The Gift of Hope- Week 2
Now is the exact time for you to give the Gift of Hope!
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
What’s your favorite Christmas memory?
When did someone give you just the right Christmas gift? How did that make you feel?
Christmas is a special time of year for many reasons: the smells in the air, the songs and sounds that we don’t hear any other time of year, the foods we share, the time we get to spend with those who mean the most to us. But more important than any of those things, wonderful though they are, is that we get to focus on God’s greatest gift to humanity—Himself.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
What do you think “fullness of time” means? What does this communicate to us about God’s plan?
What does it mean that Christ was born “under the law”? What’s the significance of that for us?
How do we see both the humanity and the deity of Christ affirmed in these verses?
From what do we need to be redeemed? What does this truth entail for our lives?
In verses 4-5 Paul gives us a wonderful description of the incarnation, God made flesh. We see not only an affirmation of the historical event, but also its significance for our lives. As important to humanity as the incarnation of Christ was, it becomes significant to us personally as we are adopted into God’s family and experience the transformation that a relationship with Him brings.
The word “Abba” is an Aramaic word that was translated into Greek. It is an affectionate title that young children would use for their fathers. When we cry to God we are not reaching for a distant Father, but a loving daddy.
As adopted children, what is significant about the word “Abba”?
How does using this term make you feel about your relationship with God?
What do you think about when you see the verb “crying” in verse 6? Do you think this is an experience that is common to most believers? Why or why not?
How would you describe the difference between being a “son” and a “slave”?
When we become Christians, God gives us the Holy Spirit and adopts us into His family. Not only do we move from being slaves to sons, but also we can look forward to a great inheritance as His heirs! We celebrate Christmas because Christ—God incarnate—made this inheritance possible.
Though God is eternal, He acted and continues to act in time. How has God intervened in your life at just the right times?
How can you make room in your life for the ministry of the Holy Spirit this week? What attitudes, actions, and practices foster His work in your life?
Using these verses, how can you explain to someone else the offer that God gives at Christmas time and throughout the year?
Praise Abba Father for His great plan and the sending of His Son in the fullness of time. Thank Him for the redemption He has offered us through Christ, and the adoption He has brought about in group members’ lives. Ask Him for the courage and compassion to make this incredible offer known to others this Christmas season.
4:4. The time appointed by God the Father for redemption represents a divine prerogative that can never be completely understood by the human mind. We might wonder why the Savior was not introduced earlier in history. Yet, with the perspective of perfect knowledge and wisdom, God chose the right moment in time to send His Son. The phrase God sent his Son emphasizes the eternal deity of Christ. However, this Son was born of a woman, a phrase stressing that Christ was fully human as well as fully divine. Further, He was born under law in order to redeem those enslaved by it. Although Christ was under the law, He was without sin (2 Cor. 5:21).
4:5. The benefits of Christ’s atoning work referred to in this verse are those of redemption and adoption. The term redemption may suggest a basically negative connotation—we are redeemed from slavery to sin, from the curse of the law, and from the control of evil spiritual powers. On the other hand, the phrase the full rights of sons addresses the positive aspect of salvation. The expression refers to the giving of sonship status to one who is not a natural child. It reflects the marvelous transformation that occurs in our relationship with God as a result of our faith in Christ who made provision for our redemption.
4:6. The Holy Spirit is the sign and pledge of our adoption as God’s children. His presence in our hearts assures us of our salvation. The most basic indication of our adoption as God’s children is that of an intimate relationship with God. We can address God as Abba [AB buh] an Aramaic expression meaning “father.” The term carries connotations of respect and affection.
4:7. In this verse Paul changed from addressing his readers as a group to addressing them individually (see vv. 6-7 in KJV). In so doing, his application became direct and personal. Christian reader, “You are no longer a slave, but rather a child of God and thereby a joint heir with Christ.”