Posted by: Brad Beaman | July 26, 2008

The Gospel: Rights of Sonship Galatians 3:26-4:7


Father and Son
Father and Son

When you look at the coaching career of the winningest coach in division 1 basketball, Bobby Knight you see he has coached some pretty impressive players. He has coached Isaih Thomas, Michael Jordan (on the Olympic team) and other very notable players. Which one do you suppose was his favorite to coach?

There was a picture of Bobby Knight in the newspaper at the height of his coaching career at the end of a regular season crying and hugging a player. He was not known for showing a tender side. His reputation is based more about his bad temper. But here he was hugging his son Pat Knight who was finishing four years of playing for his father. The caption to that picture stated that Coach Knight said his son Pat was his favorite player of all time.

Why was Pat Knight his favorite? He has coached MVPs of national championship teams. Some of those he coached later became NBA champions. Pat Knight was destined for none of those honors. He was below most of the elite that Knight coached. In the four years he played he was never a starter. So why was he the coach’s favorite? The reason is obvious. It had nothing to do with scoring ability or ball handling. He was the coach’s favorite only because he is the coach’s son. This tells us about the power of Sonship.

The passage of Galatians 3:26-4:7 is about Sonship. We find here about the tremendous privilege of Sonship that comes with faith in Christ. We became Sons of God when we trusted Christ as savior. We actually become a child of the king. We are legal heirs to God’s spiritual riches.

Paul is not the only New Testament writer to emphasize Sonship. The beloved disciple John tells us about it too. “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

What does it mean to be a child of the King? What is it to be “Heirs according to the promise, adopted sons of God the Father?” (1 John 3:1) It is the greatest privilege of all time. The more we understand what God has given us through the Gospel in the right of Sonship, the more we will desire to live our lives worthy of our family name. We will desire to have our lives as a testimony to the family of God.

Let’s look at Sonship, our great privilege in Christ. We became sons (and daughters) of God through Faith in Christ.

Galatians 3:26-29
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This section of scripture declares the great promise for all who have put faith in Christ. If you are a Christian, recognized your sin, repented, put your faith in Christ then you are no second class citizen in God’s kingdom. You are a full fledged son of the Heavenly Father.

How was your status of sons of God brought about? Was it by your merit? No. Was it because of your social standing, or education or because you were following religious regulations? Again the answer is no. It came only through faith in Christ.

Verse 27 speaks of Baptism.
27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

You were baptized spiritually when you became a Christian. Your water baptism is an outward testimony of your new life. It signifies your new relationship. When you study baptism in the New Testament you find the pattern; They heard, they believed they were baptized. Baptism is a biblical mandate and the command of Christ.

Only those who have done what is required in verse 26, that is have put their faith in Christ, are candidates for baptism. Verse 26 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Paul’s argument is faith in Christ plus nothing brings salvation. Your baptism is in no way a part of your Sonship, being a child of God.

It follows in verse 27 “clothe yourself with Christ.” The clothes you wear cover you. With faith you have clothed yourself in Christ. When you put on Christ you at the same time set aside the old warn out garments of sin and put on Christ. One man recently was baptized in the river and must have grasped this meaning. As soon as he came out of the water he took off his shirt and threw the old shirt down the river. The symbolism is great because when he came to Christ he laid aside his old life or metaphorically his old garments.

Verse 28, There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. We are all on equal footing. This statement is monumental for the first century when women and slaves had almost no rights. There are no divisions neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female. All are one in Christ. All enter God’s family by adoption. The same spiritual privilege is for all. Paul is not denying different roles for men and women but that all have equality in the eyes of God.

If you are a son of God, child of the King then your relationship with other Christians is fellow sons, brothers and sisters. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. All humanity has God as creator. All humans are fellow creations of God made in the image of God.
But the Bible does not teach the universal Fatherhood of God or the universal brotherhood of man. The Bible teaches that with faith in Christ we have Sonship in God as our Father and brotherhood among all who have put their faith in Christ. Verse 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 4:1-3
What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.

