Abba Father: Galatians 4:1-7
“1) Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2) but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3) So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5) so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6) Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7) Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭4:1-7‬ ‭
Paul now uses an illustration that was common in both Jewish and secular culture back in his days. A son was placed under guardians and tutors to oversee their education. These guardians had significant authority or jurisdiction over the child and assumed responsibility for them until the time appointed by the father. This was often to the age of fourteen.
Some cultures practiced a tutor until age fourteen and then a guardian or manager would take charge until around age twenty- two. Royalty was often mentored in this fashion. While under this arrangement, the guardian had full authority over the child until the time appointed by the father.
At the appointed time, the child became the full legal heir of the father. It was often accompanied by an elaborate ceremony. At that point the child officially stepped into adulthood and began his own journey through life, often as a co-owner in the family business.
In this text, Paul points out the Law was intended to fill that role for Israel. At the right time, Christ came to redeem Israel and adopt them by faith into the family of God. With salvation, the Father sends the Holy Spirit into our heart and we begin to cry “Abba Father!” That means, “Dear Daddy.”
Paul argues that once the Messiah came, the Guardianship of the Law over Israel was fulfilled. It was time for faith and Salvation. It was time to become children of God through the gospel and walk by the Spirit. A new relationship with God was ushered in. It was time for a change.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global