by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8 July 29, 2012 Dayton, Texas
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
1901 ASV Translation:
7 So that thou art no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
I. God Sent Forth His Son.
II. The Descriptors.
A. The sent Son was "born of woman" (see notes for 7/8/2012(187)).
B. The sent Son was "born under Law" (see notes for 7/15/2012(189)).
A. The "Abba" cry as the initial response of the "apostelized" Spirit.
1. Both of the New Testament records of Paul's use of "Abba" are directly linked to our "adoption" by God as our "Father" (Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6).
2. At issue in the "Abba" references (there are only three in the New Testament including Mark 14:36) is the presence of a "fearful" scenario wherein an unmitigated disaster looms on the horizon and the reality of a "Father" Who is viewed as capable of handling it unto a good outcome. In the case of Mark 14:36 there was to be no deliverance "from", whereas in both Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6 the issue is deliverance "from".
3. The more significant the "disaster", the greater need for an "Abba". This seems to be the term for the greatest object of hope in the face of the greatest potential disaster.
B. You are no longer a bondservant.
1. "No longer a bondservant" in contrast with "a bondservant of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:22; 2 Timothy 2:24; etc.).
2. The context is the critical factor: in it a "bondservant" is one "under Law", i.e., one whose relationship to the Father (Lord of the household) is "legal", not familial. The Father subjected the "sons" to "tutors and governors" in order to "drive" ("lead"/"bring") those "sons" to Christ (3:24). At issue is the Father's unwillingness to grant responsibility/privilege to those who are incapable of properly exercising/enjoying those aspects of sonship.
C. You are a son.
1. This is a direct repetition of one of the major issues of the preceding paragraph (3:25-29), specifically the claim in 3:26 that "ye are all sons of God by faith".
2. Being a specific repetition means that Paul was not satisfied with having made his point in the earlier effort. In that effort, the large issue involved is being free from the Law ("...we are no longer under a schoolmaster") and being united with Christ so that we are heirs. This is not unlike the present paragraph where the large issue is being free from the Law by reason of the redemption of the Son and the indwelling of the Spirit of the Son.
3. At issue is why Paul felt that he needed to drive this point home more emphatically. Apparently "being an heir" is no small matter. And, just as importantly, the manner by which we became heirs is no small matter. The "difference" between Paul's two paragraphs is that the first has its focus upon our unity with Christ and the second has its focus upon the "necessary issue" for a person to be considered a "son" by the Father.
4. Paul's phrase at the end of this paragraph is that we are "heirs through God". This is not clear from the Authorized Version because the text behind the translation says "an heir of God". But the textual evidence argues for "an heir through God". The preposition indicates agency, not possession or source. In other words, Paul is fixated upon making absolutely sure that his readers stay in tune with "Grace" by declaring that their high position as an heir is the outcome of God's activities and not their own. Through God's provision of the Redeemer as His Apostle and His provision of the Spirit of His Son as His Apostle, we are heirs because we are sons.
D. You are an heir.
1. This is also a direct repetition of one of the major issues of that preceding paragraph, specifically the claim of 3:29 that "ye...are heirs according to promise".
2. Without dispute, Paul wants his readers to embrace their identity in respect to the future. In that future, they will inherit the "Life" of God by the work of God on their behalf. They are heirs.