Galatians 4:1-11

Talks for Growing Christians

Living Under the Law Compared to the Believer’s Position in Christ

Galatians 4:1-11

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Lesson Number 8

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Under the law, the Jews were like minor children and slaves.
  2. In Christ, believers are mature sons and heirs.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s not live like slaves when we’re already sons.


  1. Why was the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament given?
  2. Refer to Galatians 4:4. “Fullness” is a Greek word. What does it refer to in this context?
  3. How did Greek, the universal language at that time, prepare the world for the gospel?
  4. In what other ways was the world prepared to hear the gospel?
  5. What type of expectations were being proclaimed from the many Jewish synagogues scattered throughout the Roman world?
  6. Were these preparations all by chance?
  7. Refer to Galatians 4:4. How are both the deity and the humanity of our Lord brought out in this verse?


  1. To reveal man’s sinful condition and to show that no one could attain God’s moral standards and requirements on their own. It was also given to serve as a transition until the coming of Christ. The law prepared the way for faith in Christ.
  2. It refers to the appointed time, the time that God had in mind when He sent Jesus.
  3. The language was readily available for the writing of the New Testament and the communication of the gospel.
  4. The Roman Empire had established a peace as well as a road system that permitted missionary travels and church planting by the apostle Paul and the early Christians.
  5. Monotheism and Messianic expectations were being proclaimed.
  6. Not a chance! God was working behind the scenes to prepare for the appointed time. What a wonderful moment in history when the fullness of the time came!
  7. “God sent forth His Son (His deity), born of a woman under the law (His humanity).”


  1. Read Galatians 4:3. The elements of the world, or basic principles of the world, refer to the elementary principles of religion. These basic moral requirements that God built into the moral conscience of mankind could only bring conviction and guilt, and thus bondage. Furthermore, under the law, the Jews were like minor children who were put under a guardian or steward. In this illustration, the children were actually heirs of the estate, but they were disciplined and treated as children until the time appointed by the father, until their coming of age, when they would be treated as mature children. So under the law, the Jews were like minor children and slaves. Relate this illustration to the next doctrinal or discussion point.
  2. “You are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7) From slavery to sonship! And it’s only because of what Christ has done for us. Those who were once under the law are redeemed and set free through faith in Christ. Believers are in the family of God, and can now call God, “Father.” The Holy Spirit is in our hearts, giving us assurance of our new position in Christ.


  1. Why do you live like slaves when you are already sons? This was the position of the Gentile Galatians before they became believers, and some continued in their involvement with the gods of the pagan Greek and Roman religions. The same question applies today. Why should we live like salves when we are already sons? As a believer, you have been freed from bondage in slavery to sin, and now you are in the family of God. Remember, salvation and sanctification are by faith in Christ alone, not by works or by ritualism.

Key Verses

  • “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
  • “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
  • “You are not longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7)

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