Picking up from yesterday’s chapter, Paul continues to talk about heirs. I think it is best to go back and read the end of Galatians 3 again (remember, the chapter breaks were added later – not by Paul when he was writing). Everyone was a slave under the law. But thankfully, God made a way that they (and we) could become His children. By accepting Christ, one can become a child of God through adoption.
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
From slave to heir – what an amazing opportunity! How often do we take that for granted? Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, not only have we been freed from the bondage of slavery, but we have also become heirs of God – and our inheritance is eternal life in His Kingdom.
This next section speaks of the Galatians turning their backs to God. Paul is feeling like he wasted his time and effort with them since they have reverted to how they were before they knew God. Paul seems to not be able to understand how they could go back. When he was with them to bring them the gospel the first time, they were a blessing to him, but now they are causing him great distress. Paul even goes as far as to compare it to the pains of childbirth as he is waiting for Christ to be formed in them again. As someone who went through that last year, my sarcastic side thinks “Really, Paul? What do you know about that?” But my somewhat more logical side can recognize that he is using that language to convey the seriousness of his concern – both in how much he cares for them as if they were his own children, and also how hurt he is by the turning of their backs on what he taught them.
I imagine that the Galatians were not intentionally turning away from God. But by not being intentionally focused on God, that was the result. I know I am guilty of this. It takes work to keep your mind and life set on God. You may not be actively doing things that would displease Him, but by not actively doing things that do please Him, you are still going to be drifting further and further from Him.
Going back to Abraham’s story again, Paul brings up his two sons.
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. […] 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”[f]31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
We want to be children of the promise – of the free woman. And the only way for us to do this is through Christ, so if you haven’t made the decision to follow him yet, I encourage you to do so!