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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

              From Heirs Apparent To Heirs Actual (4:1-7)

INTRODUCTION

1. In his epistle to the churches of Galatia, Paul...
   a. Opposed those teaching that Gentiles must be circumcised and keep
      the Law of Moses
   b. Presented a series of five arguments contending that we are
      justified by faith in Christ

2. We have seen Paul make three of these arguments so far...
   a. The personal argument - Ga 3:1-5
      1) How they received the Spirit
      2) From whom they received the Spirit
   b. The scriptural argument - Ga 3:6-25
      1) The example of Abraham
      2) The curse of the Law
      3) The priority of the Promise over the Law
      4) The purpose of the Law
   c. The practical argument - Ga 3:26-29
      1) In Christ they are one, as children of God, Abraham's seed
      2) As such they are heirs of the promise regarding the Seed

3. As we begin the fourth chapter, Paul continues with his practical
   argument...
   a. Under the Law they were simply "heirs apparent"
   b. In Christ Jesus they have become "heirs actual"

[That we might appreciate our blessings in Christ, especially the
earnest of our inheritance, let's examine Paul's explanation of how they
went "From Heirs Apparent To Heirs Actual"...]

I. UNDER THE LAW AS HEIRS APPARENT

   A. THEY WERE NO DIFFERENT THAN SLAVES...
      1. They were still children - Ga 4:1-2
         a. Heirs, yet no different from slaves regarding inheritance
         b. Masters, yet still under guardians and stewards
      2. They were in bondage under the elements of the world - Ga 4:3
         a. "The word rendered 'elements' (stoicheion), properly means a
            row or series; a little step; a pin or peg, as the gnomen of
            a dial; and then anything 'elementary,' as a sound, a
            letter. It then denotes the elements or rudiments of any
            kind of instruction, and in the NT is applied to the first
            lessons or principles of religion; He 5:12." - Barnes
         b. "Here the figure is kept up of the reference to the infant
            (Ga 4:1,3); and the idea is, that lessons were taught under
            the Jewish system adapted to their nonage - to a state of
            childhood. They were treated as children under tutors and
            governors." - Barnes, ibid.

   B. THEY WERE UNDER GUARD...
      1. They were kept under guard by the Law - cf. Ga 3:23
      2. The Law had been their tutor, schoolmaster (paidagogos) - cf.
         Ga 3:24
         a. "a tutor, i.e. a guardian and guide of boys. Among the
            Greeks and the Romans the name was applied to trustworthy
            slaves who were charged with the duty of supervising the
            life and morals of boys belonging to the better class.  The
            boys were not allowed so much as to step out of the house
            without them before arriving at the age of manhood."
            - Thayer
         b. "paidagogos; from pais (G3816), a child, and agogos, a
            leader, which is from ago (G71), to lead. An instructor or
            teacher of children, a schoolmaster, a pedagogue (1Co 4:15;
            Ga 3:24-25). Originally referred to the slave who conducted
            the boys from home to the school. Then it became a teacher
            or an educator." - Complete Word Study Dictionary

[Such was the condition of those under the Law of Moses.  But now in
Christ things are dramatically different...]

II. IN JESUS CHRIST AS HEIRS ACTUAL

   A. THEY ARE NOW SONS...
      1. They are no longer under a tutor
         a. The Law had served its purpose as tutor well - cf. Ga 3:
            23-24a
         b. But now they were called to be "justified by faith" - cf. Ga
            3:24b-25
      2. They are now sons of God
         a. Through faith in Christ Jesus - cf. Ga 3:26
         b. For those baptized into Christ have put on Christ - cf. Ga
            3:27
         c. They have been "born again" - cf. Jn 3:5

