No More Slaves But Sons

One of the most difficult concepts that the Jewish leaders gave serious resistance was the idea of sonship that Jesus professed. It was one of the major reasons why they wanted him to be crucified. For a man to claim sonship with God was too high and close to a relationship with the highest being, who was far away in dignity too holy for a man to lay claim to.

This was one of the major highlights in the epistles of Paul. The book of Galatians is filled with the idea of sonship all over as he was determined to keep the church on track in journey to unveil her true identity. Certain people had crept in to drag the body of Christ back into the Mosaic law. It is identical to stripping people of their true nature into a form of worship that placed man outside the scope of family, which is one of the pillars of the faith.

In Galatians 4:5-8 Paul explains;

to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a] Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[b] Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces[c]? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?


The word “redeem,” comes from the common terminology of Paul’s day. It goes back to the marketplace where slaves were regularly sold. It literally means: “to buy out of the marketplace” or “to ransom from slavery.” The slave had no way of personal deliverance in this case. He was held in bondage, hoping that someone might redeem him. Redemption involved a price and a person to pay the price.

Then he says

“That we might receive the adoption as sons” – The word “adoption,” found here and in Romans 8:15, 23; 9:4 and Ephesians 1:5, is compounded of two words: “sons” and “placing”; so that we may take it as signifying the act or ceremony of placing the sons of God in the position appropriate to that high and holy relationship and of investing them with the honor, wealth, and glory, which is the good pleasure of the Father to give them.

Adoption was defined by Roman law and widely practiced in Roman life. Several Roman emperors adopted men not related to them by blood in order to give them their office and authority. When a son was adopted, he was in all legal respects equal with those born into his new family. He had the same name, the same inheritance, the same position, and the same rights as the natural-born sons. God sent His Son, who by his divine nature was the Son of God, in order that we, who are not His children by nature, might be His children by adoption and thus receive the full rights of sons. We have the same name, the same inheritance, the same position, and the same rights as the one who is Son of God by virtue of his divine nature.

In Romans 8 Paul talks about adoption there:

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again;rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)

Paul tells the Romans that they had “received a spirit of adoption.” Young’s literal translation reads, “Ye did receive a spirit of adoption.” But notice:

In Galatians 4:6 (NASB) he says

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

With this verse Paul broadens his reference to the benefits of sonship which belong to the believers. The change from first person (we) to second person (you) shows that the adoption received by those under law (v. 5) was also received by the Non-Jewish audience.

Then he says to the church at Galatia, “And because you are sons” – how did they become sons? The only answer is faith:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” – Galatians 3:26

Now, since the Galatians had believed in Jesus Christ, crucified for their sin (Galatians 3:1), they were “sons of God.” And being sons, God had sent forth the Spirit of His Son into their hearts. This means that every believer, every son of God, has the Spirit of His Son within him. In fact, Paul states this in:


“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.” – Romans 8:9

Then, we see in Galatians 4:6 the outcome of God’s Spirit in our hearts. It is in the words “crying, Abba, Father.” The participle “crying” is grammatically tied to the word “Spirit,” so that it is the Spirit who does the “crying.” But the point is that He utters this cry within our hearts so that we understand not that God is the Spirit’s Father, but rather, ours. In other words, the first ministry to us that the Spirit performs after regeneration is faith – He assures us that God has become to us “Abba.”


“Abba” is an Aramaic word for father. Significantly, the only other place in the Bible where “Abba, Father” appears is in Mark 14. On the eve of His crucifixion, the Lord was deeply troubled in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed:


That the Lord addressed His Father, “Abba, Father” in His moment of deep distress reveals that “Abba, Father” is an expression of the greatest intimacy between father and son. It is an expression of total dependence on the Father.

The word Abba appears in certain legal texts of the Mishna as a designation used by grown children in claiming the inheritance of their deceased father. As a word of address, Abba is not so much associated with infancy as it is with intimacy.


As Paul puts it in Romans 8, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – I believe He does this by giving us faith. He gives us the ability to trust in God, to depend upon God. As our new Father, we look to Him to meet our every need.


Galatians 4:7 (NASB) Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.


Because we are sons, we are heirs. We are heirs only through “Christ.” We are not the cause of our birth into the family of God. Christ is. Sons don’t work for the inheritance, they are born into it.


Today realize that everything you ever need in life has been provided by the Father and He has brought you into His family. Don’t go about thinking that you have to produce “High spiritual performance” for God to bless you with the best things in life. He has already provided everything and brought you in to enjoy all He has.


Know that He is delighted just like every good earthly father to see his children live off his goodness. He didn’t call you to come and work for him, you were called into a life of abundance. You are a joint heir with Christ. If you don’t know you will live like one under the law where all you expect God’s blessings based on how good that you can be.


God’s goodness towards you is based on how good He is and not how good you can be. As a son you have a right to expect the best things in life because your heavenly Father has got you covered in His plans and purposes. Don’t let anyone cheat you into thinking that you have to prove yourself because God can be favourably disposed towards you. You are His delight! Celebrate in that revelation. You are a Son!


Photo by Picsea on Unsplash



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