But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born* of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of* God through Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatian church explaining further the importance of their salvation through Jesus Christ and how God's grace, which is far superior to the keeping of the Law played a major role in their salvation process. Being Gentiles, (non-Jews) many were now part of the family of God benefactors of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by their acceptance of the redemption process through HIM, Paul in defending their new faith against the Judaizers explains how they were "grafted" into the Family of God through "adoption."
This exposition on "Adoption" explains God actions in the behalf of those of us who were saved and redeemed. In the adoption process, God restores the believer back to their “family status” in the family of God with all of the rights and privileges of everyone else in the family. There are 2 things required of that person for this action on the part of God to take place. First of all, that person must be repent. Secondly, the person must be believe in the redemption work of Jesus did on the cross. In Galatians chapter 4 and verse 5, Paul tells us that the end of that redemptive process is “adoption”. That is, God reclaims us from the curse that our “sin nature” placed upon us before we reconciled our “natural state” to him by accepting Jesus Christ. God gives us the rights of “heirs”, and God claims us as his “sons”. Jesus as our Savior becomes our" divine big brother". Being called his sons doesn’t detract from the deity or sovereignty of God’s or Jesus. Jesus promised not to deny us before God because we have accepted him as our Messiah.
The redemptive actions of both God and Jesus are looked upon in the same manner as we would look at the adoption of a child into another human family. The “adopted” child takes on the last name of the adoptive parents. In similar manner, we take on a new relationship with God and with Jesus Christ. In this new relationship we have with the Father and Jesus. As our divine parent, God guards us, guides, protects, and provides for us. As adopted children, God reminds all of us that we are no longer under the law but we are now under his grace and his mercy. We are covered by grace and mercy all of the days of our lives from that time forth. Our adoption into the family of God is part of the prophetic fulfillment God proclaimed in the book of Isaiah. God said in Isaiah 43: 19 that he would do a “new thing”. Part of that “new thing” was to offer salvation to the Gentiles as well as his own “chosen” people the Jews, thus forming the church. There are several things that we need to remember about the adoption.
A. Adoption comes by the grace of God. We receive that adoption through our faith in the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
B. Adoption liberated us from “spiritual” paternal legalism. What this means is we have paternally divorce the devil as our father and accepted God as our new “spiritual father.” For this reason, we can now cry “Abba-father to God.
C. Adoption is our evidence of the “new birth”. As a result of the new birth, we have been claimed as “sons” and are “heirs” and even “joint heirs” with Jesus Christ. This means that as the bible puts it: “we are the “Sons” of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be.” It also means that we have just begun to see all of the things that God has in store for us now that we love and have accepted him as our father in heaven. Adoption “liberates” us from the “sin” debt that Adam had passed upon us. This means that we are no longer under “bondage” to the penalty, and the power of sin, nor are we bond servants to sin either.
D. Adoption is the affirmation and recognition of our "son-ship" with God. As an integral part of the Christian faith, our affirmation, our behavior and commitment to Jesus Christ should show that we are so filled with his spirit, that in all of our actions, we are so united with him that his spirit takes over us in such a manner that we not only know but we address God in that same manner that Jesus himself would.
E. Adoption means that we are “justified” by faith. Justification starts that process of sanctification whereby the Holy Spirit now is our guide and he is guiding us to learn the truth about God and what he expects of each one of us now that we have been adopted.
Concerning Ministerial (Pastoral) Support
Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What* then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.
Paul in the following passage emphasized the importance of how the congregation should respect and treat the man of God. He conveys to them at least 5 things a parishioner must do to show support not just by mouth, (giving lip service) but in what they actually do as well.
1. God requires us to be obedient to those ministers (pastors and teachers) who have rule (authority) over us and be submissive to the authority he has given them as well. God has given the minister a “caretaker” status over our very souls. God gave the minister the charge of preaching and teaching the word of God. The pastor also has the responsibility of counseling the flock, burying the deceased family members of the flock, encouraging, rebuking and reproving members. The less trouble a member of the flock gives the minister/pastor, the more effective that minister /pastor can be in the administration of all the sacred duties that God has placed upon him. It also allows him to carry out his job with joy and enthusiasm to the glory of God. Every parishioner must understand that the calling of the pastorate transcends that member. It includes the community also.
2. The minister should be treated as a brother/sister and a fellow laborer. Even though their primary role within the structure of the church of God is different than that of everybody else, they oversee their roles as well. Sometimes, we forget that he is still a human being and has feelings just like we do. This means that he has the same basic struggles as anyone else in the flock. Just because he is a minister, this makes him no different than anyone else. It does mean however that he has a lot more responsibility than anyone else in the church of God. It also goes without saying that as parishioners, even minister have to recognize those ministers who are true to the faith and even those who are not. When trouble comes, the minister will need our support, even our prayers and physical presence to quell the satanic drama that will ensue.
3. The minister needs to be truly welcomed to the congregation. They need to be warmly embraced by the flock. In our actions, we must let the minister know that they are truly loved and we are constantly praying for their welfare and well being. The minister needs to know through our actions that they are in our eyes a person that is sent to us by God to minister and we will in term respond the right way to they preaching and teaching, especially because they tell us the truth about God.
4. Regardless to their preaching style, (some are more dogmatic in their presentation of God’s word than others) we are not to be critical of his work. There may be times when the minister is stricken and afflicted in body and in spirit. We must also remember that we too sometimes might be in the same conditions ourselves, and in those times, we would hope that we aren’t “abandoned” nor “looked down upon” ourselves.
5. The parishioners must recognize the true ministers and those who are not. Expect the “rumor mill” to run rampart against your pastor. The minister still has to embrace those that spitefully use, persecute and swear falsely against him. When trouble comes, the minister will need our support, even our prayers and physical presence to quell the satanic drama that will ensue.
