Galatians 4

Today read Galatians 4.

Paul’s plea to the Galatians continued in this chapter, and a very anxious plea it was! To Paul, following the law is like being a child, a slave even (vv. 1-3) but believing in Christ is full adoption to sonship (vv. 4-7). So why would anyone choose following the law over believing in Christ? To do that would make you like a minor again (vv. 8-11) instead of having all the wealth, blessings, rights, and privileges that an adult heir would receive from his father. It’s like choosing to be Ishmael instead of Isaac (vv. 24-31); nobody would make that choice, but that’s what subjecting yourself to the law is, spiritually speaking.

Within Paul’s explanation about this he described one of the benefits of believing in Christ. Christ died for our sins so that “we might receive adoption to sonship” (v. 5). Adoption is such a great metaphor for what God has done for us in Christ. When a couple adopts a child, that child is conferred--credited--with all the rights and privileges that a natural-born child has. In the same way, by adopting us in Christ, God gives us the same status of sonship as Christ himself. But “status” is not something we experience, at least not in this life. If we are going to relate to God as his sons, we need more than just status. So God did something else for us so that we could benefit from our status as sons in this life. As Paul put it in verse 6, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” The reason why we can have assurance of salvation is that we have the Spirit within us that speaks of our relationship to God as his sons now in Christ. The reason we can pray in faith that God hears us is that the Holy Spirit within us calls out to him.

This gives us hope for a future eternity with God. As verse 7 put it, “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Christ promised an inheritance to us in his eternal kingdom; that inheritance comes from the status we received as a gift of grace from Jesus.

Numbers 4, Psalm 38, Song of Solomon 2, Hebrews 2

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Numbers 4, Psalm 38, Song of Solomon 2, Hebrews 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Hebrews 2.

The book of Hebrews is an impassioned attempt by an unknown author to persuade his fellow Jews who have professed faith in Jesus not to abandon their profession of faith and return to Judaism. The book argues that Christ is superior to anything else that can be offered to them religiously speaking. Here in Hebrews 2:1 we see one of the many pleas to tend to their faith: “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Most of chapter 1 argued that Christ is superior to angels. Chapter 2:2 picks up on that theme and reminds the readers that when angels spoke to people, what they said was God’s word. It was, therefore, required that the people who heard the word of God through angels believe and obey that word. How much more important, then, argues the author of Hebrews, that we not drift away from the word of Christ since through him we have salvation (v. 3) and his message was authenticated by miracles (v. 4). Verse 5 begins to turn the thought to a much more personal connection between us and Christ. He quotes Psalm 8 and refers to how God has “put everything under” the feet of humanity, but that this claim has not been realized yet. However, Christ has been crowned with glory and honor (v. 9) and his death on behalf of humanity makes him “the pioneer” of humanity’s salvation (v. 10). And what was the purpose of this? Verse 11: “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.” Of the many reasons why Christ became human and died, one of the main reasons was personal—he wanted to join the human family so that, though his redemption, we could join his family, the family of God.

What an incredible thought of the grace of God. God would have been enormously gracious to simply send Christ to atone for our sins, then annihilate us instead of sending us to hell. But instead of merely rescuing us from eternal torment—as merciful as that was—Christ wanted to make us his brothers and sisters! This is an encouraging truth to help us when our minds question God and our faith is weak. Jesus came into the world, taught us the meaning of salvation, performed miracles to attest to the validity of his claims, then became the pioneer of the redeemed human family, subjugating all creation to himself, then calling us his family so that we can reign with him by grace. This is one of many things that should keep our faith going when the going gets tough. Whatever you’re facing today, know that Christ has won the ultimate victory and we will participate in it by his grace when God’s decreed time comes.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.