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Sons and Heirs

By Scott Masson/ October 18, 2015

Series  Galatians: Life, Law and Liberty

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Law & Gospel

Scripture  Galatians 3:23-4:20

The law was a harsh schoolmaster designed to drive sinners to Christ; now, through faith in Christ, all who believe enjoy the privilege of being familially related to God Himself by adoption.

Scripture:  Galatians 3:23-4:20

Sermon Notes:

  1. This passage presents us with a challenge of personal identity, a question we all wrestle with at some time.
  2. Our identity changes with the changing roles and responsibilities in our lives.
  3. Our new identity in Christ changes our relationship to all other identity markers in our lives: job, family, academy, sports fan, etc.
  4. Paul has spent the entire letter thus far disputing against the religion of good works. Good works are a fruit of God’s prior grace in our lives, not vice versa.
  5. Like Private Ryan, many people are plagued by the question of whether they have lived well enough to earn their salvation.
  6. It is God who has done the work for us – He has given us His identity, purchasing us by the blood of Christ.
  7. The Heidelberg Catechism states that our only comfort in life and in death is that we belong to Christ, body and soul.
  8. It is a great blessing and privilege to call God our Father.
  9. The law and gospel were never in conflict; in the gospel we’re freed from bondage to sin and given grace to obey the law.
  10. The faith of the Christian is the faith of Abraham, but, for us who look back to Christ, there is a new fullness, finality and power.
  11. The law was a harsh schoolmaster to drive us to Christ; now through faith in Christ, all who believe become sons of God.
  12. We must dispense with the idea that God is everyone's father and that there is some sort of universal brotherhood of man.
  13. It is a privilege to call God our Father and to know that God delights in our prayers and dependence upon Him.
  14. God does love all people for He has created them in His image. But until they are set right in Christ and adopted as sons, God does not have a fatherly relationship to them.
  15. Each Christian becomes personally and intimately related to God as Father.
  16. To redeem us from sin and to adopt us as sons was a costly purchase, forfeiting God the Son’s life.
  17. In Christ we have been freed from the pagan delusions of the gods’ power over the natural world (cf. Romans 12:2).
  18. Galatians 3:28 doesn’t remove God-given distinctions, but it does mean that all believers are brought into one body of Christ and one family of God.
  19. Paul concludes positively and with confidence: being known by God, we receive God’s grace as sons and daughters. 
  20. We can’t lose God’s grace and favour because we didn’t deserve it in the first place (cf. John 6:44).

Application Questions:

  1. How does Christian faith affect one’s relationship to every area of life, and subsequently change one’s identity?
  2. What did it cost God to adopt us as sons and daughters?
  3. How does God show His Fatherly love for His children?
  4. Why was the law given, and how does its purpose change when we become Christians?
  5. What is the answer to those plagued by the question of whether they have been good enough to “earn it”?