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Galatians 4: 1-7 Corps - 1983 - Part 1

Format: mp3
Publication Date: 11-2-1983

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.  

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 

Galatians 4:1-7
53
We saw in Chapter 3 that Abraham's believing was accounted to him for righteousness, and those that are of the seed of Abraham are those who believe. It is not those of the physical line, but those who believe are considered the sons of Abraham and they are blessed with faithful Abraham. It is not the law that does it because those that are lead by the law, or do the works of the law, are also bound by the curse of the law. And yet Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law! That statement "Christ redeemed us" in verse 13 is the very key to understanding what we are going to get into in Chapter 4. He redeemed us; it was Christ who was the promised seed, promised to Abraham that redeemed us from the curse of that law, so that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ.
Without Jesus Christ coming and fulfilling that law, and redeeming us from the curse of that law, we could never have gotten back to the original promise to Abraham. Read the literal of verse 26, “For all of you are sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ”. How did we get to be the sons of God? – by the faith of Jesus Christ. How did we get the faith of Jesus Christ? – by be1ieving! It was because of Jesus Christ's uttermost believing that made it available for us to believe unto righteousness. We then receive the faith of Jesus Christ which makes us a son of God! When you get it, it is Christ within you! You are identified with, enclosed with Christ!
In conclusion, you are the seed of Abraham and you are heirs according to the declared promise to Abraham. How did you receive the spirit? By believing what you heard. (The last 4 verses in chapter 3 answer this.) Chapter 4:1 – 7 captures all that he said previously to bring him to the conclusion back in 3:29. Chapter 4:7 is the conclusion of the conclusion.
4:1 “Now I say” – Greek: lego de. It is used idiomatically three times in Galatians. Also three times in I Corinthians. Sometimes it is used with the word “this”. Literally it is continuous action. “Now what I am saying is this”. Another way: “Now my point is..” He is clarifying the conclusion (3:17; 5:16; I Corinthians 1:11, 12; 7:7 – 9; 10:27 – 29) This will clarify that you are sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ.
“heir” – eastern culture – sons inherited. Sonship was the basis of inheritance. The terms son and heir are practically interchangeable; one implying the other. If you were a son you were an heir, if you were a daughter you were not. (You had to marry someone who was a son.)
The fundamental principals of inheritance set forth in the Old Testament are:
1. Only sons could inherit.
2. They had to be Judeans.
3. They had to be males.
4. They had to be free.
That is why Galatians 3:28 ties into this so beautifully. Today you inherit but you are neither Judean nor Greek. But to inherit then you needed to be Judean. We inherit neither bond slave or free. They had to be a freeman. With us neither male nor female, with them male. You are all one in Christ Jesus.
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Another point is that the oldest son would always receive a double share (orientalism). He also accepted the responsibility of his mother and any unmarried females in the family. If there were no sons, there was a prescribed sequence of inheritance, sometimes daughters then brothers, etc. The heir is a son as long as he is a child and Israel was the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Israel was a son but he was like a child in the Old Testament.
child – baby in Greek. Aramaic – tle a boy or youth from 7-12 years old (same in v3). It is comparing the children under the custom or culture at that time, to our condition or Israel’s condition under the law, prior to the coming of Christ.
servant – doulos (greek), bond slave.
lord – opposite of slave.
(literal according to usage)
Now my point is this: The heir, who is lord of all, does not differ from a slave as long as he is a young child.
4:2 But is under – that heir. As long as he is a child, he does not differ from a bond slave. He is just like a slave and when you are under the law you are under slavery. (analogy developing)
tutors – the word in Greek is used as a manager in the context of rulers. It could be used as a procurator. However, when it is in the context of those who watch over children, it was the one who was responsible for the supervision and training of the chi1d.
governor – okoriomos (greek) – the steward of that administration. You have to be faithful in order to be a steward. Stewards were men who had the responsibilities of the financial affairs of the house. Like Joseph who was the steward of Egypt under Pharaoh. The heir, even though he is a child, is like a bond slave. This is because he is under both the tutors that do the training and supervision, as well as the steward who handles all of his financial things. The age was set by the father. He also had a “pedagogue” (a school teacher or educator) who was a trustworthy slave responsible to guard the son of a family when the son was going and coming from school or whenever he was outside of the house playing. He was responsible for his well being morally as well as physically. The law was our pedagogue. A child who is an heir is no different from a bond slave but he is under tutors, stewards and pedagogues until the time appointed by the father. The father predetermined when his son was old enough to legally be responsible for his own contacts and financial affairs. (the forgiving father parable)
“the appointed time” – a legal term referring to the termination of minority set by a father.
