Galatians 4:1-7 Only through the heavenly inheritance can believers transcend the world and live life as sons of God.
Galatians 4:1-7 Only through the heavenly inheritance can believers transcend the world and live life as sons of God
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
In this section, Paul uses an analogy to further explain what he said about living as a child/slave “under the law” (v3:23-25)… and as a son in the new era of faith “in Christ” (v3:26-29). A child is one who is enslaved by circumstances, the physical concerns of livelihood, while being oppressed by the elemental laws of the world. On the other hand, a son walks in divine love and wisdom, and he exercises divine authority over His circumstances. To a son, things that seem impossible in the world become possible. Many Christians are like children, and are no different from non-Christians. They do not know any differently from what everybody already knows. Apart from knowing that God is in control, they have no clarity concerning God’s will, nor could they exercise divine authority effectively. Because of ignorance, many believers continue to behave like children, being imprisoned by the elemental things of the world. The goal of the church is to disciple believers to operate in the capacity of sons to transcend the elemental things and prosper. Today’s devotion teaches: Only through the heavenly inheritance can believers transcend the world and live life as sons of God.
Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.
The young master although a legal owner of his father’s estate does not yet have authority over it. For he is under supervision by guardians for the purpose of training until a date set by his father. As long as he is under custody, he is no different from a slave, having to submit to the authority of the custodian.
Paul uses the analogy of children to describe believers of the Old Testament as being confined under the “elemental things of the world” (see image below).
It is only upon Christ’s resurrection that believers are raised through faith above the “element things of the world”, being freed from it.
What are the so called “elemental things of the world”?
A man of the New Testament days will take it to mean: The fundamental principles or rudimentary teachings of such subjects as music, physics, biology, economics, sociology etc. Such are basic principles that govern the physical world and are considered sacrosanct. Thus, all humanity regardless of their race, social status and gender cannot transcend them. Below are examples of the elemental things of the world that exist in the minds of people:
- Unless one is smart he cannot prosper.
- One cannot defy his familial traditions and heritage.
- Not everyone is born for greatness.
- All good things must one day come to an end.
- It is impossible to have peace and joy continually all day and all year long.
- It is impossible for a human being to live like God, the resurrected Christ.
- It is possible for the righteous to be deprived of their physical needs.
- It is not possible to converse with God plainly and understand His will.
- Anything that is dead cannot be raised to life.
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
“Fullness of the time” means an appropriate or destined time. In God’s infinite wisdom, He sent forth His Son at an appropriate time in the divine scheme of things; not too early, and not too late. “Born of a woman” denotes Jesus as wholly man, possessing a human frailty in the likeness of sinful flesh (see Romans 8:3). “Born under the Law” denotes Jesus as a descendant of Abraham, appointed as the Lamb of God to forgive the sins of humanity. Being born of a woman qualifies Jesus as the Mediator between God and men. By being born under the Law, Jesus’s righteous life and death becomes a legitimate sacrifice that takes away the sins of humanity. “Those” who were under the Law refers not just to the Jews but to all humanity. When God gives Israel the Law, He also has the Gentiles in mind holding every person accountable to Him (see Romans 3:19). When all humanity is put “under the Law”, Jesus’s sacrifice becomes judicially effective in forgiving humanity’s sins and adopting believers as sons.
Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Jesus’s sacrifice under the provisions of the Mosaic law has forgiven the sins of humanity. After His resurrection, He sent forth His Spirit uniting Himself with believers making them legitimate sons of God. Under Hebrew traditions, one who calls God “Abba! Father!” effectively makes himself equal with God. And that is one reason the Jews wanted to kill Jesus,
17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” 18 For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:17-18
Since we as believers are called sons, and we call God, our Father,… Are we then “equal with God”? Although the answer is a definite no!… It is not completely straightforward. Hebrews 2:11 says that Christ is the firstborn among many brothers who originate from one Father. Thus, Jesus is in a limited sense “equal” with men being unashamed to call them His brothers (see Hebrews 2:11). In addition, Hebrews 2:14-15 talks about the essentiality of Christ’s brotherhood for man’s salvation,
14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.
Indeed, Jesus‘s humanness in ”sharing in flesh and blood” with mankind qualifies Him to free believers from slavery to the elemental things of the world. For only when Jesus is wholly flesh and blood can His sacrifice free humanity to become heirs of God.
Only through the heavenly inheritance can believers transcend the world and live life as sons of God.
