Galatians 4:5

5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[a]

Galatians 4:5 in Other Translations

KJV
5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
ESV
5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
NLT
5 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.
MSG
5 Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage.
CSB
5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Galatians 4:5 Meaning and Commentary

Galatians 4:5

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 ) ( 1 Corinthians 9:20 1 Corinthians 9:21 ) 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.

Galatians 4:5 In-Context

3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”
7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Cross References 3

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Greek word for "adoption to sonship" is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture.