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Galatians Chapter Four Commentary

Galatians Chapter Four Commentary

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Published by glennpease
BY G. G. FINDLAY, B.A.,



THE HEIR'S COMING OF AGE,

" But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing fron
¦ bondservant, though he is lord of all ; but is under guardians and
stewards until the term appointed of the father. So we also, when we
were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world :
but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of
a woman, bora under the law, that He might redeem them which were
under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because
ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,
crying, Abba Father. So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but
a son ; and if a son, then an heir through God." — Gal. iv. I — 7.
BY G. G. FINDLAY, B.A.,



THE HEIR'S COMING OF AGE,

" But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing fron
¦ bondservant, though he is lord of all ; but is under guardians and
stewards until the term appointed of the father. So we also, when we
were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world :
but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of
a woman, bora under the law, that He might redeem them which were
under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because
ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,
crying, Abba Father. So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but
a son ; and if a son, then an heir through God." — Gal. iv. I — 7.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 06, 2013
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03/31/2014

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GALATIAS CHAPTER FOUR COMMETARY 
BY G. G. FIDLAY, B.A.,THE HEIR'S COMIG OF AGE," But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing fron¦ bondservant, though he is lord of all ; but is under guardians andstewards until the term appointed of the father. So we also, when wewere children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of the world :but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, bora under the law, that He might redeem them which wereunder the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And becauseye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,crying, Abba Father. So that thou art no longer a bondservant, buta son ; and if a son, then an heir through God." — Gal. iv. I — 7.THE main thesis of the Epistle is now established.Gentile Christians, Paul has shown, are in thetrue Abrahamic succession of faith. And this devolutionof the Promise discloses the real intent of the Mosaiclaw, as an intermediate and disciplinary system.Christ was the heir of Abraham's testament ; He wastherefore the end of Moses' law. And those who areChrist's inherit the blessings of the Promise, whilethey escape the curse and condemnation of the Law.The remainder of the Apostle's polemic, down toch. v. 12, is devoted to the illustration and enforce-ment of this position.In this, as in the previous chapter, the pre-Christianstate is assigned to the Jew, who was the chief subjectof Divine teaching in the former dispensation ; it is setforth under the tirst person (ver. 3), in the language of y. 1-7. THE HEIR'S COMIG OF AGE. 243
 
recollection. Describing the opposite condition of son-ship, the Apostle reverts from the first to the secondperson, identifying his readers with himself (comp.ch. iii. 25, 26). True, the Gentiles had been inbondage (vv. 7, 8). This goes without saying. Paul'sobject is to show that Judaism is a bondage. Uponthis he insists with all the emphasis he can command.Moreover, the legal system contained worldly, un-spiritual elements, crude and childish conceptions of truth, marking it, in comparison with Christianity, asan inferior religion. Let the Galatians be convincedof this, and they will understand what Paul is goingto say directly ; they will perceive that Judaic conformityis for them a backsliding in the direction of theirformer heathenism (vv. 8 — 10). But the force of thislatter warning is discounted and its effect weakenedwhen he is supposed, as by some interpreters, toinclude Gentile along with Jewish " rudiments " alreadyin ver. 3. His readers could not have suspected this.The " So we also " and the " held in bondage " of thisverse carry them back to ch. iii. 23. By callingthe Mosaic ceremonies "rudiments of the world" hegives Jewish susceptibilities just such a shock as pre-pares for the declaration of ver. 9, which puts themon a level with heathen rites.The difference between Judaism and Christianity,historically unfolded in ch. iii., is here restated ingraphic summary. We see, first, the heir of God inhis minority ; and again, the same heir in possession of his estate.I. One can fancy the Jew replying to Paul's previousargument in some such style as this. "You pourcontempt," he would say, "on the religion of yourfathers. You make them out to have been no better244 THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIAS.
 
than slaves. Abraham's inheritance, you pretend,under the Mosaic dispensation lay dormant, and isrevived in order to be taken from his children andconferred on aliens." o, Paul would answer : I admitthat the saints of Israel were sons of God ; I glory inthe fact — " who are Israelites, whose is the adoption ojsons and the glory and the covenants and the law-giving and the promises, whose are the fathers"(Rom. ix. 4, 5). But they were sons in their minority." And I say that as long as the heir is (legally) aninfant, he differs in nothing from a slave, though (bytitle) lord of all."The man of the Old Covenant was a child of Godiu posse, not in esse, in right but not in fact. The" infant " is his father's trueborn son. In time he willbe full owner. Meanwhile he is as subject as anyslave on the estate. There is nothing he can commandfor his own. He is treated and provided for as abondman might be ; put " under stewards" who managehis property, " and guardians " in charge of his person," until the day fore-appointed of the father." Thissituation does not exclude, it implies fatherly affectionand care on the one side, and heirship on the other.But it forbids the recognition of the heir, his investmentwith filial rights. It precludes the access to the fatherand acquaintance with him, which the boy will gainin after years. He sees him at a distance and throughothers, under the aspect of authority rather than of love. In this position he does not yet possess thespirit of a son. Such was in truth the condition of Hebrew saints — heirs of God, but knowing it not.This illustration raises in ver. 2 an interesting legalquestion, touching the latitude given by Roman orother current law to the father in dealing with his

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