Read Galatians 4:1-7 – Sons and Heirs

1. Drawing from the ideas shared in Gal. 3:24-29 regarding tutors and heirs, Paul now teaches us what it means to be an adopted son of God. What is the point of verses 1-2?

a. “Children” and “bondage” found in verse 3, parallel “child” and “slave” in verse 1. “Elements of the world” refers to elementary principles, or the ABC’s of the universe. It is the cause and effect we see in nature as well as in Jewish and pagan religions. It is the idea that we get what we deserve, and is thus works oriented. How does Galatians 4:9 describe these things?

b. How does this differ from living under grace?

2. When the fullness of the time (the perfect time, the time appointed) had come, Jesus was born. Consider God’s plan and His perfect timing in sending His Son. In what ways was this the perfect time? Now apply this to God’s plan for your own life.

3. Verse 5 gives us the reason that God sent forth His Son. “Redeem” means “to buy from the slave market”. Using the facts from this verse, why did God send forth His Son?

4. (vs 6, 7) God sent forth His Son, and He also sent forth the Spirit of His Son. According to verse 6, where was His Spirit sent and what did His presence cause to happen?

a. Because we have been redeemed, adopted, and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the right and the ability to cry out to God as “Abba” or “Daddy”. What does this mean to you?

b. Who else do we hear speaking these same words? (Mark 14:36)

c. (vs 7) Therefore, because of all the things spoken of in verses 1-6, we are no longer slaves to sin. Who are we? What rights do we have?

Read Galatians 4:8-20 – Fears for the Church

1. What is the problem Paul refers to again in verses 8-10?

2. People are drawn to legalism. Comment on the quote: “Paul seems amazed that someone would turn from the liberty of Jesus to this kind of bondage. Yet legalism caters to and recognizes our flesh by putting the focus on what we achieve for God, not on what Jesus did for us. The liberty of Jesus gives us status as sons and a rich inheritance, but it won’t cater to our flesh.” – Guzik

3. In verse 9, what does it mean to be known by God? A stark contrast is found in Matt. 7:21-23.

4. (vs 12) To move beyond the present dilemma, Paul urges them to follow his example. What is this example? In addition, what does Paul say in 1 Cor. 11:1?

5. (vs 13-16) Paul reminds the Galatians of the relationship they have had with him. They knew his good intentions toward them. How is this contrasted regarding the false teachers in verse 17?

6. Using verses 18-20, describe Paul’s heart for the Galatians.

Read Galatians 4:21-31 – Two Covenants

1. Read through this last section of the chapter and make a general statement of Paul’s meaning.

2. The legalists who troubled the Galatians prided themselves and patterned their lives as sons of Abraham. Paul reminds them though, that Abraham had two sons. Who are these two sons? What do you know about them?

3. One son was conceived through man-made solutions to a problem, the other through God’s plan. One brings glory to man, and one brings glory to God. Discuss our tendency toward man-made, logical decisions. What happens when we allow God to lead our decision making?

4. (vs 25-26) Contrast “Jerusalem which now is” (earthly Jerusalem which was the center of religious Judaism) and “Jerusalem above” (the hope of heaven also referred to as New Jerusalem, the Tabernacle of God, the Holy City, the City of the Living God, and Heavenly Jerusalem).

5. Verse 27 quotes Is. 54:1. This predicts that there would soon be more Christians than Jews. Has this been fulfilled?

6. (Guzik) Paul set a choice before the Galatians and before us. We can have a living, free, relationship with God as a loving Father based on what Jesus did for us and who we are in Him. Or we can try to please God by our best efforts of keeping the rules, living in bondage as slaves, not sons. Living that way makes the whole gospel in vain. Why is this true?

7. Our tendency toward legalism can lead to prideful Christianity. This doesn’t hold the aroma of Christ, but rather the stink of man. Make it your prayer to always live under grace.