We are heirs of the promised blessings to Abrahams descendents are for all who put their faith in Christ. Heirs in God’s Kingdom 4:1-3. Paul is a doctrinal preacher and writer. Galatians is theologically intricate. Paul speaks very specifically down to the shade of meaning. But Paul is practical too and he is illustrating here with an illustration that would be understood in his day.

Vs 1-3 is about theRoman custom of a child that comes of age. In Rome at that time when a child became an adult it was fixed by the father. Under the law we are children without adult privileges, under restrictions. In our house we have installed certain child safety restraints to protect our child from the electric sockets. Our child is a precious family member but as a toddler under certain restrictions. But the time will come and we will remove these restrictions.

When Christ came, the slavery under law and the restrictions done away with and the elementary devices put away. It was time for liberty. Paul says an heir doesn’t enjoy the benefits until he comes of age. In Christ we have come of age.

Galatians 4:4-7
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Paul speaks of spiritual freedom in Gal 4:4-7. There is great impact behind verse 4. Jesus comes in God’s fullness of time. God brought forth his son. His son born of a woman. His son born under the law. He came at the appointed time to redeem us. Everything good about us we received at our redemption. In Christ we have been redeemed with eternal value. We received our full rights as sons, Sons of God.

Before we find in Vs 7 you were a slave, captive a prisoner. But you were set free as a child of God. We can cry Abba father. Abba is a term of familiarity. It is a term we would use like Daddy. We have that kind of relationship with the Heavenly Father, who spoke the universe into existence. Vs 7 since you are a son you are an heir. We have this great redemption.

Vs 6 Spirit of God for all believers. You have faith in Christ? Then you have the Holy Spirit. You may be asked how are you doing and you respons is well, fine. But you are adopted sons of God. You relate intimately to the Creator of the univers. The Spirit of Christ is your heart when you were redeemed by God. From a theological perspective you are a child of God, something very special. Do you realize how special you are? I hope you do. God want has a special place in his heart for you. That is a Father’s heart.

We have this privilege. It is available to you. This is singular vs 7, a son. It is Personal through faith. We have a family name in God’s family. In 1 John 3:1 we read; Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the sons of God. You are a child of God, bear the name of Christ, live worthy of your family name.



  1. Usher: Nice stuff Deak, but the last statment conflicts with the whole point

    Deacon: How’s that?

    Usher: “Live worthy of your name” says you have self will to control – as though you might lose your inheritance. Bobby Knight’s son never started and never lived up to the expectations of his father – guaranteed. Bobby Knight would never give anyone the rope he gave Patrick without the bloodline (grace).

    Deacon: So what you’re saying is one who is not in His grace is destined to be judged by merit and not grace

    Usher: Yep, kind of flies in the face of Arminianism doesn’t it?

  2. Usher & Deacon: Interesting interaction on July 26, 2008. Question – while I certainly understand and agree with the message of Grace which is at the very core of the New Covenant Gospel, I do believe that ‘self will’ is involved in the salvation experience – not only in our initial acceptance of the free gift, but in particular as it relates to our growth in the things of God; as it relates to our putting off the old in favor of the new; our cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s work in our life as we move from the ‘milk’ of God’s word to the ‘meat’. As I read your comments I was reminded of Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 6:1-3, Philippians 1:6, as well as many other references that would suggest that we have to be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him on into the Kingdom – which will involve us being changed from glory to glory, etc. I think through our cooperation with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives our goal is to arrive as Paul did experiencing a Galatians 2:20 life – which is what Jesus modeled for us during His ‘show & tell’ earthly ministry. He was considered the ‘first’ of many – consider Romans 8:14. Legally (if you will) we are all God’s children – but mature ‘Sons’ genuinely ‘hear’ and are ‘led’ – by the ‘Rhema’ voice of the Lord. It takes time in His presence – and and act of our ‘self will’ – consider Hebrews 5:14. Thanks for letting me weigh in on what apparently was a year old discussion. Better late than never! Jim

  3. Reblogged this on goldberry22 and commented:
    Am redeemed , thank you lord

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