Galatians 4:1-7: Sons and Heirs

Galatians 4:1‑7  •  25 min. read  •  grade level: 8
“But I say, as long a time as the heir is a child [or, a minor], he differs nothing from a slave, (though) being lord of all; but he is under guardians and stewards until the (time) previously fixed by the father. Thus also we, when we were children [or, minors], (we) were continually enslaved under the principles of the world; but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth from (Himself) His Son, born from a woman, born under law, in order that He might redeem the ones under law, in order that we might receive from (Himself) the sonship. But because you are sons, God sent forth from (Himself) the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying Abba, the [or perhaps we should say, our] Father! So thou art no longer a slave but a son; but if a son, also an heir through God.” ch. 4:1-7.
In v.7 of the last chapter the Apostle told the Galatians that they which are “on the principle of faith, these are Abraham’s sons” (ch. 3:7). In the remainder of the chapter, this subject is more fully considered, and the chapter ends in a note of triumph: “If you are of Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.” The new chapter we are beginning now continues this subject of the heir. In our last chapter we saw that those who would later have the dignity of being full-grown sons were under child trainers while they were still children. Even so, the heir to the property himself, while still a child, or a minor, did not have liberty, but he himself was under a guardian, and his possessions were under a steward. This was true, even though when he came of age he would be master of everything. All would then belong to him; but while still a minor, he has no right to the possessions, and he has no liberty to do what he himself wishes. As far as the law is concerned, it places him in the same position as a slave, who had no right (according to law) to anything; his master had entire authority over him. It is said that the Roman child ended his “babyhood” with his seventh year; but it was not until his twenty-fifth year that he was considered a full-grown man: complete, as the Apostle calls him, as compared to a minor (literally, a baby). (See Eph. 4:13, 1413Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:13‑14); 1 Cor. 14:2020Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (1 Corinthians 14:20).) In these verses in Galatians we see that the father arranged beforehand exactly the age at which his son should cease to be reckoned as a minor and should be considered a full-grown son. In just the same way Paul says, “Thus also we [we Jews of the Old Testament who were under the law], when we were minors [that is, as we saw in the last chapter, when we were still under the guardianship of the law, our child trainer], we were continually enslaved under the principles of the world,” or, as another translates, “under the elementary lessons of outward things [or, outward ordinances].”
These words are very important for us to understand. The institutions of the law were suited to man in the flesh— to men of the world. They were all outward: a magnificent temple, beautiful clothes for the priests, jewels and gold, trumpets, music, sweet incense, altars and sacrifices that men could see with their natural eyes. All these things formed what the epistle to the Hebrews calls “a worldly sanctuary” (Heb. 9:11Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. (Hebrews 9:1)). All these things were provided in order that man in the flesh might be in relationship with God; and so these institutions were outward according to the principles of this world, things which men could see and hear and smell, all suited to man in the flesh; and there was no need to use faith to see that which was invisible. (Heb. 11:2727By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27).) Christians, on the other hand, are a heavenly people. They do not see the Object whom they adore, except by faith. (“Whom having not seen, ye love” (1 Peter 1:88Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)).) The Spirit reveals to them that which they do not see. They know Christ ascended into heaven, having finished the work which the Father gave Him to do. Now, “we see Jesus... crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)). Now our hearts rise up into the heavenly temple, by the grace of the Holy Spirit come down from heaven, to adore God up there. But we see all this by the eye of faith.
The Samaritans worshipped in Mount Gerizim, and the Jews worshipped at Jerusalem. They each worshipped in their own worldly sanctuary, each with external sacrifices, a beautiful temple, and vestments. It is true that God Himself had given the institutions at Jerusalem, and so the Lord could say to the Samaritan woman: “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship; for salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:2222Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. (John 4:22)). The Samaritans were very little different to heathen, but in Jerusalem the Jews worshipped the one true God. They knew whom they worshipped. Yet the Lord says to this woman, “Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (John 4:2121Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. (John 4:21)). The worship at Samaria never was from God, but the worship at Jerusalem which came from God was to be set aside, in just the same way that the worship at Samaria was to be done away. The Lord tells the woman the reason for this. “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-2423But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23‑24)).
