MAIN POINT OF PASSAGE (in one sentence): God redeemed us by adopting us into his family. We did not do anything to earn his love or salvation.
APPLICATION FROM THE PASSAGE: We were only children who relied on our own worldly knowledge when God adopted us. He shares his inheritance with us as his adopted children. Because he adopted us, we have the opportunity to have a relationship with him, where call him “Abba! Father!” We are saved through this relationship, and not by anything we have done.
GETTING STARTED (115 words)
Years ago, I attended a Christian women’s conference. The theme was “Child of the King,” and we all got princess-themed shirts. I thought it was a cute theme. I mean, after all, what girl doesn’t want to be a princess? As I get older, though, the significance of being a Child of the King is clearer. Having a personal relationship with God the Father, because of what Christ has done for me, has changed just about everything in my life—the way I interact with my spouse, my child, my co-workers, neighbors, and even how I view myself.
- How has the understanding that you are a child of God affected your life?
READ THE WORD: GALATIANS 4:1-7 (ESV)
4:1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
- What words did Paul use to describe the reader in this passage?
- In verse 5, what did Paul say is the reason God sent forth his Son? Why is it significant that we are adopted by God the Father through the redeeming work of Jesus?
- What did Paul mean when he said we were “enslaved to the principles of the world”?“Abba” is often translated as Daddy. What is the implication here? How is this view different from the ways you normally think of God?
- Are there any ways that you are living “enslaved to the elementary principles of the world” instead of as “an heir through God”?
RESPOND TO GOD (115 words)
In this time period, Romans celebrated their child’s coming of age with sacred family festivals. It was a time when the father formally adopted his child as a son and heir. This “adoption” was required to be part of the inheritance. Paul’s audience would have been able to connect with the significance of this adoption, and the metaphor stands true today. We are all born into sin; it takes God’s adoption of us, through Christ, to allow us to become part of his family and to receive his inheritance of salvation. He takes us from slavery to freedom!
- Pray that you would avoid bondage to the things of this world and instead enjoy the freedom in Christ that comes from salvation alone.
- Ask God the Father to help you know him as “Abba! Father!”