From Servants to Sons


Introduction: Gal. 4:1-7 (In the text, Paul discusses how we can go from being a servant to being a son. The purpose of this study is to explore the dynamics of how you can gain admittance into God's family and to understand how the blessings of being in God's family should motivate you in service to him. We will look at how God's plan to adopt us into his family unfolded through the ages.)

1. Promise To Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 (God's initial promise to Abraham included the promised blessing to all nations.) Gen. 22:18 (This promise was recounted on several occasions. In this instance he calls it the seed of Abraham.) Gal. 3:16 (Paul explained that the seed to which the promise referred not to the entire nation of Israel, but to one person, Christ.)

2. The Law Given: Gal. 3:19, Rom. 3:19 (The law was given to define sin and bring the world up to the appointed time the seed-promise would be fulfilled.) Gal. 5:1 (Because they could not perfectly keep the law, it was seen as a yoke of bondage.)

3. The Heir Child In Bondage: Gal. 4:1-3 (The text speaks of Israel as a child, under the custodial care of the law, in bondage to the law and the sin it defines.) Gal. 3:23-24 (This law would bind Israel until the seed-promise was fulfilled in Christ.)

4. The Fullness Of Time: Gal. 4:4, Mk. 1:15 (God had his own timetable. When the time had come, he sent Jesus to live under the law and perfectly keep the law.) 1 Pet. 1:19 (Since Jesus perfectly kept the law, he was a spotless sacrifice.)

5. Adopted: Gal. 4:5 (Because Jesus did this, we can now be adopted by God into his family.) I Jn. 3:1 (Consider what an expression of love it is that God will actually let us come into his family. Illustrate with parents adopting a child who could stake no claim to their parental care. What of us, spiritually orphaned by our own doing?)

6. Sons Can Cry Abba: Gal. 4:6, Rom. 8:15 (In their culture, servants were not allowed to call the father of the house "Abba father". This was a privilege reserved only for the children. Because God is willing to adopt you, you have the opportunity to approach him as a loving Father, not just as a master over slaves.)

7. Heirs: Gal. 4:7, Rom. 8:17 (Through the process of spiritual adoption, you can become a joint heir with Christ and be glorified by God with Jesus.) Gal. 3:29 (In this way you can become an heir of the promise given to Abraham.) Eph. 3:6 (Even we Gentiles, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel can become heirs.)

8. The Steps: Jn. 1:12 (Believing does not make you a child of God, it makes you a candidate for adoption.) Gal. 3:26-27 (Your faith does not make you God's child until you are baptized.) Titus 3:5-7 (Baptism, the washing of regeneration, allows you to become an heir of the promise.)

9. Relationship Defined: Rom. 8:1, 14 (Our relationship in God's family is defined by our walking after the Spirit's guidance through God's word, not after the flesh.) Rom. 8:13 (To remain in God's family, you must live up to the standards of conduct he has set forth. If you do not, you will be expelled.) (Imitating these standards does not make you God's child. only the seed can make you his child. Illustrate with family baby-sitting other children, those children following house rules does not make them a part of that family. Only the seed can do that. You must obey the gospel to be adopted by God. Living a moral life without obedience to the gospel will not save you.)

10. The Great Motive: Heb. 6:13-19 (Being an heir of the seed-promise gives us hope to anchor our soul to the standards God has set forth. We live up to these standards for the hope of being glorified with Christ as a joint heir with him.)