Read this quote again. How do these words grip you? Beloved philosopher C.S. Lewis wrote these powerful words to clarify the gospel message. This will serve as a perfect blueprint for understanding our passage for this week. Our architect, the Apostle Paul, was all too familiar with suffering. He served much time in chains, treated as a slave and eventually murdered for his faith. Prior to prison, he wrote to the churches in Galatia who were under the trap of a false gospel. He writes of the one, true gospel in Galatians 4:1-7. Using a real life illustration, he likens the believer first to an heir (vv. 1-2), then to a slave (v. 3) and finally to a son (vv. 4-7). In Jewish culture, the heir, as a child, had no individual rights or inheritance until he was of age, being no different from a slave. Both were chained to their masters. Paul then makes the point that we, apart from Christ, are all “enslaved to the elementary principles of the world” (v. 3). To the Galatian believers, this meant false teaching including Jewish legalism and pagan idol worship, false gospels and demonic lies. Essentially, this was anything opposed to the true gospel. Satan, the father of lies, has deceived the world by creating false gospels that ultimately condemn. Apart from Christ, sinners are dead in their sins, children of God’s wrath and enslaved to Satan and his deception (Eph. 2:1-3). This is the bad news.
Enter the good news. In one of the most powerful verses in all of Scripture, God takes initiative to set captives free. According to His perfect plan, God “sent forth his Son” to redeem and rescue those under the curse of the law and false religion (vv. 4-5). Not only did Christ pay the price for sinners, He made a way for us to “receive adoption as sons” (v. 5). Our loving Father sent his only Son to bring us into His divine family. Essentially, Christ came to make slaves to sin sons of God. Furthermore, our Father sends “the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,” the Holy Spirit, to be with us forever (v. 6). Finally, the last verse sums up Paul’s powerful and gracious message: The believer is no longer a slave, but a son and “if a son, then an heir through God” (v. 7). The entirety of God’s riches, grace and blessings, we have in Christ. Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation from sin and union with God. This is the only, true gospel message. All others condemn to hell and must be rejected! We must preach this message to ourselves every day: Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 15:3-4). We must renew our affections for Christ, the one who paid it all for our salvation.
- Have you preached the Gospel to yourself today?
- What sins are stealing your joy in Christ?
- Is Christ central in your life and everything to you?
This week’s devotional was written by Steve Sering. He leads worship with Circle City Canvas Church in Indianapolis and is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.