this is God’s gift to us; a gift He manufactures without our assistance; a gift He freely gives us so that we might have eternal life with Him. And not only that, but that we might have abundant life here and now. Life is not only for some remote future; it is here and now. Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” Jesus tells a man on the Sabbath to stretch out his “withered arm” so that He might heal him. Jesus refuses to send away the five thousand and four thousand men (not to mention women and children) but feeds them all beyond their imagining. He gives abundant life, now and in eternity.