Galatians 4:1-11

Just in Time


Intro: We saw in our study in Gal Ch.3 how Paul surveyed 2,000 yrs of OT history

A)In particular he showed the relationship between 3 of the great figures of Biblical History Abe / Moses / JC


B) He explained how God gave a Promise to Abe to bless all the families of the earth thru his Lineage

1)How God gave Moses the law – NOT to CANCEL OUT the promise made to Abe  but to show us our greater need for the Promise

2) And then Paul showed How the Promise was fulfilled in Christ – so that everyone the law drives to Christ – inherits thru faith the Promise … Abe


C) We ended Ch. 3 last time by looking at 4 Blessings that belong to us – because we are IN CHRIST !!!!

1)    In Christ we are Sons of God v.26

2)    V.27 in Christ is that we are Covered by Christ

3)    V.28 we are all one IN CHRIST

4)    V.29 We are Co-heirs with Christ


D) Well Paul continues on the subject of our Sonship & Heir ship here in Ch.4 –where His sequence of thought might be summarized like this :

1)Once we were slaves – now we are Sons – which makes us Heirs / that being the case How then can we turn back to the Old Slavery :  


                        3 Main pts today


#1 Mans Condition under the Law – V.1-3

       #2 God’s Action to REDEEM US thru Christ V.4-7

           #3 Our Choice: –  Live as Slaves or Live as Sons


RD V.1-3



Now The word child v.1 has the idea of a minor.  It doesn’t suggest a specific age, but someone who is not yet legally recognized as an adult.

 A)In both Jewish and Roman cultures, there were definite “coming of age” ceremonies, where a boy stopped being a child and started being a man, with legal rights as an heir.


B)In the Roman custom, there was no specific age when the son became a man. 

1)It happened when the father thought the boy was ready, when he thought the time was right. 


C)When Paul uses the phrase until the time appointed by the father, he shows that he has the Roman “coming of age” custom more in mind than the Jewish custom.


Now In a wealthy ancient household,  a young boy who is destined to be his fathers heir- While a Child would be under the care of a servant  A)And When the boy is just a child, .  EVEN THOUGH he is destined to inherit everything, he actually has less day-to-day freedom and authority than a high ranking slave in the household – That slave is his Guardian


B) SO His rights privileges & power to use his inheritance were severely restricted until he came of age.


C) Well Paul is using this analogy to paint a picture of Comparison to our spiritual condition under the Law – Children under a Guardian

1)The Law, as you recall, was the “guardian” that disciplined men and prepared  people for the coming of Christ (Gal. 3:23-25).


D)So, when the Judaizers led the Galatians back into legalism, they were leading them NOT only into religious bondage,

1)but also into moral and spiritual infancy and immaturity.

Paul states that the Galatians were, like little children, in bondage to “the elements of the world.”

A)This word elements means the basic principles, the ABCs. – The law was like that the ABC’s – Standard for living in relationship w/ God


B) A Child needs to constantly be told what to do & what not to do – He needs constant instruction & supervision

1)    That is the role that the law played


C) As a Child you appreciate that help & supervision – but the older you get the more it becomes a burden

1)    Remember guys learned to mow the Lawn – Keep the lines straight – Dad watched -  Angel Stadium –


D) First time looking for approval – do it right – stay in line – But at 16 you don’t want dad any where around –


Well the law was that source of constant supervision – Guardian – held in bondage under it’s tutelage

A)So the purpose of Paul’s analogy is to show our condition under the law That Legalism, is not a step toward maturity; but it is a step back into childhood.


B)The Law was not God’s final revelation; it was but the preparation for that final revelation in Christ.-          Life in the spirit










Well that leads us to consider pt. #2 - God’s Action to Redeem us  thru Christ RD V.4-7

A)But when the fullness of time had come: The idea behind the phrase the fullness of time is “when the time was JUST RIGHT.” 