   B. THEY HAVE RECEIVED THE ADOPTION OF SONS...
      1. They have been redeemed - Ga 4:4-5
         a. By the Son sent by His Father
            1) When the fullness of time had come (when conditions were
               just right)
            2) Born of a woman (Mary), born under the Law (of Moses)
         b. For the purpose of:
            1) Redeeming those under the Law (Jews)
            2) Receiving the adoption as sons (both Jews and Gentiles)
      2  They have received the Spirit of God in their hearts - Ga 4:6
         a. By whom they cry out "Abba, Father!" - cf. Ro 8:15
         b. Who bears witness with their spirit that they are children
            and heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ - cf. Ro 8:16-17
         c. Who pours out the love of God in their hearts - cf. Ro 5:5
         d. As explained by others:
            1) "And being made sons by the Son through the operation of
               faith (Jn 1:12), the Spirit of Christ is bestowed upon us
               to bring us to blissful realization of our son ship, so
               that we may speak to God, calling him Abba, Father.  Abba
               is the Syriac for father. The Syriac and Greek names are
               both used by Paul, probably that all the tender
               associations which, to either Jews or Greeks, clustered
               around the paternal name, might be, at the sound of the
               sacred word, transferred to God. Thus, by the blessed
               ministration of Christ, all who believed on him in
               Galatia passed from servitude and wardship to the estate
               of sons and heirs - Ro 8:17." - McGarvey on Ga 4:6
            2) "For ye did not receive the spirit of bondage. The time
               is referred to when they were born again, and entered the
               kingdom of God. They did not receive the spirit of
               bondage, of slavery to sin, so that they would obey its
               dictates, and thus be in fear of death. Instead, they
               received the Holy Spirit according to promise (Ac 2:38)."
               - B. W. Johnson on Ro 8:15
            3) "The Spirit of adoption. The Spirit God bestows upon
               those who are accepted as his children. Paul was writing
               to the Romans, among whom the adoption of children, not
               their own by nature, was common. They would understand
               this to mean that those converted, or born again, are
               adopted as children of God; upon those thus adopted he
               bestows his Spirit; this Spirit in their hearts produces
               a loving trust that enables them to address God as
               Father." - Johnson, ibid.
      3. They are heirs of God through Christ - Ga 4:7; cf. Ro 8:16-17
         a. Receiving the Spirit as a guarantee (arrabon) - cf. Ep 1:
            13-14; 2Co 1:22; 5:5
            1) "An earnest; money which in purchases is given as a
               pledge or down payment that the full amount will
               subsequently be paid." - Thayer
            2) "A pledge, something which stands for part of the price
               and paid beforehand to confirm the transaction. Used in
               the NT only in a figurative sense and spoken of the Holy
               Spirit which God has given to believers in this present
               life to assure them of their future and eternal
               inheritance." - Complete Word Study Dictionary
         b. The Spirit is but the first fruits - cf. Ro 8:23
            1) With the redemption of the body (the resurrection) yet to
               come - cf. Ep 4:30
            2) Until the redemption of the purchased possession - cf. Ep
               1:14
            3) When we will receive the ultimate inheritance:  "God is
               with us!" - Re 21:1-7

CONCLUSION

1. To seek justification by the works of the Law is to return to being
   "heirs apparent"...
   a. In which one is but a child under a guardian
   b. In which one is still in bondage to basic elements of religion

2. To be justified by an obedient faith in Christ is to become "heirs
   actual"...
   a. In which one has begun to receive the inheritance as sons of God
   b. The first fruit being the Spirit of God, who is a guarantee of
      that which is to come

3. Are we benefiting from the blessing of the Spirit in our lives...?
   a. Promised to those who believe? - Jn 7:37-39
   b. Given to those who become children of God? - Ga 4:6
   c. Whose indwelling should engender a strong affection for God as our
      Father? - Ga 4:6; Ro 5:5

Paul will have much more to say about the Spirit in the life of the
Christian in his epistle to the Galatians (cf. Ga 5:5,16-25; 6:8).  For
now, let Peter remind you how to receive the Spirit... - cf. Ac 2:38-39
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