The outward, formal, worldly worship was all to pass away, because the hour had come when the true worshippers should worship the Father not with a worldly and fleshly worship, but in spirit and in truth. And, reader, just ponder for a moment those words: “The Father seeketh such to worship Him” (John 4:2323But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. (John 4:23)). Think of this: The Father, the Father in heaven, is seeking worshippers—worshippers who are willing to worship Him in His way, not in man’s way. Every religion all over the world has its own external ceremonies, has its own temple or hall of worship, adorned to make the man of the world see something which will help him to worship. These are all but “worldly sanctuaries,” and some much worse, for in some of these they worship demons. (1 Cor. 10:2020But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20).) All these outward ceremonies and adornments are but “the principles of the world” (vs. 3). The flesh loves them and delights in them. So on every hand we see great worship halls (churches, as men call them), beautifully adorned; magnificent buildings; beautiful music, great organs, and well-trained choirs. We see the vestments and the altars, and many other things to please the outward eye and ear. These, dear reader, are all but the principles of the world, and the whole thing is but a worldly sanctuary. This is not what the Father is seeking today. On the other hand, there may be, in a simple, little upper room, two or three gathered together to the name of Jesus and to Him alone (see Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) JND); they will surely be despised and scorned by those who love the principles of the world, but it may be that these are the worshippers in spirit and in truth for whom the Father is seeking. It may be that the Lord is present in the midst of those despised few in a way that the vast crowds in the worldly sanctuary know nothing of. Christian reader, you and I know that these things are so. We know that the beautiful worship hall, the lovely music and the eloquent preacher will draw crowds even of true believers, who despise the feeble little company who seek to worship according to the Word of God in spirit and in truth. There are few today who have not been influenced by the subtle power of the principles of the world, and the worldly sanctuary. Christian reader, may I ask, How about you?
“Thus also we, when we were minors, were continually enslaved under the principles of the world.”
You and I would not have dared to write that word “enslaved.” We would not have realized that the people of Israel, in the days before grace came, were enslaved—enslaved under the principles of the world. But so the Word of God stands. The law was their master; they were nothing better than slaves to the outward institutions to which they were subject. And are these today, who are under the power and influence of the principles of the world, any better? Are they in any better position than those of old who served a worldly sanctuary? Do these persons today know anything of the liberty of the Holy Spirit? For “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:1717Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)). These are very important questions, questions that if we are wise, we will ponder very seriously on our knees in the presence of our God, remembering that still the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Before we leave this subject, we must turn to Col. 2 and see what the Holy Spirit has to say to us there, for in that chapter twice He uses these same words. In Col. 2:8-118Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (Colossians 2:8‑11) we read: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the principles of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.” How many a good and true Christian man or woman has been spoiled through philosophy, through the traditions of men, through the principles of the world! They think they are getting something higher and grander and better; but in the sight of God they are spoiled. In Him, whom having not seen we love (1 Peter 1:88Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)), dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. But the eye of flesh cannot see Him; and so it wanders to philosophy, to the traditions of men, to the principles of the world—to anything and everything that the eye can see, and the mind can understand and value—but all these things are summed up in those few sad words, “not after Christ” (Phil. 3:1212Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)).
We read more of these principles of the world in vv. 20-23: “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” Those words exactly describe these things, these principles of the world as God sees them: “to the satisfying of the flesh” (Col. 2:2323Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh. (Colossians 2:23)). The magnificent churches or worship halls, the music, the choirs, the special clothing, or vestments: all these things satisfy the flesh, but they are not worship in spirit and in truth. They have a show of wisdom, and most persons are deceived by them. But these have forgotten, or they have never known, that they are dead with Christ from the principles of the world.