B)Jesus came at just the right time in God’s redemptive plan, when the world was perfectly prepared for God’s work.

1)    It was a time when the Roman rule extended far & wide .


C)  And It was a time when the world was sunk in a moral abyss that was so low that even the pagans cried out against it

1)    Spiritual hunger was evident everywhere- The world needed a Savior


God had promised for four thousand years that the Messiah would come. 

A) Zech 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey,


B)Daniel 9 – Prophesied the very day: 173,880 days from the decree go & rebuild Jerusalem

1) The Psalmist spoke of the day (Psalm 118:24), this is the day that the Lord has made.  We will be glad and rejoice in it.  Save now!  Save now!  Blessed is He comes in the name of the Lord, speaking of the day when the Messiah would arrive. 


C) When Christ showed up it was just in time – The world was in great need of it  - The Law had prepared them

1) & it was in exact fulfillment to the Prophecies of the OT


So in the fullness of time or when it was just IN TIME - God sent forth His Son, born of a woman: born of a woman, born under law. To redeem those who were under the law

A)Jesus came not only as God’s Son, but also as one who lived under the Law –he lived in perfect Harmony –

1)   He did what we couldn’t do – Right to safe us


B): Think of it this way Because Jesus is God, He has the power and the resources to redeem us. 

1)    Because Jesus is man, He has the right and the ability to redeem us. 


C) He came to redeem us or to purchase out from under the law – that we might receive the adoption of sons

1)The Greek word for adoption has the meaning of  ‘taking the position of an ADULT son’.    FULL RIGHTS & PRIVILEGES



 Understand this: Adoption is not the method of entry into God’s family.

A)As Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, we enter into God’s family only by being born again.


B)Rather, adoption speaks of our privilege and standing within God’s family.


C)The moment we were born again, we were placed in an adopted state as heirs, as sons of God.

1) we are not little children but adult sons w/ all of the privileges of sonship.


D) SO Paul is pointing out that our Position as an adopted Son or daughter of God is a Position of Privilege & Power


But our Position is not just one of Priviledge & Power – but also of INTIMACY 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"

A)Jesus redeemed us from the Law to make us His kids. And we're not just His children on paper. We're adopted - yes - but more than adopted.


B)In addition to making it a legal transaction, GOD has given us the Spirit of His Son - He's planted His nature within us.

1) The instinctive cry of our heart is now "Abba!" or "daddy". Most intimate expression of Hebrew Child to his / her Father


C) When I come home – Not Mr. Salvato is home – Not Rob is Home – Not even Father is Home – Daddy is Home ! – INTIMACY

1) That is what we are Craving is intimacy with God


 “Let the Law, sin, and the devil cry out against us until their outcry fills heaven and earth.  The Spirit of God outcries them all.  Our feeble groans, ‘Abba, Father,’ will be heard of God sooner than the combined racket of hell, sin, and the Law.” (Luther)



Therefore v.7 you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ

A)There is a beautiful progression in this verse   First we are set free from slavery.  Then we are declared sons and adopted into God’s family. 

 1) Then, as sons, we are made heirs.


B) Paul wants us to understand our Place & Privilege in the family of God  Adults Sons/ Daughters – Heirs – Intimacy – Live like that

1) Let’s say Denise and I decided to adopt a Child – a boy – Brought home – Room Clothes – spot at the dinner table / key to front door

2) Mi Casa – You casa – My house – now your house


D)  First day: Gets up – Ask can I wear some of those clothes in the closet – Yes of course they are your clothes

1)    Home from school – rings the door bell – can I come in / Dinner – Ok if I eat with you guys –


D) If that went on for any length of time – that would frustrate us – because He is not getting it – Not understanding – you are part of the family

1)    You belong here – this is your house – Your stuff – ENJOY – RELAX


Well that is how a lot of Christians act with the Lord – I really don’t belong here – just sort of – here by grace – which is true