Now Concerning False Prophets, Preachers and Teachers:
Paul gave further defense against the Judaizers, calling them "false teachers." He challenges the Galatian church to uphold the faith and stand against every false teacher, regardless of their office. He reminded them that we have a sacred obligation as Christians and ministers to stand strong against false teachings and all false teachers that infiltrate our congregations and ranks. Whenever we encounter one who has truly turned out to be a false preacher or teacher, we have 2 bold obligations concerning them:
First, we are to guard against them. We can guard against them in the following ways:
1 If we are ministers and teachers ourselves, we must examine ourselves to see if we are genuine, that is theologically sound and educationally valid in what we preach and teach. We must make sure that what we preach and teach is Holy Spirit led and are “truth” teachings contained in the bible and not erroneous in any way.
All of us who make up the various Christian congregations have been indoctrinated with the world’s philosophy prior to our salvation.. Some of us were introduced to false doctrines that came from denominational churches that deviated from God’s sound principles, precepts and truths. 1 Corinthians 13:12a states:”We all see through a glass darkly”, so it’s imperative that we totally submit to the function of the Holy Spirit and dedicate ourselves to study the Word of God continually. We must both reject and discard all false teaching. Then we must correct any falsehoods we have preached or taught while in error. Then, we must from that point on live by and embrace the true word of God teaching the same way God taught it; believing God’s explanations, disregarding the explanations and teachings of men as we strive to mature in the faith. (2 Timothy 2:15)
2. We must make sure that we are theologically sound and educationally valid in our teaching and preaching methods. This does not just apply to what we preach or teach, but this includes our personal philosophies, moral values, etc. all must be in line with God’s principles, precepts and values. We must all speak the same thing, teach God’s word correctly, not adding any man made doctrines to it, nor taking anything God said away from it.
3. Be aware that some false teachers may not be even aware that they are falsely teaching. Some preachers and teachers simply go about what they have been accustomed to doing the way they have been accustomed to doing it.
Sometimes, the false teacher or preacher fits the description given in Matthew Chapter 7 and verse 17; they appear to be sheep, but inside in their hearts, they are in reality “ravenous “wolves”. Jesus said that we shall know them by their works. (fruits) Many preach the gospel to you but don’t even believe the Gospel themselves. Many privately worship other gods and deities, practicing idolatry. Some even belong to "secret societies" that have their own lascivious forms of worship, yet publically they sound as if they worship the true and living god Jehovah.. They lean to their own private understanding of what God word says and refuse to seek God through prayer and meditation concerning his word. These false teachers also fall in the category of starting out on the true path but eventually wander off into paths of darkness.
4. Remember that every false teacher possesses the “spirit of antichrist”. This means that the false teacher teaches against all true bible doctrines concerning Jesus Christ, especially those pertaining to his “son-ship”, he being the true messiah, the virgin birth, as well as his death, burial and bodily resurrection.
This means, that the doctrines and godless philosophies they will teach will not agree with the gospel of Jesus Christ, it also means that whatever they convey to the people to adopt as doctrines to guide their personal lives cannot center upon living a true “godly” life either. The false teacher will add to, twisting God’s word to mislead the hearers in a blatant attempt to steer a person away from those things that Christ taught and steer them toward man-made philosophies, heresies, new trends of thought, self reliance techniques; dependence upon all secular life doctrines designed to build up the egos of men, causing men to believe that they are wiser (in their own eyes) than God, acting self reliant and self serving, moving away from the bible as their guide and from Christ as the only way to be saved.
5. We must recognize that the false teacher or minister minds have been corrupted and all of them have become destitute of the truth of God. Whatever they attempt to teach of preach in a congregation will not cast a positive light on the gospel nor on our Savior Jesus Christ. They will make every attempt to discredit Christ, the Bible, the virgin birth, the trinity God as self existent and so on.
Lastly, we are to reject them. We have a Biblical and moral obligation to guard the heart of every believers in the church by openly rejecting those who seek to corrupt the hearts and minds of believers. We can do reject them in the following ways:
1. We are not to be seduced by the demonic spirits that fuel the lies and false prophecies that come forth from their mouths. Once we recognize the false teacher, we are to immediately cease from giving them our ears to hear their falsehoods . We are not to have “itching ears” and veer away from the truth by having ears to hear what the false teachers and ministers are saying. We are to simply to (a.) refuse to listen to them from that point,( b.) refuse to attend any teaching conferences that allows them to teach and (c.) warn others of the heresies they are conveying.
2. We are to bring them into question. We have an obligation to ourselves and to the rest of the believers to guard the spiritual “sanity” of the church.
According to Matthew Chapter 18, if we have a dispute with anyone (in this case the false teacher), we are to approach them at least twice to rectify this serious matter. We do this in love and for the purpose of that false teacher(s) to repent and rectify these hideous acts against God’s Word. If by the 3rd attempt we are unsuccessful, we are to publicly reject them and expel them from the congregation especially if they are licensed and or ordained ministers in the church as well as denounce their acts of heresy. At any time that person repents and comes before the church with a repentant heart, we are to restore them to the fellowship. It doesn’t mean that we restore them to teaching right away. It means that if they are to teach, they must be retrained and correct all doctrinal error.
3. We are to also reject every false teaching and heresy. We are to reject any teacher or minister who doesn’t teach godliness as a way of life. We are to reject any teacher or minister that rejects the words of Jesus Christ in any manner. Usually most ministers or teachers whose actions falls into the above categories are on the mission field for selfish gain. The self serving purposes can fall into these categories: quest for power, quest for prestige, or a quest to use the ministry as a money making career or scheme.
Dr. William Edward Boddie