Galatians 4:1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
In a world where people don't know who they are or what they have, in Christ you already have an inheritance.
In the ancient world the process of growing up was much more definite than it is today.
A) In the Jewish world, on the first Sabbath after a boy had passed his twelfth birthday, his father took him to the Synagogue, where he became A Son of the Law. The father thereupon uttered a benediction, "Blessed be thou, O God, who has taken from me the responsibility for this boy." The boy prayed a prayer in which he said, "O my God and God of my fathers! On this solemn and sacred day, which marks my passage from boyhood to manhood, I humbly raise my eyes unto you, and declare with sincerity and truth, that henceforth I will keep your commandments, and undertake and bear the responsibility of my actions towards you." There was a clear dividing line in the boy's life; almost overnight he became a man.
B) Under Roman law the year at which a boy grew up, between the ages of fourteen and seventeen a family festival was held called the Liberalia. He took off a toga worn by children and put on a toga worn by adults. He was then conducted by his friends and family down to the forum and formally introduced to public life
We live in a culture that is often disconnected from concepts of inheritance, family, and the sense of Kingdom. I didn’t appreciate a lot of these principles until later in life. We’ve seen examples of it, from both bad and good examples.
As the text states, an heir, as long as he a child, does not differ AT ALL from a slave, though he is master of all. He might be the owner of vast property but he could take no legal decision; he was not in control of his own life; everything was done and directed for him.When he became a man he entered into his full inheritance.
Inheritance was not something one generation could receive after the death of the previous generation. It was inter-generational transfer during life.
What keeps people from knowing who they are? As “children” (immature) we were bound to the “elements of the world.”
Elements of the world to a Jew meant the Law, which was elementary knowledge. In the world, there was astrology, in which one believed his fate was determined by the stars and gods (small G). One of the reasons so called Christians justified the slave trade is that they believe Africans were people destined to serve others under forced labor.
Elements of the world represents things not under the direction of God in Christ.
What is the solution? “See Well! What God Perform!”
Ephesians 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand i