God as Father VS God as Master (Galatians 4:1-7)

God as Father VS God as Master (Galatians 4:1-7)

  • Little boy loves dad, knows 1 word & points a lot
  • Perhaps 2 most important things you learn in Bible 1). Who God is 2). Who you are

Do you belong to Christ?

Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

  • You must be born again (physical vs spiritual)
  • Equivalent – I was born into XN family

Are you a spiritual child or a maturing adult?

Galatians 4:1-2 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.
Roman Empire

  • Kids – beaten, garbage/dung pile – die, slave, prostitute, gladiator
  • Disabled & girls – desert, river, suffocate
  • Infant mortality – ½ kids died by 5 yrs, less 40% lived to 20
  • Wait 8-9 days to name

= The quality of your life depended upon the character of your father

  • People helped raise you (nanny, teacher, coach, youth pastor)
  • Maturity not age was measured – father decided when you were adult
  • When mature, allowed to make own decisions

= Legalism is immature, it’s going backwards, paint by numbers, music chords

Do you see yourself as a slave or a son?

Galatians 4:3-5 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

American Slavery

  1. Almost entirely racial
  2. Lifetime status as masters property
  3. Children born by a slave also property of the master
  4. People were property passed on in the estate along with livestock
  5. Egypt & Joseph, Babylon & Daniel

1 Timothy 1:9-10 “We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious…for slave traders…and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

Ancient Slavery

  1. Not mainly racial – all races had slaves & were slaves
  2. Not often a lifetime status, most freed by 30 or emancipated
  3. Slaves often educated & trained then freed start business & contract w/master
  4. Slaves were elders & deacons in the church

Phmn 1:16 Paul wants Onesimus received by the church as a brother not a slave

How Become slave?

  1. Sometimes a debt payoff like our bankruptcy repossession
  2. Sometimes sell self into slavery for a better life
  3. Sometimes taken as prisoners of war
  4. Sometimes abandoned infants

= Complicated, diverse, sometimes unjust & sinful

• Son – ancient world son had legal power & inheritance (male & female)Slave vs Son

Controlling relationship vs Loving relationship
Powerless vs Empowered
Works based lifestyle vs Grace based lifestyle
Forever out of the family vs Forever in the family

=Adoption – ancient world w/adults, $ cancelled, legal authority, inheritance (e.g. political

Do you relate to God as master or Father?

Galatians 4:6-7 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

• Identity – live for, live from


  • Mormons & Muslims – focus on faulty fatherhood
  • Pentecostal and Charismatics – HS
  • Evangelical & Reformed – Jesus
  1. Atheism – I have no Father.
  2. Agnosticism – I may or may not have a Father, but I’ve never met Him, I don’t know who or where He is, and I don’t really care to find out.
  3. Deism – I have a Father but, like my dad who abandoned me when I was little, He lives far away and we don’t have a relationship.
  4. Reformed theology – I have a Father who is distant, controlling, and not very relational
  5. Arminian theology – I have a Father who is passive and lets me make my own decisions and do whatever I want, like my earthly dad who stayed out of my affairs.
  6. Liberal/Progressive – I have a Father who acts more like an enabling older sibling and does not tell me what to do but helps me do whatever I want, even foolish or rebellious.
  7. Feminist theology says that we don’t need a Father since men are dangerous and harmful, we should be spiritually raised by a single parent and worship God as Mother.


  1. Lots about fathers (patriarchal)
  2. Little about God Father – roughly 15X, not to individuals


  • #1 name for God – 65X Matt-Luke; 100X John = 165X
  • Abba – no indication this word used before Jesus of God
  • “Our Father” – how relate to God

Jesus = 1. Son of God 2. Spirit-filled
Luke 3:22 a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.
Luke 4:3,9 “If you are the Son of God” (tested)


  • People become like their view of God
  • People use their relationship with God as the template for all relationships

God as Master vs God as Father

A master uses you vs A father blesses you
You serve them vs They serve you
Motivate you by fear  vsMotivate you by love
Beats you down vs Builds you up
No inheritance vs Full inheritance (HS downpayment)

Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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