Paul has been arguing that Jews and Gentiles alike are not made right with God (justified) or even sanctified by the law. Christ came to free people from the law, so we can be justified by faith. The law is weak because human nature hates following rules. The law had no power to change us, only to make us feel rotten – imprisoned!
So by trusting Jesus, we are justified by faith through grace. Paul points out that this is a great equaliser – it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, Jewish or Gentile, slave or free. Faith brings us into sonship. We are all sons of God, adopted into the Father’s family, and recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham’s offspring. That means the nature of Israel has changed – it’s no longer about the land. In Matthew 5:5, Jesus changed ‘Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the land’ from Psalm 37:11 to ‘inherit the [whole] earth’. The temple is no longer the place of God’s presence – believers are now the place of God’s presence, whether they are from a Jewish background or Gentile, whether they are male or female, slave or free.
Jesus came to fulfil the promise to Abraham that every family would be blessed – by extending the family of God to include anyone who believes in Him!
We are adopted! We are chosen to be part of the Father’s family – chosen to be sons, chosen to receive the Spirit who gives us the sense that we are adopted, so we can cry out in intimate friendship with Father God – Abba, Father! Abba is the Aramaic word for Daddy, the intimate word that could be used by a toddler or a pensioner!
Before Jesus came we were enslaved to our old natures and the weak and elementary principles of the world – perhaps feeling the need for special days and festivals to get close to God. No need! We are close all the time!
Paul closes off this section today with his disappointment that the Galatians are retreating from wonderful grace and adoption. He’s perplexed that they would leave their freedom in Christ, their adoption by the Father, intimacy with God, to go back to the dry formality of the law.
Stay free! Enjoy bold and confident access! Be filled with the Spirit, who gives you power to know God as Abba and to be holy!