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A. (3:23-24) Before Justification by Faith in Christ Came — Preparation / Restrictions

1. Timeframe — “But before faith came”

Is Paul talking about Jews in OT times (probably) or anybody in their pre-conversion days (more of an application)?

2. Limitations of the Law — Only a Schoolmaster

a. Function of Guarding — but not Delivering

“we were kept in custody under the law”

Gromacki: “… under constant surveillance. They were in the prison house of sin with no way of escape. The law was like a jailor or a sentry, watching every act of moral disobedience. They were being guarded at all times.”

b. Looking Forward to the Coming Faith

“being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed”

3. Purpose of the Law = to Lead us to Christ

“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.”

B. (3:25-29) After Justification by Faith in Christ Has Come — Fulfillment / Enjoyment of Privileges

1. (:25a) Timeframe —

“But now that faith has come”

2. (:25b) Graduated to a Higher Level

“we are no longer under a tutor”

3. (:26) Full Sonship

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus”

4. (:27-28) Fully United with Christ = No Distinction

a. (:27) Fully United with Christ

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Gromacki: “This change of spiritual clothing was taken from a cultural custom. In ancient times a Roman lad wore the toa praetexta, a toga with an elaborately embroidered purple hem. When the boy reached manhood he put off this sign of immaturity and put on the white toga. Thus, under law, a person could never merit the clothing of spiritual sonship.”

b. (:28) No Distinction

“There is neither Jew no Grek, there is neither slave nor free man, there if neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

The law created all types of differences — between Jews and Gentiles; between clean and unclean animals; etc.

5. (:29) Full Heirs

“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”


A. (4:1-3) Before Christ Came — Preparation / Restrictions

1. (:1) A Child Lives Like a Servant

“Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything.”

2. (:2) A Child Chafes Under Supervision

“but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.”

3. (:3) A Child is Restricted Under Bondage

“So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.”

Wiersbe: “This word elements means the basic principles, the ABCs. For some 15 centuries, Israel had been in kindergarten and grade school, learning their ‘spiritual ABCs,’ so that they would be ready when Christ would come. Then they would get the full revelation, for Jesus Christ is ‘the Alpha and the Omega’ (Rev. 22:13); He encompasses all the alphabet of God’s revelation to man. He is God’s last Word (Heb. 1:1-3).”

B. (4:4-5) Fulcrum Point = The Coming of Christ

1. Timeframe — “But when the fulness of the time came”

2. Divine Plan — “God sent forth His Son” — Fully God

3. Qualifications to Redeem

a. “born of a woman” — Fully Man

Pinnock: “The humanity of Christ is one of the underdeveloped doctrines of orthodox Christianity. We have been so zealous to perserve a good testimony to the deity of Christ that we have often allowed His humanity to become unreal and obscured. Yet the New Testament is eager to stress God’s self-disclosure in our flesh and history. The chief Christological heresy it had to combat was docetism, the denial of His full humanity. Paul teaches that God entered fully into the conditons of human life.”

b. “born under the Law” — Fully Obedient to God’s Law

our Substitute to bear the full penalty of the law

4. Mission = Accomplishing Redemption

“in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law”

5. Goal = Full Sonship

“that we might receive the adoption as sons”

C. (4:6-7) After Christ Has Come — Fulfillment / Enjoyment of Privileges

Gromacki: “How can a person know that he is a son? What are the evidences of the fact that he is no longer a spiritual child under legal supervision? The opening causal clause (‘because ye are sons’) introduces the reader to two spiritual realities that will exist in the life of every genuine Christian. They are results of sonship which actually confirm that position.”

1. New Privileged Experience of Full Sonship — Introduction

“And because you are sons”

2. New Privilege of Intimacy (through the indwelling Holy Spirit)

“God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'”

MacArthur: “Abba is a diminutive of the Aramaic word for father. It was a term of endearment used by young children of their fathers and could be translated ‘daddy’ or ‘papa.’ The Holy Spirit brings us into a personal, intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, whom we may approach at any time and under any circumstance, knowing that He always hears us and lovingly cares for us, because we are truly His own.”

3. New Privileged Position of Full Heirship

“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”