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Sons and Heir of God through Christ
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6: Sons and Heirs of God through Christ (3:26-4:31)

I.       The Basics

A.     The Setting

This is a bright and assuring passage in the epistle. In the previous passages, Paul explained that the law was a guardian that kept us for the faith to be revealed. Building on this analogy, Paul points out our identity as the sons of God through faith and our status as heirs to the promise. Being sons and heirs, we are not under bondage but have liberty in Christ.

B.     Key Verse

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (3:26).

C.     Did You Know...?

1. Elements (4:3,9): “The Greek term meant essentially ‘things placed side by side in a row’ (as the ABCs) and then came to mean fundamental principles or basic elements of various kinds.” 4/1784

II.    Observation

A.     Outline






B.     Key Words/Phrases

C.     General Analysis

1. In which paragraph do you see Paul digressing from his line of argument? How is the tone of this paragraph very different?

III. Segment Analysis

A.     3:26-29

1. How does this paragraph relate to the previous paragraph?

2a. Based on verses 26 and 27, what spiritual effects take place through baptism? Explain the meaning of these effects.

2b. How does this passage refute the false teaching that baptism is a work of the law?

3a. According to 28, what has been removed among the believers in Christ?

3b. How is this truth applicable to the problem that Paul was addressing?

3c. How does this teaching apply to our life in the church today? Have you seen conducts or attitudes that are not in line with this teaching?

B.     4:1-7

4. What contrast does Paul set forth here?

5. In what sense are those under the law like an heir who is still a child?

6. What are the “elements of the world”?

7. What does it mean that the Son of God was born under the law?

8. What does the phrase “adoption as sons” (5) suggest?

9. How does verse 6 identify the Holy Spirit?

10. According to this verse, what purpose does the Holy Spirit serve?

C.     4:8-11

11a. Why are the elements of the world “weak and beggarly”?

11b. In what sense is turning to these elements similar to serving false gods?

12. Why does Paul add the phrase, “or rather are known by God” in verse 9 (cf. Nah 1:7; Jn 10:14; 15:16; Rom 5:8; 1Cor 8:3; 2Tim 2:19)?

13. In what ways could a believer make the mistake of the Galatians and serve God as if he is serving other gods?

14. What is Paul’s fear for the Galatians?

D.     4:12-20

15. What does Paul mean by “I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (19)?

16. What differentiates true servants of God and false teachers? What can we learn from Paul in this paragraph?

E.     4:21-31

If you are not familiar with the background of Paul’s analogy, read Genesis chapters 16, 17, and 21.

17. Identify all the sets of contrasts found in this paragraph.

18a. What is the covenant from Mount Sinai?

18b. Why does it correspond to “Jerusalem which now is” (25)?

19. How are those who keep the law like the son who was born according to the flesh?

20. What is the Jerusalem above? How is she free?

21. What will be the consequence of those born according to the flesh?

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