(literal according to usage)
But he is subject to the supervision and training of tutors and the financial discretion of stewards until the time prearranged by his father.
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4:3 “We were children” – fig. metaphor – comparison by substitution (to be). We were under the law (but not literally).
“world” – cosmos – the physical world, universe.
“elements” – stoicheion (greek). Occurs seven times in the Bible: Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8, 20; II Peter 3:10, 12, Hebrews 5:12. The root simply means a row, rank or series. The word itself means the rudiments, fundamental principles, elementary principles of any art, science or discipline. It means any first thing from which others in a composite whole take their rise. It was of course used of the elements of the universe when we think of elements of science: the basic foundational building blocks, the primary things of which everything is built. Art was also used of the alphabet because it is the building blocks of speech and writings. The Aramaic word for elements is astuksa and used six times in the New Testament, with the exception of Hebrews 5:12.
The Aramaic uses la (not); mtas – (capable, or expert); thus “not capable”, a novice, implying elementary. We were subject to the elements, the principles of the physical world, the universe. We had to abide by these, not walking by the spirit at all (Galatians 4:9) walking by the five senses. (Hebrews 5:12 teaches you the foundational class again).
Before Pentecost a person had to walk by the senses, they were subject to the elements of the world. The law was in the five senses category. They could not be “more than a conqueror”. In the age of grace, however, the believer is a son of God, redeemed from the basic elements in the law and in the five senses. He has the spirit and that is why he is more than a conqueror!
The believer is dead to the basics of the world and should not return to them. God expects the believer to master the basic principles of the word. To master the fundamental things that are in the Word (how do you get that?) by your five senses and move on to spiritual things. When a believer stops moving forward with the spiritual things of God he will move backwards to the five senses.
(literal according to usage)
So when we were children, we, too, were slaves subject to the elementary principles of the universe [walking by the five senses].
4:4 “fullness” – pleroma – to fill to capacity
“son” – huios; in Aramaic par; not a child, but a fully grown, mature son.
“under” – indicates that he was subject to it.
“made – born. Born under the law, in slavery, being subject to the law.
(literal according to usage)
But when the appointed time was completely fulfilled, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to the law,
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4:5 “redeem” – to purchase, buy back (Galatians 3:13).
One thing you can buy is slaves. The three big trades in Galatia were wool, slaves, and opium. It would be a very vivid picture in their mind, the trading of slaves. A slave could purchase his freedom; he would pay a certain amount to the temple and be free from man but became a bond slave to God. (I Corinthians 7:22, 23). Christ paid the price for us. We do not buy our own freedom and that is what the Galatians had a little problem with, they were trying to buy their own freedom, make their own righteousness. Christ could not be a Gentile, he had to be born subject to the law to pay the price, to buy us back or redeem us.
Adoption is never mentioned in the Old Testament. It does not mean it did not happen but it was rare. The means of carrying out an adoption in the Old Testament culture was to perform the blood covenant. The significance of adoption to the born again believer is explained by its meaning in the Roman law, when Paul by revelation wrote the epistle to the Galatians as well as Romans and Ephesians, because it comes up in those three epistles.
According to Roman law the father had absolute control over his family. He had the same rights over his children as over his slaves. He could inflict punishment as he saw fit, even to the extent of the death penalty. He could deprive his sons the right to own property, he could sell his own son into slavery or do with him as he likes. He could sell him to another man that wanted to adopt him as a son. He could sell him as a slave or sell him as a son, called adoption proper.
There is another form of adoption called abrogation; the one being adopted was an adult. The one doing the adoption had to be eighteen years or older. The legal ceremony involved in the selling of slaves and adoptions were very similar: “I claim him as a slave – I claim him as a son”. Seven witnesses were at the ceremony to note which declaration was made.