A slave of the world is subject to the world’s basic laws of economics, sociology, and biology etc. These laws (elemental things of the world) proceed out of an transient world that is passing away (see 1 Cor 7:31a, Luke 21:33). But a son transcends these worldly laws because he is of heaven and not of the world. The laws of the world proceed out of human wisdom, earthly structures of justice administered by the authorities of the world’s darkness and evil in the spirit realm (see Ephesians 6:12). But the laws of heaven proceed from the attributes of God; of divine love, wisdom and power.
Now, the sons of God, being heirs receive their heavenly inheritances by taking on God’s divine attributes. When sons operate in divine love, wisdom and supernatural power, things that seem impossible become possible:
- Sons can defy the basic principles of biology (see Luke 1:35-37).
- Sons can regenerate hardened and callous hearts (Matthew 19:25-26).
- Sons can remove all hindrances regardless of its origin, size and complexity (Matthew 17:20b).
- Sons can give life to all things (relationships, careers, projects, people) that are considered dead and gone (see John 11:25).
- Sons can know and declare God’s plans in advance so that they may work with Him (see 1 Thessalonians 3:4; John 16:4, 13; Mark 13:23; Isaiah 46:10; Genesis 41:25).
- Sons can sense God’s presence and converse with Him plainly and intimately (see John 14:17).
Why is it that Christians (sons of God) do not seem to have an edge over non-Christians (the slaves of the elemental things of the world)?
It is true that we do not yet see many sons transcending the elemental laws of the world. The reason is due to certain revelations being suppressed in preference for institutionalised teachings. And the spirit of darkness has infiltrated the church turning it towards the world. Because Christians do not have within them divine love, wisdom and authority, they are hence, no different from non-Christians. Most Christians do not know any differently from what the world already knows, nor could they exercise divine authority over their circumstances.
The majority of the churches today are living under the elemental things of the world. They possess some form of knowledge, but devoid of the power to regenerate and impact the society. Only a minority of the churches are preaching the message of Christ and the heavenly inheritance. Such comprises believers who are actively transcending the elemental things of the world.
Why is it so difficult for Christians to transcend the elemental laws of the world to operate in the supernatural?
Because Christians’ mindsets remain earthly, devoid of Christ’s nature and calling. Because they refuse to pay the price of sanctification, the solid food of the word is not found in them. Therefore, without the substance of divine love, wisdom and authority, there is no foundation to operate in the supernatural.
Therefore, the goal of the church is to disciple believers to acquire Christ’s love, wisdom and power. In so doing, they are given to operate in the capacity of sons to transcend elemental laws and prosper.
How can believers learn to operate as sons to transcend elemental laws?
The below is the process of moving from the mentality of a child/slave to that of a son of God:
- Believers must actively exercise their rights as co-heirs with Christ while accessing the inheritance of heavenly (Eph 2:6, Rom 8:17).
- Believers must pursue God’s surpassing grace and kindness in their lives (Eph 2:7).
- Believers must endeavour to put on Christ’s nature and design on a daily basis (Eph 2:10).
- Believers must actively adopt Christ’s calling and become a blessing to the world (Eph 1:18).
- Believers must access Christ’s knowledge to obtain clarity for their circumstances (Eph 1:17).
- Believers must always seek God’s wisdom concerning the future (Eph 1:17).
- Believers must learn to exercise Christ’s surpassing power and authority through the angels (Eph 1:19,21).
- Believers must look towards Christ’s glory as the ultimate inheritance (Eph 1:18)
Because of ignorance, many believers continue to be imprisoned by the elemental things of the world. Even though they seek to live out the virtues of Christ, their ignorance of the heavenly inheritance continue to enslave them to the elemental things of the world. That said, as believers are found faithful, more resources and authority together with a higher calling will be given to them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I living like a slave, being pushed around by circumstances and expectations of people? Or am I a son who lives by the directives of the Father while exercising authority over my circumstances?
- Do I frequently depend on God to provide grace to overcome my circumstances?
- Do I constantly remind myself of Christ’s virtues and living accordingly?
- Do I know my divine calling? Am I staying on course?
- Do I frequently depend on God to provide clarity concerning my circumstances?
- Do I frequently defer to God my (family, career, and ministry) direction?
- Do I frequently seek God’s wisdom before exercising my divine authority? Have I been effective in moving mountains and circumstances?
- Am I looking to the heavenly glory or am I concern with the pleasures of the world?
Dear Lord, I desire to acquire more of your virtues of love, wisdom and power. As I read your word, reveal yourself to me and give me life. Quicken my senses so that I may interact with you tangibly and intimately. Open my eyes to see the things that are above the elemental things so that I may learn wisdom. Cause me to be able to converse with you plainly and to know your mind. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.