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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Galatians 3:25-29 by Robert Dean
Duration:1 hr 10 mins 13 secs

Adoption, Bapt. HS, Our Incredible Spiritual Life; Gal. 3:25-29

Gal 3:27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Gal 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.

The process of spiritual growth is a length process, it is a time consuming process, and it is a slow process. It is a process of renovating our thinking. To renovate our thinking according to Romans 12:1, 2 takes a tremendous amount of time, mental energy, and cognitive sweat. These are not values held dear by the common Christian today. They would much rather go to church where they have 30 minutes of singing, a 20-minute sermonette, focusing on giving somehow some little tid-bit to take home and apply this afternoon. The trouble is, that produces anaemic Christians who have no endurance, no persistence and no comprehension of what God has provided for us or how to live the spiritual life. So when we come to passages like Galatians chapter three the messages go right by them or the pastors or teachers don't even take the time to understand the dynamics that are going on in the passage.

A certain seminary professor was one day bemoaning the fact that it had been years since he had been in a Bible church where the Sunday morning message focused on doctrine.

Comment: If you are not getting any kind of doctrine, even basic doctrine related to salvation, on a Sunday morning in a Bible church you are not going to get it anywhere in the country. You will get a lot of biblical talk, quotation from a lot of Scriptures and a lot of application; but if you have application without understanding the framework, that which undergirds the application, then that translates into nothing but morality. You have to understand the dynamics that underlie the passage.  

One student in class raised is hand after the professor had given his little discourse on teaching doctrine in church and said: "Well, I don't think we can all be like Dr So and so." The person he mentioned was one of the most popular radio teachers today who has written forty of fifty books and was well-known—right and biblically orthodox and correct but was very shallow and superficial—and if any good student of the Word heard him they wouldn't think he was teaching any doctrine at all.

That is how said things are today. What people think of as being a doctrinal message is so far from being a doctrinal message that it doesn't even come close to being a message.

We are in a passage today where all kinds of doctrines come together. We need to step back briefly and get the context. From Galatians 3:19 down through verse 25 the apostle Paul is making an argument for the temporary nature of the Mosaic Law. This is something that very few Christians have understood throughout the years. They have consistently gone back to the Mosaic Law as the basis for living the spiritual life, and the Mosaic Law has nothing to do with the spiritual life. That is the point of Galatians. The Mosaic Law, as we have seen, is temporary and it is inferior. It is inferior because it was given through inferior mediators as opposed to the new covenant which was established by the mediator Jesus Christ who is fully God and fully man. Second, it was inferior because it was never designed to impart life. It was never designed to provide salvation. Its purpose was to imprison all men under sin. It showed that it was absolutely impossible for man to keep the law, therefore all are condemned by the Mosaic Law.

From Galatians 3:23 and extending down through 4:11 the apostle Paul communicates the principles by way of an illustration, an analogy. In this analogy he mixes three different metaphors: one based on slavery, one based on the principle of a pedagogue, and one based on adoption. What do these three things have in common? All three apply to the social structure of the family in Roman society. If we can't understand what took place in Roman society we can't appreciate what Paul is talking about here.             

Galatians 3:26 NASB "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." This word "sons" is important. There are a number of different words in the Greek for "child" or for "son." There is the word teknon [teknon] which could mean child or son or offspring, it has a variety of meanings and can cover the entire range from birth to the adult son. This is not the word that Paul is using here. Here he uses the word huios [u(ioj], the same word that is used to describe Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It means an adult son. So there is a very important point that Paul is making here about adulthood versus childhood in relation to the Roman family. To summarize verses 26-29 Paul is saying, "You Galatians," i.e. you are Gentiles. Notice there is a shift. He said back in verse 23, "But before faith came," using the term "faith" as shorthand for the whole phrase that he states in verse 22, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe." The promise: v. 14, "that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." So when we see the word "promise" in this chapter and in chapter four we have to go back to that third section in the Abrahamic covenant, the promise of blessing through the Jews to all the Gentiles. This is the blessing of salvation and in the context of Galatians Paul is applying that to the whole doctrine of justification by faith alone. This is the promise, that there is justification by faith alone, salvation for Jew and Gentile alike. Galatians 3:23 NASB "But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed." Who is the "we" there? It is a first person plural referring to Jews. Paul is looking at the history of salvation" "we Jews" from Moses to the cross were under the law, imprisoned by the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.    

