Chapter 4:1-7 (ESV) I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Question to consider: What does it mean to be “enslaved to the elementary principles of the world?”
Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Today, we frequently hear the phrase, “God is love.” Although I think many people today confuse God’s holy love for a shallow, emotive, pampering kind of love, the notion that “God is love” has become universal because of Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews states it beautifully in 12:18-24, “For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, ‘I tremble with fear.’ But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
At the time of Moses, the Israelites looked upon God with fear and dread because they were an unholy people facing a holy God. They sought to please God out of fear of calamity whether it was perishing at the hand of Egypt or from starvation in the wilderness or in overtaking the Canaanite nations. All they knew of God was what was revealed in the law, and much of their relationship with Him was rooted in law keeping and performing sacrifices when they failed it. God’s favor was measured by the abundance of riches, children, and health - things tied to this world.
But now we are under a new and everlasting covenant. We worship Jesus the Christ, king of the universe who is reigning from the heavenly Jerusalem in the midst of a joyful assembly of angels and saints. Regardless of our earthly circumstances, we find our rest and joy in our risen saviour, for we have been adopted into His family and are heirs of his glorious and imperishable riches. This is why even in the midst of an earthly pandemic, we can joyfully proclaim “Alleluia!”
Risen Lord and King, may your holy name be lifted high in all the earth! We give thanks that you provide for our daily needs and look forward to the inheritance that is to come. Help us to trust that you are sovereign and working out all things for our good and your glory and let us see our blessed role in carrying out your will throughout the world. We look forward to the day when sin and death are finally a thing of the past. Amen.