top of page

Galatians 4:1-7: A Child of the King

The very moment that a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, many blessings happen of which they’re not immediately aware. They only knew they were desperate and cried out to God for relief, and instantly something happened. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At the very moment, when we repent and receive Him, we become, “…sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 3:26). And we are “…baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). We are “no longer slaves of sin” (Romans 6:6), and we “…become children of God” (John 1:12 NLT). We are totally immersed into everything He is: His power, His passion, His presence, His Spirit, everything! “God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us” (1 John 4:13 NLT). We have need of nothing, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (1 Peter 1:3). We are immediately clothed with “…a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10 NLT). And, listen to this, “For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6 NLT).


However, sometimes it takes a while for us to fathom what actually took place the moment we received the Lord Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Recently I read, on line, an article enumerating “75 blessings that happen to a person after believing on the Lord Jesus Christ” by Danny Doege.

Here are just a few:

•We are born again with into the family of God (John 3:3-6).

•We are adopted by God (Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:5).

•We are justified in God's sight (Romans 5:1).

•We are blessed with spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3).

•We are redeemed (Revelation 5:9).

•We are Indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9).

•We've been sealed by the Holy (Ephesians 4:30).

•Our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

•We are forever forgiven (Luke 7:48).

•We get an Inheritance (Ephesians 1:11)

•We are elected (1 Peter 1:2).

•We become a children of God (John 1:12).

•We become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

•We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17).

•We have eternal life (John 10:28).

•We are given a blessed hope of Christ's returning (Titus 2:13).

•We are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

•We have peace with God (John 14:27).

•We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus (Romans 8:17).

That brings us to today’s message…

Verse 1,2: ““Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.

Paul has driven the point home that believers are “…heirs according to the promise” (3:29), that we “…receive the adoption as sons” (4:5), and are part of the family of God with all of the privileges of being an “heir” as a “child of God.” “Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ” (4:7).

“The contrast presented in the previous chapter between imprisonment under the law (3:23-25) and new relationships in Christ (3:26-29) is now clarified by an illustration drawn from a household where sons were treated as slaves until they received the full rights of sons at the age of maturity.” –

Paul illustrates with a young boy in a prominent Jewish home. As a child, he might be the owner of a vast property but he could make no legal decisions; he was not in control of his own life; everything was done and directed for him; and, therefore, for all practical purposes he had no more freedom than if he were a slave; but when he became a man he entered into his full inheritance. He may be the heir to all the family’s wealth and possessions, the entire estate, but as a child he is subject to his paidagogos, his guardian, custodian, or legally appointed overseer, who’s duties included, supervising and disciplining him. He was under their authority until the time set by his father, when he will be free from their control and enjoy his full rights as heir and master of the family estate.

“In the Jewish world, on the first Sabbath after a boy had passed his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became ‘a son of the Law.’ The father thereupon uttered a benediction, ‘Blessed be Thou, O God, who has taken from me the responsibility for this boy.’ The boy prayed a prayer in which he said, ‘O my God and God of my fathers! On this solemn and sacred day, which marks my passage from boyhood to manhood, I humbly raise my eyes unto Thee, and declare with sincerity and truth, that henceforth I will keep Thy commandments, and undertake and bear the responsibility of mine actions towards Thee.’ There was a clear dividing line in the boy's life; almost overnight he became a man.” –Barclay

That's Paul's main point here, that every father sets a date for that release to take place.

Verse 3: “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.” “And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world” (NLT).

“As children of the Law we were treated like servants and prisoners. We were oppressed and condemned by the Law. But the tyranny of the Law is not to last forever. It is to last only until ‘the time appointed of the father,’ until Christ came and redeemed us.”–Luther

The word “we” means all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, the world itself being in bondage to all kinds of rudimentary and imperfect conceptions until Christ came.

“The Jews primarily, and inclusively the Gentiles also. For the ‘we’ in Galatians 4:5 plainly refers to both Jew and Gentile believers.” –Jameison, Faussett and Brown

“That phrase ‘elemental things’ and similar ones are used a number of times in the New Testament, basically means the primitive teaching, the primary instruction, the ABCs, the basics, the simple foundational principles. And as long as we were children we were enslaved to those principles. For the Jew it would be the written law, the Law of Moses, the moral code that the Jew was to live by. He was under that; he was a slave to that. As if it weren't enough to be enslaved to a divine law you couldn't keep, the Jews created man-made laws you couldn't keep either and strangled their people in a tyranny of legalism. For the Gentile, it would be enslavement to conscience, or as Romans 2 calls it, the law of God written in his heart, no less a bondage.” –MacArthur

“To describe it Paul uses the word stoicheia. A stocheion was originally a line of things; for instance, it can mean a file of soldiers. But it came to mean the ABC, and then any elementary knowledge.” –Barclay

There was a time when we were imprisoned by the Law (3:23), but it was already in God’s plan that we would be His sons and heirs, with our names written in the “Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). We were chosen in Christ before the world began. We were yet to become mature children. We were still slaves to the Law, held in bondage to the elemental things of the world.

Verses 4,5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (NLT).

Verse 4a: “But when the fullness of the time had come…”

“The fullness of time,” in Greek is, pleroma tou chronou, “at the exact moment,” meaning, “Not one thing is left out in the chronological sequence of events.”

This time-table actually began in Eden with the fall of man and God’s promise of redemption. Speaking to the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve, “I’m declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He’ll wound your head, you’ll wound his heel” (Genesis 3:15 MSG). That’s the prophecy that Jesus’ would ultimately defeat Satan on the cross.

