Thursday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Galatians 4:1-7

To Redeem Those under the Law

To help these Galatians understand what they left behind when they came to saving faith in Christ and what they were now falling into through the deceit of false brethren, Paul resorts to analogies to describe what life is like under the law and what it is like when one is set free there from, a freedom which these Galatians seemingly wanted to forsake.  Though a family be wealthy, the child and rightful heir is no different from a slave, not that he is treated harshly as a slave might be, but that though he is heir he as yet owns nothing.  Indeed as a youth, he would be subject to slaves as his nurses and teachers, anyone to whom his father subjects him in hopes that he will one day grow into a responsible and cultured young man.  Paul’s analogy here is that those living under the law are like so: They are slaves under the tutelage of certain masters because of their immaturity.  Likewise, before we came to saving faith in Christ, we too were enslaved to the “elemental principles of the world,” a phrase which seems to include anything and everything that is not of Christ and which seeks to enslave us: demonic forces, worldly temptations, the flesh, and even the Mosaic Law when it is used as a legalistic replacement for the grace of God.

What Paul wants these Galatians to understand is that they have been freed from such cruel masters.  How?  “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law.”  To put it another way, God sent a Rescuer, a Champion, the ultimate Abolitionist, to conquer all of those slavers for us.  And he does this by being born of woman, like us, and born under the law, like us, and thereby takes our place by living our life but without sin.  In this manner, he redeems us, buys us back, and frees us from those elemental slave-driving principles of the world.  And then returning to the analogy of the boy growing up in his father’s house, we are now adopted into that same family (God’s family), and made a joint-heir of the natural heir (Christ), and are no longer under tutors (the law or anything else).  And best of all, God sends His Spirit into our hearts crying out to God as our loving Father.

So as believers, we are no longer slaves but sons and daughters of the Father.  And so Paul asks in disbelief, “Why would you want to turn back?”  We are sometimes tempted to turn back; laws, ceremonies, observances, seem easier to do.  And I contend that such things do have their place—but as servants to our holiness and not we as servants to them.  In sum, keep your eyes on the cross.  And as a word of caution, remember Lot’s wife.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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