Galatians 3:26 NASB "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." There is a shift here from "we" to "you." The "you" is referring specifically to the Galatians, but they are Gentiles in contrast to the Jews. Why is there a shift here? In the Greek there is the postpositive particle gar [gar] here. It always introduces an explanation. Many times it can be translated "because." The best solution to the question is that Paul is moving very quickly and there is something left out but clearly implied between verses 25 and 26. Verse 25, "But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor [a pedagogue]." A pedagogue was a slave owned by the father and his job was to take care of the young son and provide restraints on his behaviour. He was to teach him good manners and how to act as an adult. He was his escort through life, to take him to school and to bring him home. He is not just simply a tutor. He was to oversee the life of this child and under Roman custom the son was nothing better than a slave to the father. He has no rights, no privileges whatsoever. The analogy to the Mosaic Law was that the Mosaic Law was designed to control the behaviour of Israel, to protect them from their own sin, to restrain criminality within the nation and idolatry infestation of the nation from outside. It was to teach them how to behave in their relationship to God and to one another, and to prepare them for the coming of the promise which in the analogy is adulthood. If we look at in terms of salvation history it was moving from infancy throughout the Mosaic Law period to adulthood. Paul is saying now that faith has come, now that the promise has been fulfilled, we Jews are no longer under a pedagogue. Anyone living in the Roman empire would understand that from birth to age fourteen a child was under a pedagogue, but on his fourteenth birthday this child became an adult [a huios]. At that point he has all the rights and privileges of adulthood and he is now in control of the slave and no longer under the slave.

The implication of Paul's argument is: If we Jews are no longer under the Mosaic Law what makes you think Gentiles are under the law? In summary, what he is saying in these four verses is: Since you Gentiles are adult sons, adopted into the royal family of God through the baptism by means of the Holy Spirit, all previous spiritual distinctions are erased and you Gentiles now belong to Christ, and so also are Abraham's seed, and equal heirs of the Abrahamic promise and not under the law. The point if verse 26 is that Gentiles receive adoption into the royal family of God at the instant of faith alone in Christ alone, and positionally are viewed as adult sons. Because of our position "in Christ" we have an incredible array of spiritual assets. In Christ we are viewed as adult sons, joint heirs with Christ.  

The doctrine of adoption (The word for adoption is not used here [huiothesia/u(ioqesia]; it is used in 4:5)


1.  The practice of adoption is used in the Bible as an illustration of the new position of the believer in reference to God. Adoption in the ancient world was very different from adoption today. Adoption in the ancient world, especially in Rome, related to adulthood and inheritance. Under the Roman concept of adoption Paul emphasises the authority and the preservation of the family lineage, and there is an emphasis on all of the property and position that comes to the adult son. Roman adoption could bring in a slave. By the time the child reaches his majority and he is going to be adopted as an adult son at age fourteen, if he is a loser in life and the father says I am not about to give my inheritance to him, the pedagogue is much better than him, so I am going to adopt the pedagogue and make him my son. Roman adoption emphasised inheritance, not blood relationship, and applied to both the blood son and an unrelated heir.

2.  During his youth the son would wear a toga of youth which indicated his position, that he was still a child and not an adult. On his fourteenth birthday there would be a formal ceremony where the child would be designated an adult son. At that time the father would reach out and undo the clasp on the shoulder of the toga of youth and release it. Then he would take off his toga which was the toga of manhood and he would wrap that around the shoulders of the young man to signify that he was now the official son and heir of the family. If that did not happen then someone else would be designated.

