Galatians 4:5
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
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(5) To redeem them that were under the law.—To redeem, or ransom, at the price of His death, both Jew and Gentile at once from the condemnation under which the law, to which they were severally subject, placed them, and also from the bondage and constraint which its severe discipline involved.

That we might receive the adoption of sons.—Redemption is followed by adoption. The admission of the believer into the Messianic kingdom, with its immunities from sin and from law, implies an admission into the Messianic family, of which God is the Father and Christ the Eldest Son, “first born amongst many brethren.”

4:1-7 The apostle deals plainly with those who urged the law of Moses together with the gospel of Christ, and endeavoured to bring believers under its bondage. They could not fully understand the meaning of the law as given by Moses. And as that was a dispensation of darkness, so of bondage; they were tied to many burdensome rites and observances, by which they were taught and kept subject like a child under tutors and governors. We learn the happier state of Christians under the gospel dispensation. From these verses see the wonders of Divine love and mercy; particularly of God the Father, in sending his Son into the world to redeem and save us; of the Son of God, in submitting so low, and suffering so much for us; and of the Holy Spirit, in condescending to dwell in the hearts of believers, for such gracious purposes. Also, the advantages Christians enjoy under the gospel. Although by nature children of wrath and disobedience, they become by grace children of love, and partake of the nature of the children of God; for he will have all his children resemble him. Among men the eldest son is heir; but all God's children shall have the inheritance of eldest sons. May the temper and conduct of sons ever show our adoption; and may the Holy Spirit witness with our spirits that we are children and heirs of God.To redeem them - By his death as an atoning sacrifice; see the note at Galatians 3:13.

Them that were under the law - Sinners, who had violated the Law, and who were exposed to its dread penalty.

That we might receive the adoption of sons - Be adopted as the sons or the children of God; see John 1:12, note; Romans 8:15, note.

5. To—Greek, "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].

This makes it appear, that Christ’s being under the law must be understood as well of the moral as of the ceremonial law, that is, subject to the precepts of it, as well as to the curse of it; for if the end of this being born under the law, was to redeem those that were under it, that he had not reached by being merely under the ceremonial law; for the Gentiles were not under that law, but only under the moral law; and they also were to be redeemed, and to receive the great privilege of

adoption, or rather, the rights of adopted children; which (some think) is to be understood here, rather than what is strictly to be understood by the term of adoption, viz. a right to be called and to be the sons of God. Others, by adoption, understand that full state of liberty of which the apostle had been before speaking, in opposition to that state of childhood and nonage in which believers were until the times of the gospel; for, Galatians 5:1, we shall find that that was a liberty wherewith Christ made us free: and indeed this last sense seemeth best to agree with what the apostle had before said, Galatians 4:1-3, though the other senses are not to be excluded.

To redeem them that were under the law,.... By whom are meant chiefly the Jews, who are elsewhere represented as in and under the law, in distinction from the Gentiles who were without it; see Romans 2:12 the Gentiles indeed, though they were not under the law of Moses, yet were not without law to God, they were under the law of nature. The law was given to Adam as a covenant of works, and not to him as a single person, but as a federal head to all his posterity; hence he sinning, and they in him, they all came under its sentence of condemnation and death, God's elect not excepted, and who are the persons said to be redeemed; for Christ was not sent to redeem all that were under the law; for as all mankind were included in it as a covenant of works made with Adam, and all are transgressors of it, the whole world is pronounced guilty before God by it, and liable to the curse of it; but not all mankind, only some out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation, are redeemed by Christ, even all the elect, whether among Jews or Gentiles. The chosen among the Jews seem to be here principally designed; the redemption of them, which is the end of Christ's being sent, intends not only a deliverance of them from sin and Satan, and the world, to whom they were in bondage, but from the law under which they were; from the bondage of the ceremonial, and from the curse and condemnation of the moral law:

