Galatians 4:5 – to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Some translations of the New Testament change the word “sons” in Galatians 4:5, to “children”. This is done, no doubt, to point out that it is not just males who are adopted into the family of God. This is an important truth. There is neither male nor female.

But Paul was not being chauvinistic when he said that we are adopted as sons and it is a mistake to substitute “children” for “sons”. The reason it is a mistake is because in the culture and times in which Paul wrote, only sons received the inheritance that a father would leave after his death. We are not just children of God. We all, male and female, Greeks and Jews, slave and free, are sons of God with the full right of inheritance as first born sons.

It is not a slur upon females to say that they are sons. It is the best news they can receive. It is an honour won for them by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Female believers are treated as first born sons with all the rights and privileges that such sonship brings with it. The New International Version brings it out superbly when it translates verse 5 as:

to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

All believers have the full right of first born sons who receive a full inheritance from a loving father. We have the rights of first born sons because we are counted with the very righteousness of the only begotten Son of God. He deserves the inheritance and by faith in Him we receive it with Him (Romans 8:16-17). What a work God has done! We are not just sons and daughters of God. We are all first born sons with all the rights of inheritance that God has promised. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ Himself (Romans 8:17).