3.  At the time of the ceremony there is a ceremonial purchase or redemption. A price is paid for the son. If the new son, the adopted son, is a slave then the actual purchase price is paid for his freedom. He is therefore redeemed from the slave market. If the person to be adopted is a free man then a ceremonial or symbolic purchase is made to purchase him from the authority of his natural father. The analogy should be obvious, i.e. that we are all born slave in the slave market of sin, and therefore God has paid that purchase price to redeem us with the death of Christ on the cross. The second form of the analogy is that we are under the authority of our sin nature from birth on until regeneration. At regeneration we are freed from the authority (not the presence) of our sin nature. Only by learning Bible doctrine can we have principles to apply to control the power of the sin nature.

4.  Adoption means that the boy, who is now an adult son, has all the rights and privileges of adulthood. He has the right to enter military service, the right to manage his own finances, he can get married, and he can carry out his responsibilities in the Republic of Rome. The child is now no longer under slaves but now commands slaves.

Doctrinal significance

5.  In one analogy Paul uses the child's pedagogue to illustrate the history of salvation relationship of Israel to the law. From the time of the Mosaic Law up to the cross Israel is compared to this child.  Israel is under a slave called the pedagogue [Mosaic Law] and once the child reaches adulthood then that pedagogue no longer has any power or authority whatsoever. 

6.  At adulthood the child now has all the rights and privileges which God has given to the church age believer. We are in the adult stage of spiritual life and have all these privileges and responsibility that God has given us. We have true freedom in Christ. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.

7.  Adoption is one of forty different spiritual blessings which God provides every single believer at the moment of salvation.

8.  Adoption is always related to the believer's position in Christ and his identification with Christ the seed of Abraham and eternal security. In Roman adoption once a child was adopted as the official son or heir that could not be reversed; it was permanent. The same is true in the spiritual life.

9.  Baptism by means of the Holy Spirit enters the believer into union with Christ, and that is the mechanics of adoption. So the process by which the believer is identified with Christ at the moment of salvation is called the baptism by means of the Holy Spirit.

10.  When we enter into union with Christ at the moment of salvation we become adult sons positionally. We are in Christ. Christ is the Son of God, the adult Son. When we are in union with Him we, too, are adult sons.

11.  As such, because we are in union with Christ, we are huios with Him; we are joint heirs with Christ. We have access to all of His wealth and power.

12.  Simultaneously with our eternal relationship and position in Christ we have a temporal relationship with Him. This relates to joint heirship. Our temporal fellowship relates to our inheritance. This is what we do with what we have.

The doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

1.  Definition: The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs once at the moment of salvation when every believer is identified with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection, and is simultaneously created a new spiritual species capable of utilizing divine power. We have all of these assets, forty spiritual things—all of the assets for living the spiritual life. We are placed in permanent union with Jesus Christ; that is what the baptism with the Holy Spirit is all about. This ministry of the Holy Spirit is unique to the church age. It is not ecstatics, emotional, experiential, and is not signified by speaking ion tongues. 

2.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment of salvation for every single believer. It is not an experience or an emotion. It is just like forgiveness, justification, reconciliation. These things all happened the moment we trusted Christ as our saviour. We only understood them later when someone taught us from the Scripture about those doctrines.

