Galatians 4 – Adopted by God

In chapter 3 we saw that Father Abraham had many sons! Jews and Gentiles are sons of Abraham by faith not works. When we put our faith in God, He adopts us into His family.

Who You Are

Paul begins chapter 4 reminding the Galatians of their identity. “When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (v.4-5). The Father sent the Son, all God and all man, to purchase us from the orphanage of sin. God purchased us to redeem us, to set us free, to adopt us as His own son or daughter. He is a good, good father! If you have put your faith in Jesus, you need to remember who you are. You are not who the devil says you are. You are not who your past says you are. Everyone has a past. Maybe you were bound by religion, drugs, alcohol, one bad relationship after another. Don’t allow the past to control your present or ruin your future. Jesus was born under the law and He kept the law. He did what you and I cannot do. I am redeemed, forgiven, free, and my past is under the blood, in Christ. He accepts us and adopts us not based on our weight, height, beauty, intellect, or anything we do or don’t possess, but based on the finished work of His Son Jesus.

What You Have

“So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then God has made you an heir” (v. 7). Everything you have been searching for and more is found in Jesus. Look at some of the differences between a son and a slave, and notice all that we have as sons of God. A son has a father. A slave has a master. I would crawl up in my father’s arms, sit on his lap in his embrace. Maybe you see God as a cruel master who is making life hard on you just barking out orders. It may be that you had a bad earthly father and it messed up your view of God. Christianity is about a relationship not rules. A son loves. A slave rebels. I wanted to please my dad. I wanted to please my grandfather. Rules without a relationship only leads to rebellion. A son is driven by devotion. A slave is driven by duty. A son loves to go to work. It is the family business. A slave hates to go to work. He has to go to work. He hates his job. If you view the commandments of God and prayer like bondage, it means that you don’t love him. You have the heart of a slave. God wants you to have the heart of a son. He isn’t just after obedience, He wants you to obey with joy! A son is rich. A slave is poor. My grandfather and I were always working outside, but I remember on rainy days we would sing hymns together by the fire. One of his favorites was A Child of the King, which talks about all that we have because of all that our Father has. You don’t have to be a slave to dead religion, to your past, to the opinions of others, or to sin. Realize what you have in Jesus. Everything Christ has we have because we are coheirs with Him (Rom. 8:17).

Where You Are Going

In verse 9 Paul asks the Galatians, “How can you turn back again?” Everyone is either going forward or backward. You can’t live life looking in a rearview mirror. In verses 22-24 Paul references Sarah and Hagar. Hagar’s son Ishmael was born through the power of the flesh, but Sarah’s son Isaac was born through the power of the promise God had given. The Apostle Paul is saying that turning back to the law is like attempting to fulfill the promise of God through the flesh. In verse 27 he goes on to say Sarah will be more fruitful than Hagar. God chose the one with no potential to accomplish his promise. That is the good news of the gospel. God doesn’t need any potential from you to work His miracle in you. You may come from the most jacked-up past, your resume may be one failure after another, but God can still bring about his promise in you. The gospel is not, “Change and I’ll accept you.” The gospel is “Admit that you are a sinner in need of change and I will accept you and adopt you into my family.”

With Christ, we can wait with confident hope, knowing the same God who worked miracles for Abraham and Sarah will work miracles in and through us. We can confidently know who we are, what we have, and where we are going, because we have been adopted into His family.