In the days of old, and in our own day, men sought the favor of God by means which an unconverted man could use, quite as well, or even better than one that is converted, for the unconverted man’s conscience does not make him feel that these things cannot cleanse the soul. Those who seek to obtain righteousness by works are often very bitter against those who have peace with God through faith, for this declares that all their labor is for nothing. It is remarkable that we only read of one city where the Gentiles persecuted Paul in which it was not the Jews who had stirred them up against him. The Jews boasted in what man could do, and they held fast their own glory. They were not willing to take the place of poor, helpless, lost, ruined sinners without strength. But faith gives God the glory and seeks in a new life, whose spring is love, to glorify Him by obedience to His Word and by doing His will.
So the law was a child trainer until Christ, the promised Seed. The forms and ceremonies of the Old Testament resembled the method of outward ceremonies of the Gentile religion. True, God always held fast the perfect rule for man’s conduct, and the unity of the Godhead; yet He, in His mercy, provided a system of worship that was suited to the ways of man’s spirit: God coming near to man, in order to show forth whether it was possible for man in the flesh to please God. Man has not kept God’s law, but he has held fast to the ceremonies in order to provide himself through them with a righteousness of his own; this is an easy way, this observance of outward forms and ceremonies, since man can do this without conquering his own passions and lusts. But on the other hand, if his conscience wakes up, these things become an unbearable yoke, and he finds out that the word is still true: “Thus also we, when we were minors, were continually enslaved under the principles of the world.” Alas, it is always thus. It was so in Israel’s day, and it is so even in our own day.
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth from (Himself) His Son.” At just the right moment the promised Seed came. God sent forth from the glory of heaven His only begotten Son, the Word who was made flesh, and He came and dwelt among us. He came as God’s representative (for the Greek word has this meaning). “The fullness of the time.” How much there is in those words! Man had been tested and tried in every way. In the Garden of Eden man was innocent, but he failed. From Adam to Noah, man had his conscience to guide him, and the world became so full of violence and corruption that God destroyed it with the flood. From Noah to Abraham man had the responsibility of governing, and the world became so wicked that God rejected it, and chose one man and his family. He guarded them, fenced them in, led them, taught them and dealt with them in grace. But they chose law instead. They utterly failed under law; and it should have been manifest to all that man was a complete failure in every way. Then at just the right moment, “Having yet therefore one Son, His well-beloved, He sent Him also last unto them” (Mark 12:66Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. (Mark 12:6)). God sent Him forth from Himself.
God had foretold in the prophet Daniel just exactly when the Messiah was to be “cut off.” If there had been men of spiritual understanding to understand the Scriptures, they might have known beforehand the very day on which the Messiah must suffer. God had chosen the exact time when He should send forth His Son; and He prepared all accordingly. He sent before Him His servant John to prepare His way before Him. (See Matt. 11:1010For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Matthew 11:10).) God allowed the Romans to have a strong government, having control of all that part of the world of which Palestine is the center. The Romans made good roads and kept a great measure of order, which made it possible to preach the gospel in very many places. God had also arranged that all that part of the world should understand the Greek language, so that this helped greatly in spreading the good news. He also arranged that this language should be, perhaps, at this time, the most perfect language this world has known, with which to give us the New Testament.
It is very evident that God Himself prepared everything in this world, so that all should be ready to receive His Son and send forth the good news of the grace of God to every part of the world. But, alas, when the Son of God came to this earth, “there was no room” (Luke 2:77And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)) for Him; they sent His mother out to the stable, and there the holy Child was born. (Luke 2:77And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7).) There in a stable, the only begotten Son of God came to this earth, an outcast (Jer. 30:1717For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. (Jeremiah 30:17)) from the beginning of His sojourn here.
“No room for Thee, Thou blessed One,
The Father’s holy Child,
His well-beloved, only Son,
The Savior undefiled!
No room for Thee in crowded inn
That evening long ago!
`Behold the Lamb’ who bore our sin,
Shut out by hearts below!”
