Sonship and Heirship; Gal.4:5-7
The key word in this section is huiothesian [u(ioqesian]. It is translated correctly "adoption" but the notion of adoption in this passage is not the idea of adoption that we are used to in our culture. In the ancient world it had more to do with recognition of adulthood and the bestowal of legal rights and inheritance rights upon a son when he was recognised as an adult, usually at the age of fourteen. The analogy that Paul is making is an historical analogy. He is not making a comparison between unbeliever and believer but between Jew and Gentile. He looking at the history of humanity in terms of the history of salvation—how God has revealed salvation through history. He didn't just dump the whole load on Adam and Eve when they came out of the garden. Abraham was given more information, Moses more, the prophets more; this is called progressive revelation. Each generation was responsible for the amount of revelation it had been given to them. But from Adam and the fall up to Moses was the age of the Gentiles and from Moses to the cross was the age of Israel. Paul is looking on this in a sense as the childhood of the human race, the childhood of Israel, and Israel is under the law, and the law is analogous to a pedagogue. What Paul is saying is that just as in the analogy in Roman adoption, that the pedagogue had a temporary role and function, so too, the law by its very nature. And once the human race reaches adulthood, i.e. when Jesus Christ comes in the incarnation and redemption, the pedagogue no longer has a function. So Israel would no longer be under the pedagogue, he loses his job, and so not only is Israel no longer under the law but Gentiles who never were under the law are not to be required to come under the law.
Galatians 4:4 NASB "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law." The principle here is that Jesus Christ controls history. God determined when the best time in all of human history would be to send the saviour. He provided a unique historical environment for the incarnation. His purpose was redemption—the cross, to pay the sin penalty.
Galatians 4:5 NASB "so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
The doctrine of redemption
1. The meaning of redemption is to pay a price, to purchase from the slave market, to set free.
2. The saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross whereby all humanity is bought from the slave market of sin in which they were born spiritually dead and delivered to the freedom of grace. Redemption is realised or applied when a person is born again by faith alone in Christ alone. Even though the unbeliever is born in the slave market of sin, Christ died and the shackles have been loosened. They can step out of them. The issue is not sin anymore; the issue is whether or not they accept the payment. But they are still minus righteousness. Sin is paid for but because they are –R all they can produce is their life is –R. All their good works have no value, they never add up to the perfect righteousness of Christ. Therefore at the great white throne judgment when all unbelievers are evaluated God will add up all of their good works, and when He does they will still amount to –R. The standard is +R and so they will be condemned to eternity in the lake of fire. That does John 3:18 say? NASB "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." It doesn't say because he is a sinner. Sin was taken care of at the cross. If there is no belief in Christ there is no imputation, no justification and the person is condemned because he has not believed.
3. Christ is the only qualified redeemer. He is qualified a) because of the virgin conception and birth—no sin nature, no imputation of Adam's original sin; b) by His life because He never committed a sin—the doctrine of the impeccability of Jesus Christ, Isaiah 53:9; John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26-28.
4. Redemption is one aspect of God's solution to sin. Illustration: the barrier—six consequences or problems from the act that separated man from God: a) Sin itself, Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; b) the penalty of sin, Romans 6:23, spiritual death, Ephesians 2:1; c) Physical birth. We are born spiritually dead with a sin nature and separated from God; d) Relative righteousness, which means that we are born –R and no matter how good we are we can never come up to the perfect righteousness which God demands; e) the character of God. Man's problem is that he is –R, God is +R. What the righteousness of God demands the justice of God must supply. The issue is not how a God can send pone of His creatures to the lake of fire, the issue is, How can a righteous God let anyone into heaven who does not meet His absolute standard; f) our position in Adam—"In Adam all die," 1 Corinthians 15:22.
5. In the Old Testament the solution (Christ's death on the cross) was symbolised by a blood sacrifice. The blood represented the physical death of the animal. The physical death of the animal in turn was a portrayal of the death of Christ on the cross. But remember the penalty for sin is spiritual death, so the death that Christ died on the cross had to be in kind. Physical death doesn't pay the penalty for spiritual death. Jesus Christ was separated from God the Father for three hours on the cross when He bore in His body the payment for our sins. So we refer to this as the spiritual substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Before He died physically the payment for us was complete. The last thing he said before He died physically was tetelestai [tetelestai], "It is finished." Animal blood was the means of teaching or portraying the doctrine in the Old Testament, Exodus 12:7, 12; Hebrews 9:22. In the New Testament it is the blood of Christ—the physical blood represents spiritual death, the blood is simply a type, a physical representation of what took place in the spiritual realm.
6. The blood of Christ was the ransom price of redemption.
7. The soul of the believer is redeemed in salvation. Job 19:25, 26.
8. Condemnation under the Mosaic Law; redemption solve the problem.
9. The results of redemption: a) the forgiveness of sins—it is the basis for justification. Because the price has been paid we can then trust Christ because He died as our substitute in our place and b) in accepting that payment there is the imputation of Christ's righteousness and we are declared to be righteous; c) it is the basis for sanctification. Now that we are positionally sanctified because we are in Christ we can then grow and mature as believers in experiential sanctification. Ephesians 5:25; d) it is the basis for our eternal inheritance, Hebrews 9:15; Galatians 4:7; e) it is related to the mediatorship of Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 2:5, 6.
Galatians 4:6, the sign of adoption NASB "Because you are sons [huios, adult sons], God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" The sending forth of the Holy Spirit is unique in this age, and this is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every single believer. It is related to the sealing of the Spirit as the sign of sonship that God the Holy Spirit indwells every single believer in this age. "Abba" is a very close term of affection to the Father, so it shows the intimate relationship the church age believer can have with the Father because he is a royal priest under God and has a unique family relationship which is quite different from that of the Old Testament.
Conclusion: Galatians 4:7 "Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God."