What does Galatians 4:5 mean?
ESV: to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
NIV: to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
NASB: so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons and daughters.
CSB: to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
NLT: God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
KJV: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
NKJV: to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
Verse Commentary:
Christ has come, and with Him the opportunity to be freed from the curse of the law. In the previous verse, Paul said that God sent His Son at the exact right moment in human history to be born to a human woman.

As fully God and fully human, what was Christ's mission on earth? Paul reports that He came to redeem those under that law. The word translated as "redeem" is from the Greek root word exagorazo. This is the same word used to buy a slave out of bondage. That's why Jesus came: to buy those who believe in Him out of our bondage to the requirements of the law, and the out of the curse that comes with the law, because we could not keep the law perfectly. We were literally slaves to our own sinfulness with no hope of escape.

Christ didn't redeem us just to set us free to wander on our own, however. He came to redeem us so that we can be adopted into God's family. Through faith in Christ, we not only escape the need to follow the works of the law endlessly with no hope of ever escaping our sin. We also find a home and family as children of God the Father. We find forgiveness from sin and belonging with God.

Paul will soon ask why the liberated children of God would ever want to go back to living in slavery under the law.
Verse Context:
Galatians 4:1–7 paints the picture of the heir of a wealthy son, who remains without freedom himself until he actually receives his inheritance. This corresponds to the customs of the time, when even wealthy children lived under the control of teachers and guardians. Paul insists that the crucial day has already come for all who trust in Christ. We are no longer under the supervision of the law of Moses. Christ has bought us out of slavery and into God's family. In Him, Christians are adopted as full children—we are God's heirs. We are given the Holy Spirit, making it possible to call Him our ''Abba,'' meaning ''Father.''
Chapter Summary:
In this chapter, Paul uses three new methods to teach his Galatian readers an important lesson. It is futile to follow the law of Moses in order to be made right before God, since justification comes only by faith in Christ. First, Paul shows that the arrival of Christ made it possible for all people to become God's children through faith in Him. Next, Paul makes a more personal appeal, asking what has changed to cause the Galatians to turn on Paul's teaching of the gospel. Finally, Paul builds an allegory from Scripture, illustrating the difference between being born into slavery and being born into the promise by faith in Christ.
Chapter Context:
Galatians 3 ends with Paul stating, once more, that those who are in Christ are Abraham's offspring, just as He is, making us heirs along with Him. Galatians 4 continues that idea, showing how Christ's arrival signaled the moment all people could receive the inheritance with Him and be adopted as God's children. Paul makes his appeal personal, asking why the Galatians moved from blessing him to rejecting the message of Christ. The chapter ends with Paul's allegory about the difference between being born into slavery under the law and being born into freedom by the power of the Spirit through faith in Christ. Chapter 5 will continue by expanding on the freedom we have in Christ.
Book Summary:
Galatians is sometimes called “a short Romans” for its similar themes of justification and sanctification through faith. A group of Christians known as “Judaizers” were preaching a gospel of legalism, rather than grace. Paul’s main purpose in writing the letter to the Galatians was to reiterate the true nature of the gospel: we are justified (made righteous) and sanctified (made more Christlike) through our faith in Jesus Christ alone. This letter was probably written shortly before the church elders in Jerusalem issued their official refutation of the Judaizers, commonly called the Jerusalem Council.
Accessed 6/22/2024 7:09:54 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.