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4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.


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4. the fulness of the time—namely, "the time appointed by the Father" (Ga 4:2). Compare Note, see on Eph 1:10; Lu 1:57; Ac 2:1; Eze 5:2. "The Church has its own ages" [Bengel]. God does nothing prematurely, but, foreseeing the end from the beginning, waits till all is ripe for the execution of His purpose. Had Christ come directly after the fall, the enormity and deadly fruits of sin would not have been realized fully by man, so as to feel his desperate state and need of a Saviour. Sin was fully developed. Man's inability to save himself by obedience to the law, whether that of Moses, or that of conscience, was completely manifested; all the prophecies of various ages found their common center in this particular time: and Providence, by various arrangements in the social and political, as well as the moral world, had fully prepared the way for the coming Redeemer. God often permits physical evil long before he teaches the remedy. The smallpox had for long committed its ravages before inoculation, and then vaccination, was discovered. It was essential to the honor of God's law to permit evil long before He revealed the full remedy. Compare "the set time" (Ps 102:13).

was comeGreek, "came."

sent forthGreek, "sent forth out of heaven from Himself" [Alford and Bengel]. The same verb is used of the Father's sending forth the Spirit (Ga 4:6). So in Ac 7:12. Compare with this verse, Joh 8:42; Isa 48:16.

his—emphatical. "His own Son." Not by adoption, as we are (Ga 4:5): nor merely His Son by the anointing of the Spirit which God sends into the heart (Ga 4:6; Joh 1:18).

made of a woman—"made" is used as in 1Co 15:45, "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul," Greek, "made to be (born) of a woman." The expression implies a special interposition of God in His birth as man, namely, causing Him to be conceived by the Holy Ghost. So Estius.

made under the law—"made to be under the law." Not merely as Grotius and Alford explain, "Born subject to the law as a Jew." But "made" by His Father's appointment, and His own free will, "subject to the law," to keep it all, ceremonial and moral, perfectly for us, as the Representative Man, and to suffer and exhaust the full penalty of our whole race's violation of it. This constitutes the significance of His circumcision, His being presented in the temple (Lu 2:21, 22, 27; compare Mt 5:17), and His baptism by John, when He said (Mt 3:15), "Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness."

5. ToGreek, "That He might redeem."

them … under the law—primarily the Jews: but as these were the representative people of the world, the Gentiles, too, are included in the redemption (Ga 3:13).

receive—The Greek implies the suitableness of the thing as long ago predestined by God. "Receive as something destined or due" (Lu 23:41; 2Jo 8). Herein God makes of sons of men sons of God, inasmuch as God made of the Son of God the Son of man [Augustine on Psalm 52].

6. because ye are sons—The gift of the Spirit of prayer is the consequence of our adoption. The Gentile Galatians might think, as the Jews were under the law before their adoption, that so they, too, must first be under the law. Paul, by anticipation, meets this objection by saying, Ye are sons, therefore ye need not be as children (Ga 4:1) under the tutorship of the law, as being already in the free state of "sons" of God by faith in Christ (Ga 3:26), no longer in your nonage (as "children," Ga 4:1). The Spirit of God's only Begotten Son in your hearts, sent from, and leading you to cry to, the Father, attests your sonship by adoption: for the Spirit is the "earnest of your inheritance" (Ro 8:15, 16; Eph 1:13). "It is because ye are sons that God sent forth" (the Greek requires this translation, not "hath sent forth") into OUR (so the oldest manuscripts read for "your," in English Version) hearts the Spirit of His son, crying, "Abba, Father" (Joh 1:12). As in Ga 4:5 he changed from "them," the third person, to "we," the first person, so here he changes from "ye," the second person, to "our," the first person: this he does to identify their case as Gentiles, with his own and that of his believing fellow countrymen, as Jews. In another point of view, though not the immediate one intended by the context, this verse expresses, "Because ye are sons (already in God's electing purpose of love), God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts," &c.: God thus, by sending His Spirit in due time, actually conferring that sonship which He already regarded as a present reality ("are") because of His purpose, even before it was actually fulfilled. So Heb 2:13, where "the children" are spoken of as existing in His purpose, before their actual existence.

the Spirit of his Son—By faith ye are one with the Son, so that what is His is yours; His Sonship ensures your sonship; His Spirit ensures for you a share in the same. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Ro 8:9). Moreover, as the Spirit of God proceeds from God the Father, so the Spirit of the Son proceeds from the Son: so that the Holy Ghost, as the Creed says, "proceedeth from the Father and the Son." The Father was not begotten: the Son is begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son.

crying—Here the Spirit is regarded as the agent in praying, and the believer as His organ. In Ro 8:15, "The Spirit of adoption" is said to be that whereby WE cry, "Abba, Father"; but in Ro 8:26, "The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." The believers' prayer is His prayer: hence arises its acceptability with God.

Abba, Father—The Hebrew says, "Abba" (a Hebrew term), the Greek, "Father" ("Pater," a Greek term in the original), both united together in one Sonship and one cry of faith, "Abba, Father." So "Even so ('Nai,' Greek) Amen (Hebrew)," both meaning the same (Re 1:7). Christ's own former cry is the believers' cry, "Abba, Father" (Mr 14:36).

7. Wherefore—Conclusion inferred from Ga 4:4-6.

thou—individualizing and applying the truth to each. Such an individual appropriation of this comforting truth God grants in answer to them who cry, "Abba, Father."

heir of God through Christ—The oldest manuscripts read, "an heir through God." This combines on behalf of man, the whole before-mentioned agency, of THE Trinity: the Father sent His Son and the Spirit; the Son has freed us from the law; the Spirit has completed our sonship. Thus the redeemed are heirs THROUGH the Triune God, not through the law, nor through fleshly descent [Windischmann in Alford]; (Ga 3:18 confirms this).

heir—confirming Ga 3:29; compare Ro 8:17.




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