A multitude of the heavenly host (Luke 2:1313And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, (Luke 2:13)) came to announce the arrival of this divine Stranger, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:1414Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14)). But the only ones to hear their message were a few shepherds out on the hillside keeping watch over their sheep. Jerusalem, the city of the great King, was troubled by the news that He was born. (Matt. 2:33When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3).) And the chief priests and scribes, who should have been the first to welcome Him, did not make the smallest effort to seek Him. True, there were those who brought kingly gifts, and falling down before Him did Him homage, but these were Gentile strangers. (Matt. 2:1111And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11).) And old Simeon and Anna had hearts prepared to give a welcome to the newborn King; and Anna knew all those in Jerusalem that looked for redemption, and she spoke of Him to them. I fear the number was not great. (See Luke 2:25, 36-3825And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. (Luke 2:25)
36And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36‑38)
.) Such was man’s condition when God’s time arrived, when “the fullness of the time came.” In Rom. 5:66For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6), the Holy Spirit calls it “due time.” In Mark 1:1515And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15), He sent to men the message, “The time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:1515And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:15)). It was God’s time, the time for the most important event that ever has happened in the history of the universe: “GOD SENT FORTH FROM HIMSELF HIS SON.”
The King of glory (Psa. 24:77Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (Psalm 24:7)) did not come from heaven manifesting forth His mighty power and glory, but He came of a woman, born of a woman. He took on Himself our human nature. He came under law (not under the law), that He might redeem (or, buy out) those that were under law. We may see plainly that instead of bringing Christians under law, God is really leading those who had been under law out from it. But He had to buy them out, and the cost was His well-beloved Son. No doubt this applies first of all to the Jews, and many Jewish believers then alive, who had been brought up under the law of Moses, had learned what it meant to be bought out from under that law. But when the Holy Spirit says, “He came under law, that He might buy out those that were under law” (not, the law), it tells us that Christ’s work went much further than to the Jews alone. His redemption went to the ends of the earth, for man by nature loves to put himself under law, nor was it the law of Moses alone but law of every kind from which Christ redeemed us. And so the Gentile Christians in Galatia shared in this redemption from under law. Redemption places all (that is, all who believe in Christ and His work on the cross) under the benefit of that work, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. In God’s sight these are bought out from under law in order that those who were under law might be delivered from it, and that they might receive from Him the sonship. For we have seen that the son was free. The son was no longer under a child trainer, a guardian, a steward. Before God could give to us the place and the spirit of sons, He must buy us out from under law.
So, when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth from (Himself) His Son, not only that He might buy out the ones under law, but also that we might receive from Himself the sonship. Who, but God the Father, could give to us the place and the spirit of sons? And the cost of this wonderful place into which God has brought us was His own well-beloved Son. You remember that almost the first words our Lord Jesus spoke after His resurrection were, “Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God” (John 20:1717Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)). Precious, marvelous words, which He never spoke before His death and His resurrection. But His work was all finished. He had paid the mighty price to buy out those under law: He had met all the claims of law, and we are free. All our sins were gone, and His Father now is our Father. He is now “the Firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:2929For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)), and, strange as it seems to us, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:1111For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11)). What wonderful words, brethren of the Son of God! God was His Father, and God was their Father. God was His God, and God was their God. Not only were they forgiven and justified—blessed, wondrous work though this was—but they were made sons of God. God brings us into the same relationship to Himself in which our Lord Himself stood.
Was He any longer under law? No, surely not. Under the law He had died. He had borne its curse; but that was all passed, and now He is risen. And with Him all who believe in Him are brought out from under law: they are free; they are sons. And “because you are sons, God sent forth from (Himself) the Spirit of His Son, into our hearts, crying, Abba, our Father! So thou art no longer a slave but on the contrary a son; but if a son, also an heir through God.” ch. 4:7. Note that it is “because ye are sons,” (vs. 6) (not, in order that ye may be sons) “God sent forth from (Himself) the Spirit of His Son.” Notice also that here we see the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all working together to bring forth from under law those who had been slaves to it. How then could anyone think that Gentiles should go back into that place from which God had thus bought out both Jews and Gentiles?
