SUBJECTION TO THE
CAME, FROM THE
SUBJECTION OF AN
WILL TO THE
THEM TO THE
BE UNDER THE
SHOWN BY THE
1-7. The fact of God's sending His Son to redeem us who were under
and sending the Spirit of His Son into our hearts
confirms the conclusion
that we are "heirs according to the promise."
It is not, as in earthly inheritances, the death of the father, but our
Father's sovereign will simply that makes us heirs.
child--Greek, "one under age."
differeth nothing, &c.--that is, has no more freedom than a slave
(so the Greek for "servant" means). He is not at his own disposal.
lord of all--by title and virtual ownership
1Co 3:21, 22).
2. tutors and governors--rather, "guardians (of the person) and
stewards (of the property)." Answering to "the law was our schoolmaster"
until the time appointed of the father--in His eternal purposes
The Greek is a legal term, expressing a time defined by
law, or testamentary disposition.
3. we--the Jews primarily, and inclusively the Gentiles also. For
the "we" in
plainly refers to both Jew and Gentile believers. The Jews in
their bondage to the law of Moses, as the representative people of the
world, include all mankind virtually amenable to God's law
(Ro 2:14, 15;
compare Note, see on
Even the Gentiles were under "bondage," and in a state of discipline
suitable to nonage, till Christ came as the Emancipator.
were in bondage--as "servants"
under the elements--or "rudiments"; rudimentary religion
teaching of a non-Christian character: the elementary lessons of
outward things (literally, "of the [outward] world"); such as the
legal ordinances mentioned,
(Col 2:8, 20).
Our childhood's lessons [CONYBEARE and HOWSON]. Literally, The letters of the alphabet
4. the fulness of the time--namely, "the time appointed by the Father"
Compare Note, see on
"The Church has its own ages" [BENGEL]. God does
nothing prematurely, but, foreseeing the end from the beginning, waits
till all is ripe for the execution of His purpose. Had Christ come
directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would
not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state
and need of a Saviour. Sin was fully developed. Man's inability to save
himself by obedience to the law, whether that of Moses, or that of
conscience, was completely manifested; all the prophecies of various
ages found their common center in this particular time: and
Providence, by various arrangements in the social and political, as
well as the moral world, had fully prepared the way for the coming
Redeemer. God often permits physical evil long before he teaches the
remedy. The smallpox had for long committed its ravages before
inoculation, and then vaccination, was discovered. It was essential to
the honor of God's law to permit evil long before He revealed the full
remedy. Compare "the set time"
was come--Greek, "came."
sent forth--Greek, "sent forth out of heaven
from Himself" [ALFORD and
BENGEL]. The same verb is used of the Father's
sending forth the Spirit
Compare with this verse,
his--emphatical. "His own Son." Not by adoption, as we are
nor merely His Son by the anointing of the Spirit which God sends into
made of a woman--"made" is used as in
"The first man, Adam, was made a living soul," Greek,
"made to be (born) of a woman." The expression implies a special
interposition of God in His birth as man, namely, causing Him to be
conceived by the Holy Ghost. So ESTIUS.
made under the law--"made to be under the law." Not merely as
and ALFORD explain, "Born subject to the law as a Jew." But "made"
by His Father's appointment, and His own free will, "subject to the
law," to keep it all, ceremonial and moral, perfectly for us, as the
Representative Man, and to suffer and exhaust the full penalty of our
whole race's violation of it. This constitutes the significance of His
circumcision, His being presented in the temple
(Lu 2:21, 22, 27;
and His baptism by John, when He said
"Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."
