The Gospel Moves Us from Slavery to Sonship

In his book Theology as Discipleship, Keith L. Johnson explains that today’s passage shows the Trinity at work (v.6): “God’s actions . . . originate from the will of the Father, proceed through the Son and are made effective by the power of the Spirit. . . . [T]he Father wills that the Son speak his words to us; the Son speaks these words in line with the Father’s will; and the Spirit enables us to understand the Son’s words and thus know the Father through the Son.”

The entire Trinity is involved in moving us from slavery to sonship. In today’s passage, Paul recaps the narrative or metaphor: With the Law as guardian, we were like children. At the right time in His plan, however, God sent His Son to redeem us, to adopt us into His family, and thus to release us to the full privileges of sonship.

Although an inheritance existed, an underage heir had no access to it and was an heir in name only (vv. 1–2). He was entirely powerless. In the same way, when we were under the Law, we were in slavery to the “elemental spiritual forces of the world” (v. 3), a phrase that can include false teaching or pagan religion (see v. 9) as well as sin and death (cf. Col. 2:8).

The narrative twist came by the Father’s will and in His time (v. 4). He sent His own Son to be born of a woman, ensuring that Jesus was thus fully God and fully man. Jesus was also “born under the Law” and lived a life that perfectly fulfilled its requirements. He was the only One who could have done so! As a result, the Law’s time is done. We’ve been redeemed, adopted, and given the reality of our spiritual inheritance (vv. 5–7).

Apply the Word

Valentine’s Day tends to be about flowers, chocolate, and singing telegrams. But in the spirit of Galatians, consider making this Valentine’s Day a day to rejoice in the richness of the Father’s love for us. To bring us into His family, he planned and carried out salvation that involved the sacrifice of His own Son. There is no greater love (John 15:13)!

BY Brad Baurain

Browse Devotions by Date