Introduction: Last week, Paul explained that the law was just like
going to school. When we discussed our days in school, we
remembered that school not only taught us important lessons about
how to succeed in life, it also taught us that we were not the
smartest student in the class. (And the smartest student was taught
that lesson the next level up in school!) Now that we have learned
those lessons, Paul concludes that “we are no longer under the
supervision of the law.” ( Galatians 3:25). What does it mean to be
unsupervised? How should we live? Let’s plunge again into our
continuing study of Galatians and find out what God says!

  1. Young Sons and Daughters of God

    1. Let’s go out of order for just a bit. Let’s read
      Galatians 4:1. Why is it true that a young child of the
      estate owner is just like a slave? (Legally, the child
      has no right to the estate. But time will change that for
      the child. Time will not change it for the slave.)

    2. Read Galatians 4:2. This reminds us of last week, when we
      learned that wealthy parents had servants who would take
      care of their young children and make sure they were
      taken to school. We learned that the law was this
      instructor. Who do you think is the “father” in Paul’s
      analogy? (God, the Father.)

      1. Who decides when a child becomes an adult? (Paul
        tells us that the Father makes that decision. In the
        United States, this is generally governed by law.
        But, parents have control over when their children
        have the right to the parents’ wealth.)

    3. Read Galatians 4:3. When humans were under the law they
      were like school children. While in school we were “under
      the basic principles of the world.” What are those basic
      principles? (The most basic principle is that if we
      sinned, we would die.)

  2. Adult Sons and Daughters of God

    1. Read Galatians 4:4-5. Let’s look at these two verses
      closely. What time are we talking about? And, who
      decided when the time should come? (The time is when
      Jesus came to this world as a human. God the Father
      apparently determined that time.)

      1. What do these verses say about the nature of Jesus?
        (First, that He is the Son of God. Second, that He
        was born of a human woman. That makes Jesus both
        God and human.)

      2. What was the purpose of Jesus coming? (To redeem us
        from the law. To give us the rights of adult sons,
        instead of the rights of young children.)

    2. Now, let’s go back and pick up the verses that we
      skipped. Read Galatians 3:26-29. The verses we have been
      reading refer to “sons.” Is Paul referring to both men
      and women? (Yes!)

      1. Then why would Paul call them “sons?” (Sons had
        superior legal rights to daughters. His point is
        that when it comes to being a child of God, there is
        no difference based on gender, race, economic or
        political status. All are given the maximum legal

      2. How do we become a grown up child of God? How do we
        move out from under the law and secure our maximum
        legal rights?(Faith and baptism.)

        1. Notice the precise wording “through faith in
          Christ Jesus” and “baptized into Christ.” What
          kind of faith is described? Exactly what are we
          believing? (Since Paul describes Jesus as both
          God and human, that seems to be a key part of

        2. Why would Paul use the phrase “baptized into
          Christ?” How can we somehow enter into Jesus
          when we are baptized? (Read Romans 6:3-5. This
          helps us to understand the nature of baptism.
          Just as Jesus was buried in death, so it is
          that when we are buried beneath the water in
          baptism, we participate in Jesus’ death. When
          we rise from the baptismal water, we
          participate in Jesus’ resurrection, and thus
          His defeat of sin and death. In this way we
          look forward to resurrection to eternal life!)

    3. Let’s go back and re-read Galatians 3:29. What does dying
      and rising(through baptism)mean about the law and grace?
      (That we are now part of the contract with Abraham – to
      believe and live. We have also paid, through Jesus, the
      penalty for sin. In at least this way we are no longer
      under the supervision of the law.)

  3. The Spirit of the Sons and Daughters of God

    1. Let’s move forward by reading Galatians 4:6-7. What new
      thing do we learn about becoming children of God? (We
      have Spirit of God in our hearts.)

      1. What is one role of God’s Spirit in our heart? (To
        call out “Abba,” which means “Father.”)

        1. What does that mean?(It means that we have a
          changed attitude towards God. We feel a love
          for Him, and a relationship with Him just as we
          would for a normal, loving father. Think of
          the child who has a wonderful father, and that
          is the relationship we have with God.)

    2. Read Galatians 4:8-9. Should an attitude that God is our
      loving and gracious Father make a difference in how we
      live? (All children have a time of rebellion, but normal
      children dealing with normal parents want to please their

      1. Paul writes of unnatural gods and “weak and
        miserable principles.” What are unnatural gods?
        (The most unnatural gods are those that we make with
        our own hands. Why would any sane person worship
        some object that person made? The legalists were
        doing the same thing – they were worshiping what
        they had made! By their own effort they had obeyed
        the law (at least they thought so), and therefore
        their salvation was “made by them.”)

    3. Read Galatians 4:10-11. Paul gives us an example of what
      he is talking about. How does worshiping your own efforts
      have anything to do with “special days and months and
      seasons and years?” (The ceremonial law had all sorts of
      rules about special feasts, and the timing of certain
      purification. If the people were going to rely on
      observing those deadlines and dates for salvation, they
      were getting back to righteousness by works.)

      1. What about the Sabbath? It is a “special day!” (It
        certainly means that going to church on Sabbath does
        not save you – any more than anything else you do
        saves you. If you have the attitude of “Abba”
        towards your Heavenly Father, would you not want to
        spend the Sabbath with Him? I love it when I can
        video Skype with my son who no longer lives with us.
        It is not a burden. Not a task. Not something that I
        think “I’ll get credit for doing this!”)

      2. We have looked at how we were buried with Jesus and
        resurrected with Him. Do you recall where Jesus
        spent the Sabbath after His death? (In the grave.)

        1. Why?

        2. If you were God the Father, and your Son had
          just been through a horrific beating and abuse,
          would you want to run to Him right away and
          comfort Him?

        3. If your were God the Father, and your Son had
          just won the Super Bowl of the universe, would
          you want to rush to Him immediately to
          congratulate Him? (“Yes!” What loving parent
          would delay? The only way I can possibly
          account for this incredible delay is that just
          as Jesus rested on Sabbath after His creation
          ( Genesis 2:2), so Jesus rested on Sabbath after
          His victory over sin. I want to celebrate both
          of those astonishing feats
          (Creation/Redemption)on Sabbath – and it has
          nothing to do with the works of my hands!)

  4. Paul’s Motivation

    1. Read Galatians 4:12-16. Whenever you hear someone
      advocate a position, you should ask “What is that
      person’s motive?” If you were a member of the Galatian
      church, what negative motives could you attribute to
      Paul’s letter? (Pride of opinion. Anger that they should
      change their mind – and no longer agree with him. Pride
      of “ownership” – these are people that Paul converted.))

      1. Notice that Paul answers these charges. Is his pride
        injured? (He says, “you have done me no wrong.”)

      2. What about pride of “ownership?” (Paul says “I first
        stopped in your town because I was sick.” It was not
        Paul’s goal to convert this particular group (as
        opposed to people in the next town). Paul seems to
        be saying, “I can convert the next town, I don’t
        need to claim “ownership” over you.)

      3. What does Paul say is his main reason for wanting
        them to go back to grace? (Joy. He wants to give
        them back their joy.)

    2. Read Galatians 4:17-20. What motivates the legalists to
      try to turn the Galatians to their views? (Power. They
      want more followers.)

    3. Friend, Paul tells us that believing in righteousness by
      faith is like the joy of a child who on his birthday
      becomes an adult. He is now unsupervised! He has freedom,
      he has status, he has legal rights. That freedom as sons
      and daughters of God brings us closer to Him. Makes us
      desire to please Him. Will you enter today into the joy
      of grace?

  5. Next week: Paul’s Pastoral Appeal.