Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom # 17: From Slaves to Sons

All of us as sinners are convinced by our own conscience that we can never face a holy God and live. Self-righteousness or religion, regardless of its label,  is the natural man’s vain effort to make himself presentable before a holy God.


God, is the author of the only way sinful men can come into His presence and live with Him forever in Heaven.  That way is through the blood sacrifice of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus. 


Under the Old Covenant with Abraham, man was required to believe God for that promised Saviour who would one day come through the seed of Abraham.


The purpose of the ceremonial system


In anticipation of that promised Seed who would be sacrificed for our sins, God set up an intricate ceremonial system, complete with its temple, priesthood, animal sacrifices and ceremonial laws.  That ceremonial system, a heavy burden to the people,  had to be carried out to the letter of the law to be accepted of God.


When Jesus died on the cross two thousand years ago, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom by God Himself, thereby announcing that Jesus alone was the only way into the presence of God and that the Old Testament ceremonial system was abolished.  For someone to continue in that system or teach it, was to deny the finished work of Christ on the cross and according to Galatians 1:8-9 be under the curse of God.


 All of the religions of the world, inventions of Satan himself, teach that we can justify ourselves and  make ourselves presentable to God through our own efforts or self-righteousness or through what our church can do for us.   We live our lives as slaves in bondage to our pride and religious self efforts. 


Jesus, our source of freedom


Hebrews 2:14-18 explains that God Himself, in the person of Jesus, took on a human body and lived among men and then died on a cross to pay for our sins and deliver us from fear of death and from the bondage of man’s vain religions that are powerless to change us and make us presentable to God.


We’ve seen in our study of Galatians 3 that since the death and resurrection of Christ, there is only one way for man to be fit to face his holy God and that is to be  justified through  faith in God’s gift of Christ, who is Abraham’s promised Seed.   Through Him alone we are justified and declared perfectly righteous and made fit to live in God’s presence in Heaven. So Justification is the key thought of Galatians 3 as well as the theme of Romans 3-5.  That has been the theme of our previous studies in this Freedom series.


From the bondage of slavery under God’s Ceremonial Law to the freedom of sonship


That brings us to Galatians chapter 4 where Paul teaches us that we are delivered  from the bondage and slavery of religion to enjoy  a new personal relationship with God.  Through the new birth by faith in Christ, we are translated from slaves of Satan into the freedom of sons and daughters of God.


Note, first of all, that we are not teaching that a Christian should not serve the Lord. Rather, we are teaching that we do not attain salvation and spiritual maturity through serving Him. As mature sons and daughters of God by the grace of God alone, we serve him in love and appreciation for His wonderful salvation. That’s the message of  Romans 12:1-2.


In Galatians 4:1-3  Paul contrasts the  bondage of legalism of a small child, who is under the rules and discipline of his father’s servant, tutor or schoolmaster,  with the freedom of a mature son.


The young son, though heir of his father’s estate, has no more freedom than the slaves who care for him.  As a child, he lives in fear and bondage to those servants until the appointed time of the father.


Gal. 4:4-5 shows us that  in the fullness of time God sent His Son Jesus into the world to die on a cross and rise again, freeing those who trust Him from the bondage of sin and our legalistic struggles to be right with Him.  The text says, “God sent forth His Son (Jesus) made of a woman.  Jesus had to become a human being to save us.  Man who sinned had to die for his sins.  Therefore, Jesus, the sinless Saviour, had to become fully man in order to die in our place for our sins. 


II Corinthians 5:21 teaches that  the sinless Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins that we might be made the righteousness of God through faith in Him.


The blessings of sonship

   Gal. 4:4-7 speaks of our blessings as His Sons. Through faith in Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary we are made Sons of God.  Those who trust Him are given His Holy Spirit to live in us and enable us to experience this personal relationship with Him as His Sons and daughters.     

Whereas under the Old Covenant,  Israel was given the external rules and regulations for pleasing God, we under the New Covenant are given His Holy Spirit to live in us as the internal evidence of belonging to Him and the internal power to live victoriously.


As God’s Sons, we are no longer slaves, but heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  Read in Romans 8:17 what it means to be a joint heir with Christ.   Read Jesus’ intercessory prayer for us in John 17, a prayer that He prayed just before He went to the cross to die for our sins. As you read this prayer, be aware of His glory which He desires to share with us as His joint-heirs.


The danger of slipping back into the bondage of legalism


In Galatians 4:8-11 Paul is almost beside himself as he asks the Galatian Christians why, after enjoying the freedom of  being saved  by the grace of God, are they willing to put themselves back under the bondage of legalism, in order to try to gain favor with God under the Mosaic Ceremonial Law.


 Paul warns them not to listen to the Judaizers who were attempting to bring these young converts to Christ back under the legalism of the Mosaic ceremonial law, and rob them of their freedom in Christ.


Let me warn you to beware of anyone who denies the Gospel of God’s grace by requiring you to observe the Sabbath (the seventh day of the week),  Old Testament Feast Days, avoiding certain meats that were listed as unclean, such as pork and  requiring circumcision of males.  Today circumcision is totally a medical/health issue and has nothing whatsoever to do with our standing before God.  I would encourage you to read through Colossians 2 and beware of anyone who would attempt to rob you of your freedom in Christ. 

  I would also warn you that as you rejoice in your freedom in Christ to beware of using that freedom to live a sinful, selfish life, but as Galatians 5:13  encourages us, use it to serve one another and be a blessing to others.  

August 26, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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