Servants and Sons

One of the classic proof texts thrown out to tell people they don’t have to obey God now that they think they are saved, is found in Galatians 4:7:

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

The “reasoning” goes like this:

“Servants have to listen to their master, it’s like slavery, obligation, and bondage. But a son is not under bondage and does not have to obey. A son is not disciplined like a slave for disobedience. Sons are unconditionally loved by their father no matter what they do.”

Although I’ve heard this explanation many times and in various ways, it never ceases to amaze me how readily people miss God’s points.

The passage in Galatians 4, and extending back into chapter 3, is talking about Israel under the law. The law was around, not to give salvation, but to bring people to Christ, the chosen Seed.

Now that Christ is come, and was crucified and resurrected, Israel is no longer under the law. There is no point for it anymore. This very message is why so many Jewish people hated Paul in the Book of Acts!

Jews thought the law was the whole point. God gave the law to Jews, not heathen scum Gentiles; we are Jews; therefore, we are God’s people and saved.

They missed the point of the law and went about to establish their own righteousness rather than a righteousness given by faith.

When Paul told Jews they were no longer under the law, those were fightin’ words!

Paul’s point about servants and sons has nothing to do with you being made a child of God so go ahead and sin. That’s not even close to the point of the passage.

Paul’s point is that the “adoption of sons” has taken place. Adoption here is not like adoption today. Adoption of sons means you are counted as a mature, responsible heir. You are no longer under tutors and governors.

Why is the son no longer under tutors and governors?

Because the son is already doing what the father wants him to do! That’s what maturity is!

Our theology says “we’re not under tutors and governors! Sweet! Party time! While the cat’s away; the mice will sin!”

Paul says, “You are no longer treated as servants because you are mature sons. God can trust you. You already have the Father’s mind and goals, because you have the Father’s Spirit in you. You don’t need tutors and governors because you are joined, as one, with the father!”

Paul’s message can in no way be construed to say, “Hey, since you’re saved and not under the law, all restraints are off. Go sin all you like.”

Again, this is an effort to glorify grace that ends up completely undermining it and removing its power.

Being a son and not a servant is a position of responsibility. Responsibilities the father thinks you can handle because you’ve been given all you need to do the father’s will. You are complete and mature in Him.

Any time someone takes a doctrine and makes the application be: “go ahead and sin, don’t worry about it, it doesn’t matter anyway.” Rest assured, that is false doctrine.

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