Now another thing that came up in Ephesians was that a slave could also be adopted. They (Israel) were under the law. Israel could be adopted and when you were adopted you were emancipated, you became a freeman and you were spoken of as being to the praise and the glory to the one who emancipated you. At the funeral of the one who emancipated you, the emancipator, those freemen were called to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:5, 6 – God's grace he emancipated us. Ephesians 1:11, 12, 14 – praise to God's glory.)
When you were adopted, there was:
1) A change of family. Like we when we were sons by adoption also sons by seed. We were an earthly family, now we are a heavenly family.
2) A change of name. Of whom every family in heaven and earth is named. Before this we belonged to some earthly family with an earthly name. Now we belong to God’s family and we are named after him.
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3) A change of home. The earth was our home, now the heavenlies are our home.
4) New inheritances. New responsibilities and privileges and a new capacity to inherit.
An adopted son became as much a member of the family as if he had been born of the blood of the adopter. And he was invested with all the privileges of the family and his position was even stronger than a natural son because he could never be disowned. A natural son could be sold into slavery, but an adopted son could never be disowned or sold into slavery. Adoption was irreversible; it could not be reversed or changed. Adoption was the means of succession among the Caesars, the empire never transferred from the father to his actual natural son. It always went to his adopted son. The adopted son’s enjoyment of his new privileges and responsibility began not at the time of his adoption ceremony or the death of his adopter, but when he, the officially adopted son, took legal steps described as interning upon the inheritance.
(literal according to usage)
That he might redeem those who were subject to the law and that we might receive our full rights as sons by irrevocable adoption.
4:6 “because” – “in that” would be a better translation.
“of” and “son” are not in some of the manuscripts. In addition to being a son by irrevocable adoption, he gave holy spirit – the new birth, so we are sons by seed as well.
“Abba, Father” fig. Epixeuxis – repeated for emphasis, Father our Father.
Israel going from slavery with Jesus Christ being born of a woman and under the slavery of the law in order to redeem them, buy them back like slaves, he paid the price. That we (Israel and Gentiles) might receive adoption, which is irrevocable and because of being a son by adoption God has also given his spirit, the new birth, which is seed born in you! So you have both types of sonship here in this verse. That is why you cry Father, Father! (I Peter 1:23; I John 3:1, 2, 9)
“Adoption” – Romans 8:15-17, 23; Ephesians 1:5, 6, 13, 14.
1. Adopted sons – verse 5 of Galatians.
2. Sons by new birth – verse 6.
3. An heir – verse 7.
(literal according to usage)
In that you are sons [by irrevocable adoption], God sent His spirit [seed, by the new birth] into your hearts crying, “Father, our Father!”
4:7 Jesus Christ fulfilled all the law. First, he fulfilled the Mosaic law. Why did he have to fulfill the Mosaic law? Because he had to redeem them that were under the law. Remember Abraham got the promise, 430 years later what came? The law. Now to get back to the promise you had to get rid of this law (bondage). Jesus Christ had to be born
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under the law in order to buy back those that were under the law, in order to get back to the promise of Abraham. By purchasing the slaves from the bondage of the law to freedom he opened the doors to the sonship promised to Abraham (the seed).
It was to be sonship by irrevocable adoption. But he also had to fulfill the whole universal principles, all the laws of mankind that would not only bring him back to Abraham's promise, but all the way back to Adam. And that is why Jesus Christ had to believe to the uttermost, which made available the faith of Jesus Christ. And when you are born again you have the faith of Jesus Christ, which is the seal of our inheritance. Then you have been purchased totally and you have Adam’s original condition: Body, Soul and Spirit, but unconditional because it is irrevocable. And that is why we are heirs, we received an inheritance!
In Romans 1:16 – 5:11, the subject is sins. (Focuses on Abraham, justified by believing)
In Romans 5:12 – 8:39, the subject is sin. (Old man nature takes you back to Adam)
Jesus Christ had to fulfill the Mosaic law in order to redeem us from the law and then he had to believe to the uttermost in order to take us back to what Adam originally had. Adam had it conditionally and we have it now unconditionally. Galatians 3:13 – Abraham's promise.
When we forget what Jesus Christ did for us, we look to establish our own righteousness and we are in doctrinal error!
(literal according to usage)
In conclusion, you are on longer slaves, but sons. And if you are sons, then you are heirs through Jesus Christ.