that we might receive the adoption of children; by which may be meant, both the grace, blessing, and privilege of adoption, and the inheritance adopted to; both are received, and that in consequence of redemption by Christ; and such as receive the one will also receive the other. Adoption, as a blessing of grace, exists before it is received; nor does the reception of it add anything to the thing itself; it was in God's designation from all eternity, who predestinated his chosen ones unto it by Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will; it was provided, laid up, and secured for them in the everlasting covenant; and is part of that grace given them in Christ before the world began; but sin intervening, whereby the law was broken, obstacles were thrown in the way of God's elect receiving and enjoying this privilege in their own persons; wherefore Christ was sent to redeem them from sin and the law, and by so doing remove these obstructions, that so they might receive this privilege in a way consistent with the righteousness and holiness of God, as well as with his grace and goodness: receiving of it shows it to be a gift, a free grace gift, and not owing to any merit of the creature; faith is the hand which receives it, as it does all other blessings, as Christ himself, grace out of his fulness, righteousness, pardon, &c. and has no more causal influence on this than on any of these; faith does not make any the sons of God, or put them among the children; but receives the power, the authority, the privilege from God through Christ, under the witnessings of the spirit of adoption; whereby they become such, and have a right to the heavenly inheritance, which they shall hereafter enjoy.

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the {e} adoption of sons.

(e) The adoption of the sons of God is from everlasting, but is revealed and shown in the time appointed for it.

Galatians 4:5. The object for which God sent forth His Son, and sent Him indeed γενόμ. ἐκ γυναικ., γενόμ. ὑπὸ νόμον.

τοὺς ὑ̔πὸ νόμον] The Israelites are thus designated in systematic correspondence to the previous γενόμ. ὑπὸ νόμον. Comp. Galatians 3:25, Galatians 4:21, Galatians 5:18; Romans 6:14.

ἐξαγοράσῃ] Namely, as follows from τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον, from the dominion of the law, Galatians 4:1-3 (in which its curse, Galatians 3:11, is included), and that through His death, Galatians 3:13. Erasmus well says: “dato pretio assereret in libertatem.”

ἵνα τὴν υἱοθεσ. ἀπολάβ.] The aim of this redemption; for of this negative benefit the υἱοθεσία was the immediate positive consequence. But Paul could not again express himself in the third person, because the υἱοθεσία had been imparted to the Gentiles also, whereas that redemption referred merely to the Jews; but now both, Jews and Gentiles, after having attained the υἱοθεσία no longer ὑπὸ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου ἦσαν δεδουλωμένοι (Galatians 4:3): hence Paul, in the first person of the second sentence of purpose, speaks from the consciousness of the common faith which embraced both the Jewish and the Gentile portions of the Christian body, not merely from the Jewish-Christian consciousness, as Hofmann holds on account of ἐστέ in Galatians 4:6. Comp. the change of persons in Galatians 3:14.

The υἱοθεσία is here, as it always is, adoption (see on Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15; and Fritzsche, in loc.),—a meaning which is wrongly denied by Usteri, as the signification of the word allows no other interpretation, and the context requires no other. Previously not different from slaves (Galatians 4:1-3), as they were in the state of νηπιότης, believers have now entered into the entirely different legal relation towards God of their being adopted by Him as children. Comp. Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 338 f. The divine begetting (to which Hofmann refers) is a Johannean view; see on John 1:12. In the divine economy of salvation the gracious gift of the υἱοθεσία was needed in order to attain the κληρονομία; while in the human economy, which serves as the figure, the heir-apparent becomes at length heir as a matter of course. Accordingly Paul has not given up (Wieseler) the figure on which Galatians 4:1 ff. was based—a view at variance with the express application in Galatians 4:3, and the uninterrupted continuation of the same in Galatians 4:4; but he has merely had recourse to such a free modification in the application, as was suggested to him by the certainly partial difference between the real circumstances of the case and the figure set forth in Galatians 4:1-2. Comp. Galatians 4:7.