A)But God showed you grace – so that you would Know – I do belong – it is grace


B) SO they live w/  this Lord I will try to stay out of your way – I will try not to cause you any problems mentality God says I want you to bug me


Heb 4:16- Let us therefore come boldly [WELCOME] to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


C) God says You are part of my family – I love you – desire intimacy with you – I have given you resources – GRACE & MERCY –

1)to Bless you & help you -  Take advantage of them – Don’t try to live in your own strength – don’t live in your own way


Or Think of it this way: Same analogy – Adopted son – House – He is comfortable functioning

A)Can I wash the dishes / the car/ do the laundry / mow the lawn / chips & a foot massage ?


B) That would be nice for about a week or two maybe 3 – But soon I would expect him to be like my other kids – Dad can I have some money

1)    Dad can you take me to the store /……… get some Ice cream


C) Again some Christians are like that as well – they have been given these wonderful blessings in Christ –

1)    But they feel like they need to show God why they deserve them !!!! –

1,000 times no – It is Grace


D)That is the problem with legalism – we move from responding to God as sons to responding to God as servants – and there is a vast difference



So here is the Choice that needs to be made – Are we going to live like Slaves or like Sons !!!!!!  RD V.8-11

A)Paul’s thoughts here could be summed up in this way What do you think God really wants - is really after? an outward observance or an inward attitude.


B) Weak and beggarly elements : The law was weak because  it  offer no strength; they are beggarly because they bestow no riches. 

1) All it does is bring us again into bondage.


C) The real weakness isn’t with the law but with our inability to keep it !!!

1) Paul’s question is pointed – why then do you want to go back under the law ?


D) So At the end of this section, Paul puts a choice before the Galatians, and before us. 

1)    We can have a living, free, relationship with God as a loving Father based on what Jesus did for us and who we are in Him. 


E)Or we can try to please God by our best efforts of keeping the rules, living in bondage as slaves, not sons. 

1) But note Living that way makes the whole gospel in vain.


i. A good example of this is John Wesley.  Before his conversion:


·        He was the son of a clergyman and a clergyman himself.

·        He was orthodox in belief, faithful in morality, and full of good works.

·        He did ministry in prisons, sweatshops, and slums.

·        He gave food, clothing, and education to slum children.

·        He observed both Saturday and Sunday as the Sabbath.

·        He sailed from England to the American colonies as a missionary.

·        He studied his Bible, prayed, fasted, and gave regularly.


Yet all the time, he was bound in the chains of his own religious efforts, because he trusted in what he could do to make himself right before God instead of trusting in what Jesus had done. 


Later, he came to “trust in Christ, in Christ only for salvation,” and came to an inner assurance that he was now forgiven, saved, and a son of God.  Looking back on all his religious activity before he was truly saved, he said: “I had even then the faith of a servant, though not that of a son.”



The son has the same nature as the father, but the servant does not. A)When we trust Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us; and this means we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).


B)The Law could never give a person God’s nature within. All it could do was reveal to the person his desperate need for God’s nature.

1) So, when the believer goes back into Law, he is denying the very divine nature w/in & he is giving the old nature) opportunity to go to work.


C)The son has a father, while the servant has a master.

1) No servant could ever say “Father” to his master. When the sinner trusts Christ, he receives the Holy Spirit within, cries abba father !!!!


D)The son obeys out of love, while the servant obeys out of fear.

1)    The Spirit works in the heart of the believer to quicken and increase his love for God.


(Rom. 5:5). “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the HS



The son has a future, while the servant does not.

A)While many kind masters did provide for their slaves in old age, it was not required of them. The father always provides for the son (2 Cor. 12:14).


 The son is rich, while the servant is poor.

1) God has made available to us the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7; 2:7), the riches of His glory (Phil. 4:19), the riches of His goodness (Rom. 2:4),

2) and the riches of His wisdom (Rom. 11:33ff)—


and all of the riches of God are found in Christ (Col. 1:19; 2:3).