View Full Version : BIBLE DISCUSSION: Galatians Chap. 4
11-03-2007, 04:00 PM
This thread is for postings any ideas and thoughts that come out of a reading of Galatians Chapter 4.
4My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; 2but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. 3So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits* of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our* hearts, crying, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.*
Paul Reproves the Galatians
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. 9Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits?* How can you want to be enslaved to them again? 10You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. 11I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.
12 Friends,* I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. 13You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; 14though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. 15What has become of the goodwill you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. 18It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
The Allegory of Hagar and Sarah
21 Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. 23One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. 24Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. 25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia* and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written,
‘Rejoice, you childless one, you who bear no children,
burst into song and shout, you who endure no birth pangs;
for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than the children of the one who is married.’
28Now you,* my friends,* are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30But what does the scripture say? ‘Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.’ 31So then, friends,* we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.
11-03-2007, 09:43 PM
Adoption is a beautiful doctrine. Here are the two great adoption passages in the New Testament:
14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness* with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,* heirs according to the promise.
4My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; 2but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. 3So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits* of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our* hearts, crying, ‘Abba!* Father!’ 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Before we were adopted by God we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. Any ideas about the meaning of this?
Why Does God Adopt Us?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4just as he chose us in Christ* before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
God chose us before the foundation of the world to be adopted as children through Jesus Christ for God's good pleasure and glory.
God frees us from slavery and brings us into the family. Abba...it is Aramaic...and is an intimate way of addressing a father. Not only are we in the family but we can approach God with genuine intimacy.
11-04-2007, 01:45 PM
I didn't want this thread on Chapter 4 to slip into oblivion without talking about the great theme of adoption. Paul says in many places that we move from being slaves under the law into being children of God.
Paul didn't have the canonical Gospels as we know them, but he probably knew of the sayings of Jesus, and he did have contact with people who knew Jesus during his time on earth. And, of course, Paul had that mystical encounter on the road to Damascus. But all I have is the Gospels, and I do recall that Jesus said repeatedly that we have to become like little children to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Nicodemus was flustered. What, do I have to enter into my mother's womb again? But Jesus insisted on a rebirth.
The fundamentalist mindset has ruined the term "born again" for me. Paul's insight was that this rebirth meant liberation from the chains of sin and death. We cry, "Papa," and the Spirit and our spirits witness together as one.
Not all adopted children have the good fortune to experience their childhoods as rescue or deliverance, but that's what this passage and others mean to me. Left to my own devices, I am unsavable. But the power of God to turn me into a child again trumps the sin in my life. Now, that's something to give a fag like me hope.
11-08-2007, 06:47 AM
It seems to me that there is a continual struggle within Christianity. The struggle is between being slaves to the law and being free to love. When I was a young adult, I did some door-to-door evangelism with a group. (Being really shy I didn't accomplish much. Looking back, I don't think it is a very effective strategy for spreading the Gospel anyhow. - but I digress) Almost everyone who claimed to be Christian said that being a Christian was about obeying the rules and going to church.
It is the "slaves to the law" philosophy. A high school friend of mine said, "If we are saved by grace alone, then why would we HAVE to do any good works?" I think the freedom we have a children of God enables us to love without "having" to do anything. The freedom we have in the family of God allows us to not HAVE to do anything, but frees us to love unconditionally. One good deed done out of love is worth more than many done out of obligation.
11-09-2007, 08:27 PM
I think the freedom we have a children of God enables us to love without "having" to do anything. The freedom we have in the family of God allows us to not HAVE to do anything, but frees us to love unconditionally. One good deed done out of love is worth more than many done out of obligation.
I would add one other thing to what you are saying. Once we are justified and adopted we are in a relationship with the living God. God transforms us. It is the relationship that matters.
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