“Abba” is the Chaldee, or Aramaic, word for Father. It is a word that is made with the lips only, so that a very small child, who does not have any teeth yet, could say it. Almost every language has the same sort of name for father and mother, as in English very small children say “papa” and “mama,” both words made by the lips only. Even so is “Abba.” This tells us of the welcome God gives to even the smallest, the youngest, the weakest believer. He may not know how to pray, but God has given to even such a one the Spirit of His Son, and he can look up to heaven and cry, “Abba!” No one but a child has the right to this word. This is the word that our Lord Himself has made so dear to the heart of every true child of God, as we stand by with bowed heads and bowed hearts, and hear Him cry on that dark night in the garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; take away this cup from Me: nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (Mark 14:3636And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36)). We only find this precious word three times in the New Testament: first our Lord Himself uses it; and then in Rom. 8:1515For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15) where the Chinese New Testament so beautifully says, “You have not received the heart of a slave again to fear, but you have received the heart of a son, so that we cry, Abba, Father.” (The translation may not be very good, but I think the meaning is right.) Finally, we find this same sweet word here in our chapter in Galatians. Some men tell us that in the words, “Abba, our Father,” (Jer. 17:2222Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. (Jeremiah 17:22)) the second name, “Father,” is only a translation of “Abba,” but I think it is much more than that. Our hearts understand these things better than our heads; but, dear Christian reader, perhaps you have looked up to heaven, and cried, “Abba, Father!” If you have done this, then you will understand; and if you have never uttered this cry from your heart, then no words of man can make it plain to you. Three times in the first five verses of our epistle, Paul speaks of God as the Father. It is a mark of the child that he knows the Father (1 John 2:1313I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. (1 John 2:13)), and so from the beginning of the epistle Paul would remind them that they are sons, not slaves or servants.
It is the Spirit of God in our hearts, the Spirit of His Son within us, that utters this cry, “Abba, Father!” Nothing can ever imitate this cry. Only the Holy Spirit Himself can cry thus in our hearts. This cry, as we have already pointed out, is the proof that He dwells within us. “So,” the Apostle adds, “thou art no longer a slave but a son.” Yes, that cry “Abba, Father” is the proof that we are not under law, we are no longer minors, but we are now sons, sons of God. “But if a son, then an heir through God.” We are not the sort of an heir that the first verse of our chapter describes, who differs nothing from a slave. We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:1717And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)). Such is the place to which God brought us when He bought us out from under law.
We do not read more in Galatians of the heir, and we only once find the inheritance mentioned (ch. 3:18), but these words seem to open the door of the Father’s house and let us look in and have a glimpse of the glory that awaits us there. These words seem to take our hearts from earth to heaven, and leave behind the strife, the law teachers, and the false brethren. But the time for the glory has not yet come, though we are heirs already, and in Christ we have already obtained an inheritance. See Eph. 1:1111In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1:11). The Father’s house is our home (John 14:2); “we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house” (Psa. 65:44Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. (Psalm 65:4)). That day is yet before us, but even now down here how many of God’s children have found comfort in the Father’s house. Everywhere, true Christians turn to John 14 for cheer and encouragement. And soon our Lord’s prayer will be answered: “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:2424Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)). We will see His glory. We only find glory mentioned once in Galatians. (ch. 1:5.) The subject of the book is too sad and stern and their fall too terrible to speak to them of the glory; but I am glad that the Spirit of God does remind them in this epistle that we are not only sons, but heirs. I am very glad the Spirit does, as it were, in this epistle open the door to the glory: and I hope some of the Galatians looked in, and while gazing on the grace that made them heirs, and on the glory of their Lord, I hope they were “changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:1818But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)).
And is it so! I shall be like Thy Son,
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory, thought beyond all thought,
In glory, to His own blest likeness brought.
O, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.
Yet it must be, Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest;
That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.
Nor I alone, Thy loved ones all, complete
In glory, round Thee there with joy shall meet,
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored.
J.N. Darby