ἀπολάβ.] not: that we might again receive, as is the meaning of ἀπολαμβ. very often in Greek authors (see especially Dem. 78. 3; 162. 17), and in Luke 15:27; for before Christ men never possessed the υἱοθεσία here referred to (although the old theocratic adoption of the Jews was never lost, Romans 9:4): hence Augustine and others are in error when they look back to the sonship that was lost in Adam. Nor must we assume with Chrysostom, Theophylact, Bengel, and others, including Baumgarten-Crusius, Hofmann, and Reithmayr, that, because the υἱοθεσία is promised, it is denoted by ἀπολάβ. as ὀφειλομένη,—a sense which is often conveyed by the context in Greek authors and also in the N.T. (Luke 6:34; Luke 23:41; Romans 1:27; Colossians 3:24; 2 John 1:8), but not here, because it is not the υἱοθεσία expressly, but the κληρονομία (Galatians 3:29, Galatians 4:7), which is the object of the promise. As little can we say, with Rückert and Schott, that the sonship is designated as fruit (ἀπο = inde) of the work of redemption, or, with Wieseler, as fruit of the death of Jesus apprehended by faith: for while it certainly is so in point of fact, the verb could not lead to it without some more precise indication in the text than that given by the mere ἐξαγορ. On the contrary, ἀπολάβ. simply denotes: to take at the hands of any one, to receive, as Luke 16:25; Plat. Legg. xii p. 956 D, and very frequently in Greek authors.

Galatians 4:5. ἵναἵνα. These two final clauses couple together two gracious purposes of God in the scheme of redemption, (1) the obliteration of a guilty past, (2) divine adoption with the blessings which sonship entails. The description under Law includes Gentiles as well as Jews: for though they had not the Law, they were not without Law to God (cf. Romans 2:14 …): they have indeed been expressly specified in Galatians 3:14 as included in the redemption from the curse of the Law.—ἀπολάβωμεν. This verb denotes receiving back, as ἀποδιδόναι does giving back (cf. Luke 19:8): accordingly it describes the adoption in Christ as a restoration of the original birthright, withheld throughout many generations for the sake of necessary discipline.

5. Born under the law, our Blessed Lord not only in His most holy life fulfilled all the commandments of the law, but in His death He satisfied its conditions by bearing its penalty, and redeeming us from its curse; born of a woman, He became the Head and representative of the human race, that in Him we might become sons of God. Possibly the wider rendering ‘under law’ may be correct, in which case the redemption includes expressly what it does by implication—all mankind.

the adoption of sons] Men become sons of God by adoption; Christ is the Son of God by eternal generation.

Galatians 4:5. Ἵνα τοὺς, κ.τ.λ.—ἵνα τὴν, that—that) An Anaphora.[33] The first that is to be referred to made under the law: therefore the second has respect to born of a woman. There is a Chiasmus very much resembling this, at Ephesians 3:16; Ephesians 5:25-26, which see with the annot. Christ, in the similitude of our condition, made our condition good; in the similitude of our nature, He made us the sons of God: γενόμενον is repeated, giving force to the meaning, He might have been born of a woman (γενέσθαι ἐκ γυναικὸς), and yet not have been made under the law (γενέσθαι ὑπὸ νόμον); but yet He was born of a woman (ἐγένετο ὲκ γυναικὸς), that He might be made under the law. The first γενόμενον, made, with the addition of ἐκ γυναικὸς, of a woman, takes (adopts) the meaning, being born.—ἐξαγοράσῃ, might redeem) from slavery to liberty.—τὴν υἱοθεσίαν, the adoption) the dignity of sons, a privilege in which those who are of age delight, along with the actual enjoyment [usufructu] of the inheritance.—ἀπολάβωμεν) we might receive; ἀπὸ shows the suitableness[34] of the thing, which has been long ago predestined by God.

[33] Append. The frequent repetition of the same words to mark beginnings.—ED.

[34] Ἀπὸ in the compound expresses often something appropriate or due.—ED.

