Of Age Heirs
Read Galatians 4:1-3
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
How is living under the law like living under slavery?
During the time of Paul’s writing, coming of age ceremonies were a part of life. Until they were of age, many wealthy children lived under the care of a guardian. This guardian was usually a slave or a servant who would supervise the child until they were old enough to supervise themselves. The servant had full command over the child, so practically speaking, the child wasn’t that different from a slave.
In addition, while promised their share of the estate, the children did not yet have access to it or any control over it. Instead, trustees managed the estate until they were of age. They had the promise of a future inheritance but they could not benefit from it until they were considered adults.
While the Jews were under the law, waiting for the Messiah, they were like little children. They had no access to their inheritance and they were living under the command and direction of the law. Under the “guardianship” of the law, they learned the basics. How to behave, how to offer a sacrifice, what is clean, what is unclean, how to keep the Sabbath, how to commemorate what God has done through acts of remembrance, etc. But they were slaves to rites, rituals, and rules.
But after Christ? They could be like adult children. No longer slaves trying to keep the law on their own-and failing. Free to enjoy all the benefits and blessings they had inherited. They had freedom in Christ!
And yet, the Judaizers were pulling them back into the law. They told them they must continue to keep the law in addition to faith in Christ. Instead of moving on to spiritual adulthood, the Judaizers were dragging them back to a spiritual childhood. Spiritual immaturity. And worse, spiritual slavery.
Friends, if you are in Christ, you are free from the law. You are an “of age” heir. You are not a little child of God, you are an adult son or daughter of the King. Free to enjoy all that your inheritance entails. Do not let anyone try to suck you back into slavery and spiritual immaturity. You are saved by God’s grace. Move forward in that assurance.
God, thank You for the gift of Your grace. Keep me walking in Your freedom instead of slipping back into the bondage of the law. Amen.