5. To--Greek, "That He might redeem."
them . . . under the law--primarily the Jews: but as these were the
representative people of the world, the Gentiles, too, are included
in the redemption
receive--The Greek implies the suitableness
of the thing as
long ago predestined by God. "Receive as something destined or due"
Herein God makes of sons of men sons of God, inasmuch as God made of
the Son of God the Son of man [AUGUSTINE on Psalm
6. because ye are sons--The gift of the Spirit of prayer is the
consequence of our adoption. The Gentile Galatians might think, as the
Jews were under the law before their adoption, that so they, too, must
first be under the law. Paul, by anticipation, meets this objection by
saying, YE ARE sons, therefore ye need not be as children
under the tutorship of the law, as being already in the free state of
"sons" of God by faith in Christ
no longer in your nonage (as "children,"
The Spirit of God's only Begotten Son in your hearts, sent from, and
leading you to cry to, the Father, attests your sonship by adoption:
for the Spirit is the "earnest of your inheritance"
(Ro 8:15, 16;
"It is because ye are sons that God sent forth" (the Greek
requires this translation, not "hath sent forth") into
OUR (so the oldest manuscripts read for "your," in
English Version) hearts the Spirit of His son, crying, "Abba,
he changed from "them," the third person, to "we," the first person, so
here he changes from "ye," the second person, to "our," the first
person: this he does to identify their case as Gentiles, with his own
and that of his believing fellow countrymen, as Jews. In another point
of view, though not the immediate one intended by the context, this
verse expresses, "Because ye are sons (already in God's electing
purpose of love), God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your
hearts," &c.: God thus, by sending His Spirit in due time, actually
conferring that sonship which He already regarded as a present reality
("are") because of His purpose, even before it was actually fulfilled.
where "the children" are spoken of as existing in His purpose, before
their actual existence.
the Spirit of his Son--By faith ye are one with the Son, so that
what is His is yours; His Sonship ensures your sonship; His Spirit
ensures for you a share in the same. "If any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of His"
Moreover, as the Spirit of God proceeds from God the Father, so the
Spirit of the Son proceeds from the Son: so that the Holy Ghost, as the
Creed says, "proceedeth from the Father and the Son." The Father was
not begotten: the Son is begotten of the Father; the Holy
Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son.
crying--Here the SPIRIT is regarded as the
agent in praying, and the believer as His organ. In
"The Spirit of adoption" is said to be that whereby WE cry, "Abba, Father"; but in
"The SPIRIT ITSELF maketh intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered." The believers' prayer is His prayer: hence arises
its acceptability with God.
Abba, Father--The Hebrew says, "Abba" (a Hebrew term), the
Greek, "Father" ("Pater," a Greek term in the original), both
united together in one Sonship and one cry of faith, "Abba, Father." So
"Even so ('Nai,' Greek) Amen (Hebrew)," both meaning the
Christ's own former cry is the believers' cry, "Abba, Father"
7. Wherefore--Conclusion inferred from
thou--individualizing and applying the truth to each. Such an
individual appropriation of this comforting truth God grants in answer
to them who cry, "Abba, Father."
heir of God through Christ--The oldest manuscripts read, "an
heir through God." This combines on behalf of man, the whole
before-mentioned agency, of THE
TRINITY: the Father sent His Son and the Spirit;
the Son has freed us from the law; the Spirit has completed our
sonship. Thus the redeemed are heirs THROUGH the
Triune GOD, not through the law, nor through
fleshly descent [WINDISCHMANN in
8-11. Appeal to them not to turn back from their privileges as free
sons, to legal bondage again.
then--when ye were "servants"
ye knew not God--not opposed to
The heathen originally knew God, as
states, but did not choose to retain God in their knowledge, and so
corrupted the original truth. They might still have
known Him, in a measure, from His works, but as a matter of fact they
knew Him not, so far as His eternity, His power as the Creator, and His
holiness, are concerned.
are no gods--that is, have no existence, such as their
worshippers attribute to them, in the nature of things, but only in the
corrupt imaginations of their worshippers (see on
1Co 10:19, 20;
Your "service" was a different bondage from that of the Jews, which was
a true service. Yet theirs, like yours, was a burdensome yoke; how then
is it ye wish to resume the yoke after that God has transferred both
Jews and Gentiles to a free service?
9. known God or rather are known of God--They did not
first know and love God, but God first, in His electing love,
knew and loved them as His, and therefore attracted them to the saving
knowledge of Him
Ex 33:12, 17;
God's great grace in this made their fall from it the more heinous.
how--expressing indignant wonder at such a thing being possible,
and even actually occurring
"How is it that ye turn back again?"
weak--powerless to justify: in contrast to the justifying
power of faith
beggarly--contrasted with the riches of the inheritance of
believers in Christ
The state of the "child"
is weak, as not having attained manhood; "beggarly," as not having
attained the inheritance.
elements--"rudiments." It is as if a schoolmaster should go back to
learning the A, B, C'S [BENGEL].
again--There are two Greek words in the original. "Ye desire again,
beginning afresh, to be in bondage." Though the Galatians, as Gentiles,
had never been under the Mosaic yoke, yet they had been under "the
elements of th