In seven short verses, Paul captures the sweep of salvation history.
— Galatians 4.1-7 – My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than those who are enslaved, though they are the owners of all the property,
But they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father.
So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental principles of the world.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
In order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir through God.
Stage 1: Enslaved to Elemental Principles
Gentile followers of Jesus were once enslaved to the elemental principles of the world.
A recent research study has identified elemental principles as earth, wind, fire, and water. It was believed that the harmony of these principles produced healthy and well-being.
When the principles got out of balance, disease and disharmony were the results.
Gentiles served the multitude of idols in their world, fearful of making them angry and suffering their wrath.
Modern humans may not serve the elemental principles of the earth, but we speak of market forces, the economy, and similar concerns.
We seem to take the economy more seriously than nearly any other issue in life.
Stage 2: The Life and Ministry of Jesus
Jesus entered the world to set free people who are enslaved to the elemental principles.
Redemption (verse 5) in Paul’s day was used of paying a price to set a slave free.
Jesus paid the price on the cross to set us free from slavery to sin and the world’s idols. He did this, so we could be adopted into the family of God.
Stage 3: The Gift of the Holy Spirit
The promised gift of the Holy Spirit was a gift that accompanied our entrance into the family of God.
The Spirit enables us to live in a personal relationship with our Father-God.
In the YouTube video that Rudy Ross and I produce, I tell the story of a conversation between our daughter and her oldest grandson.
They were both waking up and he wanted her to get his tablet. She said, “You get it.”
He said, “No, you get it.”
She said, “I’m tired. You get it.”
He said, “Please, please, please you get it.”
I commented on the Facebook post, “Please, please, please always wins.”
This conversation touches a grandfather’s heart. Better yet, it is a picture of the relationship we can have with our heavenly Father.
“Abba” is the Aramaic word for “father” or “daddy.” The Holy Spirit enables us to have an intimate and sometimes playful relationship with God that our grandson had with his mother.
By all means, let’s take advantage of God’s magnificent gift that Paul outlined in these verses.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a video on this passage. It can be seen on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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