Paul teaches us, as maturing Christians, how to move from being dependent children to being free and independent adults. This transformation comes through faith in Christ.
Bibles, paper, pens/pencils, a short piece of rope
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Is there any aspect of being a child that you miss? What is it? Share your thoughts with the group.
- Can you identify with the thoughts shared by others? Where do you differ? If you were a child again, what freedoms would you miss that adults enjoy?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Can your religious practices and thinking keep you in bondage? Take turns having a piece of rope tied around your wrists. Then answer this question: “Though I am a Christian, I continue to be a slave to sin whenever I _________.”
- Thought Questions
Read Galatians 3:26-29. Do we exclude people as heirs of Christ in our church today? Look over Paul’s list or add your own.
- There is neither Jew nor Greek.
- There is neither slave nor free.
- There is neither male nor female.
- There is neither rich nor poor.
- There is neither blue-collar nor white-collar.
Read Galatians 4:1-4. In these verses, what does Paul mean by being a child and being an heir?
- You can be an heir but still be a child.
- Children are not ready to receive or manage an inheritance.
- There is a sense that until a child is an adult, he or she is still under the law.
- Christ came at just the right time to set us free from being children under the law.
- Some people who are Christians are still children under the law and have not been set free.
Read Galatians 4:5-7. From what are we redeemed (bought back)?
- We are freed from Satan and his evil ways (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
- We are saved from eternal death (1 Corinthians 15:56, 57).
- We are set free from the grip of sin (Romans 6:22).
- We are removed from the condemnation of the law (Romans 3:19-24).
- We are protected from trials and tribulations.
Read Galatians 4:8-20. Paul is concerned about the Galatians turning back to “weak and beggarly elements.” What are these elements and why is Paul worried for the Galatians?
- It has something to do with verse 10: “You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
- This speaks of pagan rituals and feasts.
- It’s talking about astrology and worshiping the heavens (sun, moon, stars, etc.).
- This passage speaks of the Jewish feasts and holy days (but not the weekly Sabbath).
- Paul is concerned that the Galatians live under the belief that keeping the law will bring them salvation.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: A small group in your local church believes it should keep the fall Jewish feasts. In light of what you learned in this lesson, do you believe that is required or permissible to be “heirs according to the promise”?
- Option 2: How inclusive is your church with different groups in your church? Have barriers to service or involvement been erected? Think of different service opportunities (worship leaders, church board, elders, etc.) and make recommendations to your leaders if you see an imbalance.
- Option 3: Write a short poem based on the concept of being free in Christ. (The poem doesn’t have to rhyme.) Use ideas from today’s lesson. Capture the essence of transitioning from being a slave to being an adopted heir.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Is there some area of your beliefs or religious life that is keeping you in bondage? What needs to change for you to be set free? Reflect on this for a few minutes.
- In groups of two or three, pray for deep and true freedom in Christ.