“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. (Galatians 4:4-5)
We are all slaves to laws of our own making, superstitions, religious taboos and false gods as well as laws enforced upon us by others, including the laws of the state. The whole idea of state law is to enforce obedience, promote order and protect others from harm. It does this by threatening punishment which engenders fear. What Paul points out here in Galatians is that we believers are slaves to God’s law as well. Why? Because we think we can keep it and try to do so, but fail. Thus we come under its judgment and condemnation resulting in punishment which takes the form of physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil and suffering.
In the case of God’s Law fear of His wrath cannot produce love. Yet that fear of God ought to lead people to Him. Often it does, but it is the really the Love of God that draws people to faith in Him. People who are afraid of His punishment may often fall into despair because they cannot and will not change. But many who fear God’s wrath, knowing they deserve it, may also plead for His mercy and grace. In that case they will find that He is loving and kind. He will forgive them because of what Jesus has done by atoning for the sins of all mankind by His death on the cross.
Because of what Jesus has done those who have faith in Him are not slaves but rather sons of God. As sons they need not fear God’s wrath any longer. Because Christ kept the Law perfectly for us, those who are in Him no longer come under the Law. They are sons, they have their inheritance already, the fullness of eternal life, the absolute guarantee of salvation as well as the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who enables us to walk in loving obedience to the Lord in accordance with God’s will, and reminds us daily of our faith and salvation.