Introduction: Do you recall a time when you were on vacation and you
saw some beautiful mountain or scenic canyon? Did you travel around
it so that you could see it from different angles? That is how our
lessons feel recently. We have been asking this question: “If we were
saved by trusting in God from the very beginning, why did God give us
the Ten Commandments later?” We have looked at this question several
times now, and we look at it again in this lesson. Paul apparently
wants us to consider the question from all angles, so let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and view a different angle!

  1. Sons and Daughters

    1. Read Galatians 3:23-26. How has your status improved? (We
      went from “prisoners” to “sons!”)

      1. How did we become sons? (“Through faith in Christ

    2. Read Galatians 3:27. How important is baptism? (Extremely!
      When we go under the water in baptism, we “cloth” ourselves
      with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.)

    3. Read Galatians 3:28. During the time that Paul wrote
      Galatians, there was a huge societal difference between
      Jews, Greeks, slaves, males and females. What is the
      importance of these differences when you become saved?
      (They disappear. We all become one in Jesus.)

    4. Read Galatians 3:29. Is this a different angle than we
      discussed two weeks ago? Then we discussed that we
      inherited from Abraham the contract that he had with God.
      That contract was that Abraham should believe (trust) God,
      and God would consider Abraham righteous. What does this
      say about the way we inherit the promise made to Abraham?
      (It says that we inherit if we “belong to Christ.”
      Belonging to Christ means that we trust what He has done on
      our behalf. This reaffirms the same promise, the same

  2. Slaves and Heirs

    1. Read Galatians 4:1-2. How can Paul say a son is “no
      different from a slave?” A son has hope and a future. A
      slave does not. How can we understand what Paul is saying
      in a way that makes sense? (Paul is writing like a lawyer.
      From a legal point of view, a young son has the same kind
      of limitations as a slave.)

    2. Read Galatians 4:3. What are the “basic principles of the
      world?” (Adam and Eve were warned that a basic principle is
      that sinners die an eternal death. (Compare Genesis 2:15-17
      with Genesis 3:1-5.) The Ten Commandments generally reflect
      basic principles of the world. Do not steal, do not kill,
      and other self-evident rules. You don’t need the Ten
      Commandments to know that those things are wrong.)

    3. Read Galatians 4:4-5. When we talk about a child, moving
      from a child to an adult occurs early in life. When does
      this change from slave to adult son take place when it
      comes to our relationship with God? (It took place when
      Jesus came to earth to live, die and be resurrected on our

      1. Everyone who is reading this lesson was born after
        the time that Jesus came to earth. What do you think
        Paul means when he says that we ( Galatians 4:5) have
        the “full rights of sons?” What, exactly, are those
        “rights?” (The context shows that we have the right
        to be free from “guardians and trustees.” We are no
        longer like slaves.)

        1. Does this include being free from the Ten
          Commandments? (Yes! And, all other kinds of laws
          given by God to guide humans.)

      2. Let me ask you a practical question. Why did the
        parents hire guardians and trustees? Why did you
        teach your children that they should do certain
        things and not do others?

        1. Would you reasonably expect that when your
          children became adults, they would disregard all
          of the things they were taught by you? (Just the
          opposite. Parents hire “guardians and trustees”
          to teach and direct their children for the very
          purpose of convincing the child of the best way
          to live when they grow up.)

    4. Read Galatians 4:6. Under whose influence do we independent
      “adult” children of God live? (You may get tired of me
      saying this, but Paul makes the point over and over again:
      we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The Holy Spirit
      leads us into a Father – son (daughter) relationship with

    5. Read Galatians 4:7. What is the context for us becoming an
      “heir?” What have we been discussing about our
      inheritance?(We inherit the promise that if we trust God,
      we will credited with being righteous.)

      1. Does this verse suggest that we have inherited more
        than that? (Yes! We have become part of the family of
        God. We are God’s sons and daughters.)

    6. Read Galatians 4:8. When you were discussing the last
      several questions, you might have said, “We are all living
      after Jesus’ time here on earth, so why are we even
      discussing the idea of us being “slaves” instead of “sons?”
      Is the time of slavery currently going on for some people?
      (Yes. For those who do not “know God,” they are still

      1. Could a person know the Ten Commandments and not know
        God? (Think of the pagans that you know. Do they
        murder others? Do they recognize that it is wrong to
        steal? These concepts are widely understood.)

      2. Consider the person who believes that they are a
        “good person,” but who rejects “religion.” Are they
        slaves? (Yes! They are not children of God for they
        have rejected Jesus’ offer of salvation and the offer
        to be His son or daughter.)

      3. Who or what are the “not gods” in Galatians 4:8?

    7. Read Galatians 4:9-11. Some say that the religion to which
      the Galatians are “turning back” is a mystery. Do we have
      any clues? (“Special days and months and seasons and years”
      sounds precisely like the Old Testament holidays and its
      system of economic rules. When you consider Galatians 2:11-15 the answer seems very obvious – Paul is talking about
      them turning back to Judaism, with its emphasis on works of
      the law.)

      1. Is that the “not gods” of Galatians 4:8?

    8. Focus on Galatians 4:10 and its reference to “days.” I
      worship on Saturday in accord with Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus
      20:8-11, and the fact that Jesus rested in the grave on
      Saturday after He died on the cross. Is Paul telling me
      that I’m making an error? Is grace wasted on me? (If you
      look at older commentaries, they argue that this verse does
      not apply to a weekly day of rest. (They are arguing for
      going to church on Sunday.) I think Robertson’s Commentary
      states it best: “Paul does not object to these observances
      for he kept them himself as a Jew. He objected to Gentiles
      taking to them as a means of salvation.” Worshiping on
      Sabbath does not save you. Trusting God saves you.)

      1. If you believe, as I do, that a weekly day of rest
        and worship is God’s plan, on what day would you rest
        and worship if you trusted God? ( Exodus 20:11 tells
        us that the Sabbath reminds us that God is our
        Creator. Jesus’ Sabbath rest after His crucifixion,
        reminds us that God is our Redeemer. Why would I pick
        out my own day (a different day) if I trusted God?)

    9. Read Galatians 4:12-16. How do you like it when someone
      corrects you? When someone disagrees with your theological
      views? (We don’t like it. But, Paul tells the Galatians to
      consider their history with him. When he first taught them
      about trust and grace they were filled with joy.)

  3. Zealous

    1. Read Galatians 4:17-18. Do you believe in evangelism? Do
      you believe in being “on fire” to advance the gospel? What
      warning does Paul give us about being evangelistic and “on
      fire?” (He says it is fine as long as you are pursuing a
      “good purpose.”)

      1. What bad purpose is involved here? (Promoting the law
        instead of trust in God.)

      2. Have you had a discussion in your church about how
        best to evangelize your town? If so, what did
        members suggest? (I recall several suggestions. One
        is to talk about prophecy and the monsters in
        Revelation. Another is to talk about the Sabbath.
        Another is to improve cooking skills and health.
        Another is seminars that will help local people in
        some way. Some of these, obviously, are merely aimed
        at getting people in the door of the church.)

        1. If you specifically targeted “trust in God” as
          your evangelistic outreach, what would you do?

    2. Read Galatians 4:19-20. Why would Paul “change [his] tone”
      if he were present with the Galatians? (He is likely using
      a harsher tone to get their attention. If he were present,
      he would not have to do that.)

    3. Friend, does looking at the law and grace in terms of
      “slaves” and “sons” help you to better understand the
      importance of trusting God? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to
      help you trust God more?

  4. Next week: Paul’s Pastoral Appeal.