A Study of Galatians 4:1-7
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant…”
We know that when we were in the world, we had no motion towards God, but did, as the apostle says, work all uncleannes with greediness.
There was no difference between us and others; we were the servants of the devil, led captive by him at his will.
But now “heirs.”
What is that?
We havy tasted of the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, and shall have the inheritance.
Before, we were under bondage to sin in all shapes, and could not deliver ourselves.
But God “sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”
We cannot redeem ourselves. “The wages of sin is death” eternal.
Nothing but Christ’s fulfilling the law for us can save us even from the condemnation of a vain thought.
But now, “Thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
And how do you know this? O Why, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father!”
But then may we not lose this privilege of being sons?
May we not have it to-day, and then God leave us in death?
Now this is what I want you especially to lay to heart, that if you have ever been enabled by the Holy Spirit to call God Father, it is for ever. Ye are no more servants, but sons, and heirs of God. This is a most sacred truth; therefore do you hold it fast. I never heard anyone in a meek and quiet spirit go out against this truth, as if God would change. God bears the sweetest witness on my heart to the truth of this, and therefore do you beware to hold it fast. For it is a doctrine not leading to licentiousness, but to the sweetest humility. Look through the whole Word of God, and see if you can find that one, having received the Spirit of adoption, can ever be left of God.
But how is this doctrine guarded?
God knows how to guard it, and to punish sin in His children, without taking away the Spirit of adoption.
See His word to Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou nreturn unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
And David, “The sword shall never depart from thine house” (2 Samuel 12:10).
And Hezekiah, “All these shall go into captivity” (2 Kings 20:17).
But God did not take away the Spirit of adoption. And this is a truth.
We may fall into decay, and be entangled in the spirit of the world, and backslide in many ways from God; but He will never forsake His people. This I have found. Let the place I have been in be ever so despairing, God has brought me up again out of it, as in my late trouble.
A morning reading by James Bourne – 1838.