March 28th, 2022
Week 13, Day 1
March 28, 2022
Scripture: Galatians 4
“What I am saying is that as long as heirs are underage they are no different from slaves, although they own the whole estate. They are subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by their fathers. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer slaves, but God’s children; and since you are his children, he has made you also heirs.” (Galatians 4:1–7)
No Longer Slaves!
Israel experienced slavery in multiple ways. There was, obviously, the slavery in Egypt. This has with it all the negative connotations we commonly associate with slavery. Labor in exchange for food and shelter, with little to no freedoms. In the case of Israel in Egypt, they grew and became an increasing threat to Egypt. Thus, Egypt made their lives excruciatingly difficult.
Israel experiences slavery in other ways though. We must be careful not to bring along with the word slavery all of the negative connotations and understand a broader concept of slavery. The Israelites were also slaves to the law. That is, they were subservient to, and under the law. That’s what Paul is speaking towards here in Galatians as a whole. What will we be subservient to? What are we bringing ourselves under and being shaped by? What are we bound to?
Israel was bound to the law. It shaped their way of life.
So there’s the negative; slavery to the Egyptians. But then there is also a slavery to the law. Both are binding and shaping. Both are used by God for their transformation.
There is yet another way in which Israel is bound. They are bound to, “Elemental Spiritual Forces.” Stoichea is “elemental spiritual forces.” That’s a little more difficult to define. But my simple translation is, “we are bound also to the way the world functions.” That’s a moving target of understanding. In the broad biblical era, it would be understood that the gods ordered and managed the world. Now, we might say, “science” is how the world works.
All that to say. Paul is reminding the Galatians, we have been subservient to the law, to the way the world works and all sorts of other influences.
But not anymore. We belong to God. WE call on Him as our Father. We are no longer slaves. Slaves to sin. To death. To the way the world works. To the forces that pull us every which way.
We are no longer slaves, subservient to these things. We are children and heirs, given the Promise of Abraham, a life with God.
So don’t fall back under the slavery to the world, shaped, bound to it and influenced by it. You belong to God through Christ. Seek Him!
We no longer bound to the world, but bound to Christ. Paul will help us see further what this means, as we embrace the Spirit of God in our life. For now, we call on God as Father, and seek his heart today.
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Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.