From Slaves to Heirs
Read for This Week’s Study: Gal. 3:26-4:20; Rom. 6:1-11; Heb. 2:14-18; 4:14, 15; Rom. 9:4, 5.
Memory Text: “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:7, ESV).
Paul tells the Galatians that they should not live and act as slaves but as the sons and daughters of God, with all the rights and privileges thereof — a truth that the young Martin Luther needed to hear. As his convictions of sin deepened, the young man sought by his own works to obtain pardon and peace. He led a most rigorous life, endeavoring by fasting, vigils, and scourgings to subdue the evils of his nature, from which the monastic life had brought no release. He shrank from no sacrifice by which he might attain to that purity of heart which would enable him to stand approved before God. He was, he had said later, a pious monk who strictly followed the rules of his order, and yet he found no peace within. “If ever monk could obtain heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it.” Yet it didn’t work for him.
Only as he later began to understand the truth about salvation in Christ, as revealed in the Galatians, did he ever start to have any kind of spiritual freedom and hope for his own soul. As a result, too, our world has never been the same.