Galatians 4 Study Guide

This past weekend, we continued our “Live Free” series through the Book of Galatians with an exploration of Galatians 4. In this message, Pastor Doug Sauder explained how freedom is a fragile gift we must fight to hold onto, how Christians can wind up wasting their freedom in Christ, and how walking in true freedom leads to joy.

Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the message and share it with your friends via social media. To watch the message in its entirety, click here.


Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message this weekend:

Don’t Waste Your Freedom (Galatians 4:1–7): Before Jesus, we were all helpless and hopeless slaves to sin, sentenced to death, enemies of God. And then Jesus came . . . He lived a perfect life, fulfilled all the requirements of the law, satisfied the debt of sin, and took upon Himself the sinner’s death. And by doing so, He won our freedom! And now, He offers that freedom from sin and death freely to all who would simply believe in Him as Lord. And as such, as Christians, we are truly and completely free. No more fear, no more doubt, no more hopelessness, no more powerlessness . . . this is what we have in Christ.

We are no longer slaves to sins, but sons and daughters who were adopted into the family of God . . . sons and daughters with a great and glorious inheritance, heirs of almighty of God.

But here’s the thing: Freedom is a fragile gift, one that is easily perverted and squandered. In order to maintain and walk in freedom, you have to fight for it. There will be many battles throughout your entire Christian life as it pertains to freedom.

The enemy will always seek to ensnare you once again, to keep you from experiencing the victory and walking in the freedom that Christ has already won for you. Why? Because if he can keep you from walking in your freedom, then he can also keep you from being an effective witness who can be used by God to free others. So you must fight daily by the power of the Holy Spirit to fend off the lies and spiritual attacks.

Your Bondage Hurts Other People (Galatians 4:8–11): As believers, we sometimes trade the power of the gospel for that which has no power. When we do that, we are shackling ourselves to broken chains that we were never meant to walk in, chains that we were already liberated from, putting ourselves back in bondage. It’s a self-imposed slavery.

In Galatians 4:9–11 (NKJV), Paul says, “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.” What is he talking about here? He is saying that by adding anything to the gospel of Jesus, to the message of salvation by grace alone, to the idea that we have complete right standing with God not because of any works we perform but because of the finished work of Christ, then we are putting ourselves in chains. How so? Because we’re shackling ourselves to a lifelong system that requires perfection on our part in order to experience freedom upon death. But that system will never offer freedom because it wasn’t designed to offer freedom. It was designed to point us to the One who offers freedom.

And here’s the thing that happens when we who are free walk in slavery: our bondage hurts others. In what way? Here are a few:

  1. When we walk in bondage to the law or to any works-based system, we will be miserable slaves who have no joy and drag others into our misery.
  2. When we walk bound to a legalistic mentality, we put other believers in jeopardy of being influenced by us. We could be the reason someone else is unable to walk in the freedom, abundance, and spiritual blessings Christ freely gives.
  3. When we fail to walk in freedom, we fail to be effective witnesses to the watching world.

Freedom Is Your Heritage (Galatians 4:12–15): Legalism robs us of joy. It cuts us off from the power of the gospel and the blessings of God. It severs our connection to Christ and hinders us from walking in His promises. But when we remain in the pure and true gospel, when we remain fixed on Christ and dependent upon His Spirit and understand that it is only by Him that we receive our salvation and our sanctification, then we can experience a joy that can’t be measured or put into words and we’ll be able to experience contentment and satisfaction.

Freedom Is Your Heritage (Galatians 4:21–31): In this final section of chapter 4, Paul talks about two spiritual heritages: the heritage of Hagar and the heritage of Sarah. One is a heritage of slavery and the other is of freedom. One heritage was forged by human effort the other given by promise.

As believers, as those who have received the grace of God by faith, our heritage is that of freedom and promise; we are of the heritage of Sarah.

So today, let us examine our walk. Are we walking as children of freedom or of those born in bondage? If bondage, then that means we have added something to the gospel along the way that did not belong there. You never need to add anything to the gospel. But, is there something you added that you now need to GET RID OF so you can experience the fullness of being a child of promise?

Quote to Remember: Legalism creates striving and erodes joy.—Pastor Doug Sauder


As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.

1. What does freedom in Christ mean to you?

2. How can you develop a mindset of sonship instead of slavery in your relationship with the Lord?

3. In what ways have you seen your bondage or the bondage of another hinder the people within a sphere of influence?

4. How is your daily life moving toward freedom?


Check out this featured article where Danny Saavedra explains the background and significance of this extremely profound and relevant letter! To read the article, click here.


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Continuing the conversation from our weekend study of Galatians, this Wednesday we’ll dive deeper and explore the heart and context of Galatians 3 and 4.

Then, at our weekend services, we’ll dive into Galatians 5. In this message, Pastor Doug Sauder will explain why legalism cuts us off from the power of the gospel, how we can stand firm in the freedom we have in Christ, and how we can walk in step with the Spirit of God.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.