A son is like a slave until he reaches the proper age
Paul uses an example to explain why God gave his rules. A rich man may give everything to his son. But that son is still a child. So, the son receives nothing yet. Instead, other people have authority over his money. And the son does not even rule over his own life. He must obey his teacher.
That son is the master of everything that will become his. But while he is still a child, he is like a slave. He has to obey other people until he is the proper age.
Before God sent Jesus
Before God sent Jesus, God’s people were like slaves. God had chosen those people to become his sons and his daughters. And God the Father wanted them to receive everything. But they were not ready to receive their gift. So, there were rules that they had to obey.
God wrote his rules for the *Jews. And he showed other people too that they should do the right things. They saw the world and the sky, so they all knew something about God (Psalm 19:1-4). So all people became like slaves to the things that ruled the world.
When Jesus came
But then, God sent Jesus.
It was the proper time. God had used his rules to teach the *Jews so that they could recognise his son. And a powerful and cruel government ruled very many countries. So many people knew that they needed someone to save them. People were ready for God to do his work.
And then Jesus, God’s son, came. He did not seem important. His birth seemed like any other birth. People did not know that his mother, Mary, had not had sex with her husband, Joseph. His family seemed like any other family among the *Jews. They too obeyed the rules that God had given.
God makes people into his own sons and daughters
It was God who sent Christ into the world. He did it to make his people free. His rules had authority over his people for the proper time. But now God was doing something new. He was making the people who had been slaves into his sons and daughters. He was making them free by his *Holy Spirit.
And they are like children who are very happy. They love God their Father very much. They even call him ‘Abba’, which is a children’s word for their father.
So Paul tells the Christians in Galatia that they are not still like slaves. They are the sons and daughters of God. God has made them free. Now they will do the right things because they love God very much.
And God also loves them very much. He has many gifts for them.
Next part: Christians who want to obey rules
See the word list for explanation of words with a *
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© 2015, Keith Simons.