The Gospel of Adoption

Text: Galatians 4:1-20

This is the fourth of six lessons examining the gospel from the book of Galatians. This lesson will focus on the gospel as a message of adoption. We can become the children of God. Once we do, we must live in a certain way.

The Announcement

  • Christ came at the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4) – this was the proper time (peace, universal language, roads/travel, Roman empire, etc.); God wasn’t reacting, He knew when this would be (Daniel 2:44); reminder that God does things on His time, so we must be patient (Psalm 37:7, 18)
  • We are sons and heirs through God (Galatians 4:7) – we have the privilege of being the children of God (1 John 3:1); we are not born that way, we must be born again (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23); as His children, we have an inheritance (Revelation 21:7); this adoption came because we have been redeemed (Galatians 4:5) from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13) through Jesus’ death on the cross (Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Ephesians 1:7)
  • You have come to know God (Galatians 4:9) – we have learned of Him through His word (John 1:1, 14, 18; 14:18-19; 20:30-31); we have become known by God because we love Him (1 Corinthians 8:3; cf. John 14:15); more than just that God knows about us, we have fellowship with Him and His children (Galatians 4:6-7)

The Instruction

  • Become as I am (Galatians 4:12) – not the first time Paul made such a statement (Acts 26:28-29); Paul wanted these Christians to be as he was in being fully devoted to Christ (Galatians 2:20; cf. Romans 12:1)
  • Be willing to sacrifice for others (Galatians 4:15) – despite some warnings and rebukes in this letter, the Galatians were doing some good things; they were willing to sacrifice for Paul; Paul was willing to sacrifice for others (2 Corinthians 12:15; 2 Timothy 2:8-10); this is what it means to show love for others (put others first)
  • When you did not know God you were slaves (Galatians 4:8) – prior to being adopted by God and having an inheritance in Him (before they were Christians); freedom only comes from the Lord (John 8:31-32, 36); others cannot provide this (2 Peter 2:19); they were enslaved to sin (John 8:34; cf. Romans 6:16)

The Warning

  • Do not become enslaved again (Galatians 4:9) – a Christian can fall away (Galatians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 9:27); we can choose to follow another master (Romans 6:16), but we cannot serve two (Matthew 6:24); this other master, whatever it is, is “weak and worthless” and cannot compare with Christ
  • Do not turn against those who teach the truth (Galatians 4:16) – often the reaction to the gospel (cf. Amos 5:10); Paul’s history (Acts 9:23-24; 14:19; 16:22-23; 21:30-31; 22:22); we need to humbly accept the truth (James 1:19-21); when we hear anything, even if it offends us, we must examine it according to the Scriptures (Acts 17:11); those who are wise will accept correction (Proverbs 13:1)
  • Do not allow false teachers to take advantage of you (Galatians 4:17) – false teachers will try to lead you away from Christ (Galatians 1:6; Acts 20:30); the only way they will be successful is if we are not watchful or careful (2 Peter 3:17); we must test, mark, and avoid false teachers (1 John 4:1; Romans 16:17; 2 John 10-11)


  • Through Jesus’ death on the cross, we can “receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5) – be heirs of God (Galatians 4:7)
  • Do not allow yourself to be led astray from the truth – be wholly devoted to God and faithfully serve Him

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