Verse 5. - To redeem them that were under the Law (ἵνα τοὺς ὑπὸ νόμον ἐξαγοράσῃ); that he might redeem (Greek, buy off) them which were under the Law. In what way Christ bought God's people off, not only from the curse, but also from the dominion of the Law, has been stated by the apostle above, at Galatians 3:13, "Christ bought us off (Ξριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν) from the curse of the Law by being made on our behalf a curse" (see note). But why, in order to effect this object, was it prerequisite, as it is here implied that it was, that he should be himself "brought under the Law"? The directions which the Law in Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 gave with respect to those "hanged on a tree" were apparently held by Joshua (Joshua 8:29; Joshua 10:26, 27) to apply also to the case of persons so hanged who were not Israelites. If so, does it not follow (an objector may say) that Jesus, even if not an Israelite under the Law, would, however, by being crucified, have fallen under the curse of the Law, and thereby annihilated the Law for all who by faith should become partakers with him, whether Jews or Gentiles? why, then, should be have been brought under the Law? The objection is met by the consideration that, in order that Christ might abrogate the Law by becoming subject to its curse, it was necessary that he should himself be perfectly acceptable to God, not only as being the eternal "Son of his love," but also in the entire completeness of his life as a man, and, therefore, by perfect obedience to the will of God as declared in the Law, under which it had pleased God to place his people. The Law, whatever the degradation which its ceremonial institute inferred for "the sons of God" subjected to it, was, nevertheless, for the time, God's manifest ordinance, to which all who sought to serve him were bound to submit them° selves. They could not be righteous before him unless they walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless (Luke 1:6). That we might receive the adoption of sons (i%na th\n υἱοθεσίαν ἀπολάβωμεν); that is, that our adoptive sonship might be actually and in full measure made over to us. The" we" recites God's people; the same persons as those indicated by the preceding phrase, "those which were under the Law," which phrase was not meant to define one particular class among God's people, but to describe the condition in which God's people had been placed. Their Father had put them under the Law with the view of their being at his appointed time bought off from the Law and admitted to the full enjoyment of their filial privileges. This purpose of their Father, signified beforehand in the promises to Abraham, explains the article before υἱοθεσίαν: it was the adoptive sonship which had been guaranteed to them. Hence the use here of the verb ἀπολάβωμεν instead of λάβωμεν: for the prepositional prefix of this compound verb has always its force; generally denoting our receiving a thing in some way due to us, answering to its force in the verb ἀποδίδωμι, repay: sometimes our receiving a thing in full measure (comp. Luke 6:34, 35; Luke 16:25; Luke 18:30; Luke 23:41; Romans 1:27; Colossians 3:24 2John 8). In Luke 15:27 it is receiving back one lost. The second ἵνα is subordinate to the first; the deliverance of God's people from the Law was in order to their introduction into their complete state of sonship. The noun υἱοθεσία does not appear to occur in any Greek writer except St. Paul; though θέσθαι υἱόν υἱὸς θετός, υἱόθετος ὁ κατὰ θέσιν πατήρ, are found in various authors. After the analogy of other compound verbal nouns with a similar termination (ὁρκωμοσία ἀγωνοθεσία θεσμοθεσία, etc.), it means first the act of adoption, as, perhaps, Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:5; and then, quite naturally, the consequent condition of the adopted child, as in Romans 8:15; Romans 9:4; and this seems its more prominent sense here. Romans 9:4 suggests the surmise that the term had been in use before among Palestinian Jews, with reference to Israel's state under the theocracy, and that St. Paul borrowed it thence with reference to the Christian Church, in which it found a more complete realization. Galatians 4:5To redeem (ἵνα ἐξαγοράσῃ)

See on Galatians 3:13. To redeem from the dominion and curse of the law. The means of redemption is not mentioned. It cannot be merely the birth of Christ of a woman and under the law. These are mentioned only as the preliminary and necessary conditions of his redeeming work. The means or method appears in Galatians 3:13.

We might receive (ἀπολάβωμεν)

Not receive again or back, as Luke 15:27, for adoption was something which men did not have before Christ; but receive from the giver.

The adoption (τὴν υἱοθεσίαν)

Po. See on Romans 8:15, and comp. Romans 9:4; Ephesians 1:5. Not sonship, but sonship conferred.

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