Galatians 4 begins with Paul continuing in his explanation of the metaphor he used to describe new covenant believers at the end of Galatians 3. Previously, he had used the metaphor of believers being like a child under a guardian to describe what a relationship with God was under the Old Covenant. But now under the new covenant, Paul explains that we are no longer under the guardian of the Law since we are children of God through faith in Jesus.
Galatians 4:7 says, “Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir”. What an incredible reminder for us as believers today. We’re no longer slaves to the Law but are God’s children through our faith! As believers, we hear this idea get used frequently, but we often don’t live our lives in response to this truth. Many of us, like the believers in Galatia, live our lives as if we are still slaves. Just a few verses later in verse 11, Paul says that he’s afraid he has labored in vain for the Galatians because they have returned to their old practices of work and legalism.
This passage of scripture reminds me of the movie The Princess Diaries. In the movie, Mia Thermopolis, a normal teenager from San Francisco, learns that after the death of her long-absent father, she is now the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. She was so shocked to learn this, that she runs away, rejecting the notion entirely. Instantly, Mia’s world is flipped upside-down, as she balances the spotlight of being a royal family member and attempting to live a “normal” life.
Similar to that of Mia in Princess Diaries, the Galatians had turned their backs on their heir apparent relationship with God. They had returned to the slavery of sin and the Law from which Christ had set them free. After only a short time since Paul had first told them about the freedom of faith in Christ, the Galatians had become swayed by the Judaizers of that day. They had convinced the believers in Galatia that attaining righteousness was only possible by observing feast days, monthly rituals, seasons and years. The Galatians had professed to being Christians yet had resorted to trying to please God by keeping these rites and rituals.
Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation today. Maybe it’s not practicing rites and rituals, but it’s a works-based religion. Maybe you think that you have to be perfect and have it all figured out and then God will be pleased with you and accept you. That somehow you could earn your own salvation. The truth is - the only way we can be considered righteous is through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Our faith in that sacrifice is the only way we enter God’s family.
Most people know that the only way to salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, but like the Galatians, many forget that we’re then called to live by faith and grow in grace. We aren’t saved through Christ and then expected to live our lives in our own strength following the Law. We are called to live by grace through faith in Christ alone.
Today, you have to know that you are a child of God. You’ve been brought into his family by the power and grace of Jesus’ sacrifice for you. You’re no longer a slave, but a son or daughter of the Father. The unconditional love of a parent lays the foundation for a child to be secure. Your Father desires the same for you today. God wants His love for you as a child to be the foundation you build your life on. That way when life hits and the storms come, you can remain strong because of your identity in Him.
God’s love for you is sure. You don’t have to live in fear as a slave to sin because you are His child. God loves you because you’re His – not because of what you think about yourself or what you’ve done.