3.  Is there one baptism of the Holy Spirit or two?

4.  In the theology of Pentecostalism they say that there are two. Why? If we understand the history of Pentecostalism it grew out of back woods religion in America, out of two or three revivals in the early years where very few, if any, of the major teachers had any formal education, much less formal Bible education. In fact, the Pentecostal movement began on January 1st 1901. A Bible teacher who had very little training of his own had a little Bible college in Topeka, Kansas, and one of his students, Agnes Osmond, suddenly spoke in tongues. Everybody then expected it to be real legitimate languages but when it turned out that it wasn't many people were disillusioned at that point. The Bible teacher then left Topeka and went to Houston, Texas, where he had a classroom. There was a one-eyed black preacher there with no education and no background by the name of William J. Seymore who had to sit out in the hallway to hear what was being taught. Then Seymore was called to a little black "holiness" church in a warehouse in Los Angeles. He started teaching this doctrine that the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes after salvation and that is was signified by speaking in tongues, and everything just broke loose and it spread like wildfire. That is its roots. As a result of that all of their teaching was based on the English text, not the Greek text. So when they read the passages in the English text related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit they saw two different phrases. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 we read: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." Then they read the prophecy of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:11 where John the Baptist said: "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." There's only one problem, and that is that in Greek both phrases (by and with) are identical—en plus the dative of means plus the word for the Holy Spirit, pneumati [e)n pneumati]. It is a dative of means and should be accurately translated, "You will be baptised by means of the Holy Spirit and fire." It is the same phrase in both passages. Because it is the same phrase it is talking about the same event. In the Gospels and Acts the baptism is future (until the day of Pentecost). In 1 Corinthians 12:13 it looks back. This is a common expectation now that every single believer is baptised. In Pentecostal theology 1 Corinthians 12:13 is said to refer to being baptized by the Spirit and that occurs at salvation (some people hold this) and then there is a second baptism which is with the Spirit. But we see from the Greek that they are identical. There is only one baptism by means of the Holy Spirit. Another problem is that in the debate over this there is commonly defined as the following: that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that God the Holy Spirit places the believer into Christ. How is this played out in Matthew 3:11? The same is true for all the other baptism passages. This is the statement that John has made and is stated in Mark and Luke, and restated by Jesus in Acts 1:5. The last phrase is important: "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." The subject is Jesus Christ; the verb is baptize. Notice is it still future tense. He will baptize you by means of…" "Means" here is expressed by the en clause, en plus the dative of means—"by means of the Holy Spirit." The ultimate state, "into Christ," is not mentioned. IN the baptism statement there is a subject, a verb, a direct object, an en clause; and then the final state which is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is indicated by the Greek preposition eis [e)ij] plus the accusative, indicating direction or the final state of baptism. We see this in the first part of Matthew 3:11 where John says, "I baptize by means of water (en houdati /e)n o(oudati) for repentance (eis metanoia/ e)ij metanoia). eis indicates the state and in John's baptism the state was repentance, moving from being non-repentant to being repentant. One other passage for illustration: 1 Corinthians 10:2 NASB "and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." Here we have the subject "all," the verb "baptized," "into [eis /e)ij] Moses…" That is their new place of identification. The significance of baptism is always identification.  By means of what? "…the cloud and in the sea."  They passed through. That is represented by the en clause, "by means of," the parting of the waters of the Red Sea and following the cloud of the Shekinah glory leading them. That indicated their new identification with Moses.

The way that normally we find the baptism of the Holy Spirit defined is that God the Holy Spirit places the believer into the body of Christ. Who is performing the action in that sentence? The Holy Spirit. But what does Matthew say—and Luke and Mark and Acts? When it is prophesied Jesus Christ performs the action and He does it by means of the Holy Spirit. So to be technically correct, to form a definition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ uses the Holy Spirit as the agent to identify the believer with Himself. It is what is called retroactive positional truth and is the topic of the first part of Romans chapter six. Positional truth has to do with our position "in Christ." At the moment we are saved we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. As a result of that and part of that, simultaneously God the Father takes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and imputes that to the believer. That is the basis for our being declared perfect righteousness—justification.             

Galatians 3:26 NASB "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. [27] For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." They have clothed themselves in the perfect righteousness of Christ as an adult son. As a result of that, the old ethnic distinctions under the Mosaic Law don't apply anymore. [28] "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." We all get the same spiritual assets. It doesn't mean that these distinctions are eradicated in reality—men are still men and women are still women, etc. Spiritually it is not an issue because all have the same assets. Conclusion: [29] "And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise"—the promise of the Spirit, the blessing of the Abrahamic covenant; "heirs according to the promise" which is justification by faith alone. It is by faith alone, not by the law; the law no longer applies.