Explore the Bible
September 30 2018
Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-7 (HCSB)
In Paul’s day many Roman and Greek households had child guardians. The educated slaves took the children to school and watched over them during the day. Their task was often to teach the children protect them and even discipline them. This is what Paul meant by “guardian” in Galatians 3:23-25. We are not to understand it in the sense of a modern teacher. Paul used this word picture to describe what the Law did for the Jews until Christ.
The Law regulated all of Jewish life. It prepared Israel for the coming of Christ (Gal. 3:22). The Law separated Israel from the Gentiles (Eph. 2:12-18). The Law also created a sense of guilt and need in those who were lost (Matt. 19:16-22). Paul said in Galatians 3:25 that the Law had served its purpose and was no longer needed. Why? The Savior had come. Paul told the Galatians they were “no longer under a guardian for you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:25-26).
Paul wanted them to understand that the Law could not do what the Jewish leaders promised it could do. The Law could not make them heirs of God. “If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The promise was that all nations would be blessed through Abraham (Gal. 3:8; Gen. 12:1-3). This also involved being justified by faith (Gal. 3:6-9). This promise was spoken to Abraham and his seed (Gal. 3:16). Notice that seed is singular and is referring to Christ (Gal. 3:16). So if you are in Christ by faith you are Abraham’s seed spiritually speaking.
Paul was telling the Galatians they needed to grow up and did not need a guardian (Gal. 4:1-7). “Adoption” means “to have an adult standing in the family of God.” “So you are no longer a slave but a son and if a son then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:7). True heirs of God live by faith and are not slaves to legalism.