God Sent Forth His Son: From Slaves to Heirs through God

Brian Mahon - 11/26/2023


Call to worship: Hebrews 1:1-4

Text: Galatians 4:1-7


Paul expands his argument to show more precisely what God has done to make heirs out of slaves. Continuing a prior analogy, he seems to relate a view of salvation history to personal history. As believers in the age of promise owned everything, yet lived under the law, being shorted the full enjoyment of faith in Christ, so those heirs in the age of faith were, at one time, slaves under the law. Paul now expands on 'under the law' as slavery to 'elementary principles of the world. ' To co-opt God's law and use it in a way that nullifies Christ is a demonic tactic, which we all once believed. And we never would have broken free from it, except that, in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son. The fallout of His coming was our redemption, adoption, indwelling, and title to Life. God didn't send His Son to be anything less than the all-sufficient Savior of all who believe in Him..

Sermon Outline:

  1. Paul's recasting of our former slavery: enslaved to principles. (4:1-3)
  2. Paul's reciting of God's sovereign redemption: heirs through God. (4:4-7)
    • Redemption accomplished. (4:4-5a)
      Redemption applied. (4:5b-7)


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read Galatians 4:1-7. Compare with the texts given for our call to worship and intermediate reading above.
  2. In what ways does 4:1-2 relate to the discussion in 3:23-29? What is Paul meaning by the heir as a child? How can the heir be owner of everything and, yet, indifferent from a servant or house-slave? What (somewhat) new element does Paul introduce to the analogy in the latter half of 4:2? Who's in control of history's advance, and the Gospel's with it?
  3. What's the link Paul's meaning to make from 4:1-2 to 4:3, 'In the same way'? Who does Paul seem to identify as the heirs in 4:3? In what sense were we children, and what did that entail? How does Paul recast existence 'under the law' in 4:3? What are the elementary principles (or elemental spirits) of the world to which we used to be enslaved? Read ahead to 4:8-10! What is Paul teaching about any who distort the Gospel and/or return to observing Moses for justification and life?
  4. What hope did we have for spiritual freedom and/or redemption? At Whose initiative did our redemption come? Who came to accomplish it? What aspects of God's redeeming grace does Paul recite for the churches? What can you parse out? Is the Christian still under the law? What does the inauguration of the age of faith and/or the Spirit have to do with it? What has God done in us far surpassing what the law was given to do? Compare 3:19-24 with 4:6, 4:19, 5:6, 5:16-18, 5:22-24, 6:15.
  5. What is the great sign that we are sons and daughters and, therefore, heirs of God? From Galatians 3, what all is included in our inheritance? Would God send His Son to be anything other than completely sufficient to redeem His people? To (or through) Whom does Paul finally attribute our redemption as sons? Would God have sent His Son if He intended us to add anything to Him?
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