“The world was providentially ready for the birth of a Savior. Historians tell us that the Roman world was in great expectation, waiting for a deliverer at the time when Jesus was born. The old religions were dying; the old philosophies were empty and powerless to change men’s lives. Strange new mystery religions were invading the empire. Religious bankruptcy and spiritual hunger were everywhere. God was preparing the world for the arrival of His Son.” –Weirsbe

Swindoll writes, “God moved into our demon-ruled world ‘when the fullness of the time had come…’ When Greek and Roman mythical gods were losing their ability to satisfy the common people’s spiritual hunger; when the Law of Moses had completed its work of preparing men and women boys and girls for the Savior and His message of grace.”

When Christ came into the world it was made up of Jews, Greeks, and Romans. These three cultures made up the civilized population of the occupied world. Each of these cultures had a vital role in preparing the world for Christ’s coming. The Greek culture had completely engulfed the region, with a common language making communication possible. Their a language and culture were adopted by Rome and spread throughout the Mediterranean world by way of Roman roads that made travel from city to city possible.

And it was a relatively peaceful time, the wars that had plagued the area for centuries, had ended for a time, so resources could be devoted to culture, philosophy, and education. Absence of war also made travel easier. Not only was their world prepared culturally, but Roman rule over the Jews kept them looking for something better, so they were spiritually hungry, so they were looking for the promised Messiah to deliver them. The Samaritan woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things” (John 4:25).

God doesn’t make mistakes, His plan is always perfect and timely. God’s timing is always perfect.

“The loving nature of God is so evident in his decision to send His Son when He did. It was not a pleasant time in which to be born. People worshipped idols, sacrificed children, used religion to exclude and persecute, and had so closed off their heart to compassion that they could not make room for a young pregnant girl to give birth. Yet in His perfect timing, He saved them all, and us too. The very ones who would hang his son on a cross, were the ones he had sent that son to save. He could not, would not wait any longer to rescue us. Never has his timing been more perfect, and more merciful. –

Verse 4b: “God sent forth His Son…”

This is a proof-text for the incarnation, a clear reference to the pre-existence of Christ, being with God before the creation (John 1:1).

“Sent forth” in Greek is, ‘sent forth out of heaven from Himself’ (Alford and Bengel). The same verb is used of the Father‘s sending forth the Spirit (Galatians 4:6). So in Acts 7:12. Compare with this verse, John 8:42; Isaiah 48:16.” –Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown

“Sent forth:” “From himself: from his heavenly glory. This does not mean that God then, for the first time, embodied what had previously been a mere ideal, but that he sent forth a preexisting person. See Philemon 2:6.” –Vincent

Verse 4c: “…born of a woman…” This is a reference to the Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23. Luke 1:27, 34). These verses make it clear that Jesus’ birth was a result of being miraculously conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 4d: “…born under the law…” Jesus was born human, subject to the universe He created, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:2). As a human He was subjected to all of the human frailties, He hungered, thirsted, felt pain, et al. More significantly, Jesus lived as a Jew, subject to God’s Law, so He was both circumcised and presented at the temple (Luke 2:21-32). But unlike humans Jesus perfectly fulfilled God’s law, He kept it completely, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17). But, since Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15), therefore He was the perfect, spotless sacrifice to satisfy the demands of the Law.

Verse 5a: “…to redeem those who were under the law…”

Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”

“Those under the law are certainly the Jews; and He was born of a woman, born under the law, in order that He might redeem them. As their representative in blood, and in position under the law, He obeyed its precepts and He bore its penalty, so that they were freed from its curse and from its yoke, and became disciples of a more spiritual system, which taught truth in its realities and not in obscure symbols, whose sacrifice was not ‘…the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of a heifer,’ but ‘the precious blood of Christ;’ which gave them the privilege of kneeling, not toward a mercy-seat of gold, but before the ‘throne of grace,’ and whose High Priest had gone into a holiest place beyond the skies. We enter not into the question of the active and passive obedience so often discussed under reference to this verse, but only say that obedience and suffering were ever combined, so that in obeying He suffered, while His suffering was His last and highest act of obedience: ‘He became obedient unto death.’” –Eadie

Verse 5b: “…that we might receive the adoption as sons.” We could have never obtained adoption through the Law. It is the Gospel that makes us God’s children, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NLT). Paul speaks of this adoption into God’s family, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).

Verses 6,7: “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”

Paul gives us a companion verse in Romans 8:16,17, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

The moment I received Christ as my Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit entered in, I was immersed in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). And as an adopted child of the King, I have access to His throne, and I have an inheritance reserved in heaven for me. Not only that my relationship with God is so intimate now that I can call Him, “Abba’ a term of affection that a young child would use in crying out to His father and saying, in our English equivalent, “Daddy!”

I never had a close relationship with my earthly father, it was always strained. I don’t remember ever hearing, “I love you” from my dad, rarely a kind word, never a hug or a tender touch, only harshness and brutality. But now I am adopted into a new family, the family of God, I have a Heavenly Father, and I can crawl up into His great lap of love and say, “Daddy!” And He says, “I love you, son.” What a wonderful promise.

My Father is rich in houses and lands

He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands!

Of rubies and diamonds, of silver and gold,

His coffers are full, He has riches untold.

My Father’s own Son, the Savior of men,

Once wandered on earth as the poorest of them;

But now He is reigning forever on high,

And will give me a home in heaven by and by.

I once was an outcast, stranger on earth,

A sinner by choice, and an alien by birth;

But I’ve been adopted, my name’s written down,

An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.

I’m a child of the King, a child of the King;

With Jesus my Savior, I’m a child of the King.

–Harriet E. Buell (1828-1901)–

Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Marlena and I support this ministry with our Social Security plus donations from a few of our friends. We need more friends! Will you be a friend to us and God’s word For You? Your financial support of this ministry is much appreciated. You may send your support to God’s Word For You, 25413 Alpha Street, Moreno Valley, CA 92557

You Might Also Like:
bottom of page