True Heirs - Galatians 3:23-4:7

(If possible have a family who has adopted a child come give a short testimony about the experience.)

1.      What factors make an adoption hearing so joyful?

2.      How does the status of the child change with legal adoption, and why is that important?

As we will learn today we are all adopted into the family of God if we have trusted Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He is not only our Lord, Savior and Creator of all that exists, but He is our elder Brother! No one is above another; we are all brothers and sisters in Christ! By the blood of Christ we are children of God who share in the blessings promised to Abraham and the salvation Jesus provides. God’s plan includes the promise given to Abraham, then the law given to Moses, and then the inheritance through Christ. The law did not abolish the promise of a Savior, and Christ’s coming did not abolish the law but fulfilled it.


As we study, look for different ways God describes a believer and the benefits tied to those descriptions!


An Old Guardian! Read Galatians 3:23-25


Paul used two metaphors in these verses to describe the law: a prison guard and a guardian. Both take away freedom. Both put us in position where we are trying to earn favor.  The prison guard keeps us detained, while the guardian instructs and disciplines, pointing us toward freedom. Sometimes a person is put in protective custody for the good of the individual. So there are some benefits to both.


1.      What do we learn from the law as a tutor? (The law shows us our need for a savior. When we compare ourselves to Christ, we see our need for Him!)

2.      How can we tell when we are ready to “graduate”? (Those who are not studying the law often don’t see a need for a savior. They think they are doing alright on their own. We never truly graduate. We always need the law to show us how wretched we are, how perfect Christ is, and how desperately we need to place our faith in Him!)

3.      What use is the law after we have recognized our need for Christ and have been saved? (As we grow in our understanding of the law, we grow in our understanding of our sins and Christ’s perfection. As we continue to study the law, we see more clearly where our hearts fail and where Christ triumphs. This should lead to a deeper love for Christ and His sacrifice!)

Paul then explained how faith in Christ defines our position in Christ.


A New Community! Read Galatians 3:26-28


1.      Read Romans 6:3-4! What is the purpose of baptism? (It is the outward symbol of a radical inward transformation! Paul did not show baptism to be necessary for salvation. Instead, he spoke of how baptism is an outward symbol of an inward change and that it unifies believers. See Eph. 4:4-6)

This picture of putting “on Christ like a garment” may be difficult for us to understand. Paul’s illustration of taking off old garments and putting on new garments reflects a spiritual reality. “In Roman culture, when a minor child became an adult he removed the child’s clothing and put on a style typically worn by adult males. He stripped off the old and replaced it with the new. Believers had stripped off the old clothing of the law and put on Jesus’ robes of righteousness!” Leaders Guide pg. 46

2.      Reflect on your salvation experience. Why were you baptized?

3.      What distinctions have been removed by the gospel? (All racial distinctions have been abolished. There are no social distinctions in Christ. There are no gender distinctions.)

To say there are no gender distinctions held potential for division in the family of God but there are distinctions as to what roles are assigned within the Body of Christ!

4.      What are some reasons some Christians might exclude certain people from their circle, including the church?

5.      How would you address that issue based on this passage?

We may wonder about what happens when the walls are broken down and we receive the grace and mercy of our Lord. Paul addresses this in the next few verses.

A New Position! Read Galatians 3:29-4:7


1.      What is the believer’s new status in verse 29?

2.      According to these verses what words or phrases might be used to describe a person’s life without Jesus? (Orphans, lost, and without any purpose.)

3.      How is our identity different after we have placed our faith in Christ? (List differences next to each word listed, i.e., slave to heir.)

In these verses Paul was describing how before Christ the Jews were children underneath the law, even though they shared in the same faith as Abraham. But when Christ came, He redeemed the children from slavery and adopted them as children of God.

4.      What are the implications of God being our “Abba”? (Paul says the Spirit in us cries out “Abba,” which is Aramaic for “Daddy.” Picture a young child who cries out “Daddy.” Paul wrote in Greek but used the Aramaic word for “Daddy.” Paul was pointing us to when Christ prayed in Gethsemane, “Abba, father”—Mark 14:36)

As His children, we can approach God with the same confidence as Christ does.

5.      How can you use the illustration of adoption in sharing the gospel with someone?

6.      Based upon Paul’s writing, he is describing the work of the Trinity in salvation. What roles do the Father, Son, and Spirit each play in salvation?


Summarize and Challenge!


What excites you most about being a cherished child of God? (I was chosen specifically by God Himself to be His child!)

We are co-heirs with Christ and free from the chains that previously enslaved us under the law!

How might you be living like a slave and not an heir? Choose to live in the freedom and security found in Christ!