Enjoy the Spiritual Liberty in Christ: 4:1-7.
(Read Galatians 4:1-7)
Paul is illustrating the spiritual immaturity of those living under the law. Children are not better than slaves until they grow up to enjoy inheritance (Gal 4:1). They have to obey their guardian until the age appointed by the father. In the same way before Christ, we were children enslaved to the elementary principles of the world ( 4:3). But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem us. God sent his Son because there was no other way we could be saved. Christ’ virgin birth perfectly agrees with the language used here. Christ did not cease to be God when He became man. He was one person with two nature. Christ born under the law and was subjects to all the ordinances of the law. The purpose of incarnation was to redeem us from the curse of the law (Gal 4:5). Redemption carries the idea of buying back from slave market (Gal 3:13). Christ’ death is sufficient to redeem all but efficient to redeem only those who trust Him. God has given us His Spirit and adopted us into his family to call him “Abba Father” (4:6; Rom 8:15). The whole Trinity has been involved in making the believer a son and heir of God to enjoy the blessing promised to Abraham. Someone has said “Regeneration gives us the relationship; adoption gives us the position”. Every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:19-20). The Holy Spirit works “inside out” causing the new life to flourish from within us. Meditate on Christ to appreciate his salvation.
Paul’s Concern for the Galatians: 4:8-20.
(Read Galatians 4:8-20)
Paul is concerned that the Galatians are returning to the bondage of the law. Before their conversion they worshiped idols. They had been enslaved to fertility gods. But they came to know God by God’s initiative (Gal 4:9). Christianity is a living relationship (1 Cor 8:3). The Lord knows those who love him (2 Tim 2:19). The Galatians were fooled to become slave to the weak and useless elements of the law by false teachers. Paul warns that turning to the law is equivalent to rejecting the gospel and renouncing Christ. Paul afraid that all his hard work for them was in vain. They forget that Christ has secured their salvation by his death on the cross (Mark 15:38). Paul pleads with Galatians that they should become like him and do not give up their faith in Christ for law. When Paul reached Galatia, he was forced to spend more time with them due to his sickness. Some think Paul was suffering from malaria or epilepsy. The Galatians treated Paul kindly in spite of his repulsive appearance (4:14). They treated him with love and received as an angel of God. Paul was grieving over their changed attitude toward him by treating him like an enemy now because of telling the truth (4:16). He warns the believers that the ulterior motive of false teachers is to promote Judaism and steal their heart from Christ. Paul expresses his feeling towards them and compares it to labor pain. Paul wanted to visit them and straighten the matter. He wonders what else he could do for them to prevent them from drifting. He wants them to know that the spiritual maturity is not attained through self efforts but by faith in the sufficiency of Jesus Christ.
Two Covenants: 4:21-31.
(Read Galatians 4:21-31)
Paul wants Galatians to know the difference between law and grace. He is using a historical narrative to explain his point. Abraham had two sons. One was from his slave wife Hagar and another from his wife Sarah. The status of mother determines the status of the son. Ishmael was the product of the flesh and Isaac was the product of promise (Gal 4:23). These two women symbolize the two covenants, law and grace. Hagar represents the Mosaic covenant of law and bondage. Sarah represents the Abrahamic covenant of grace and liberty. Hagar represents Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. She corresponds to the present Jerusalem. But Sarah represents the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-24). Christians are like Isaac who are born of the free woman, Sarah. They are of heavenly Jerusalem and sons of promise (Gal 4:28). They have received eternal life by the miraculous work of Holy Spirit (Gal 4:29). The children born of the flesh persecute the children of promise. The children of the promise only receive the inheritance. Abraham by divine direction sent Hagar and Ishmael away. It is impossible to be children of both the slave girl and the free woman at the same time. Those who are in Christ are free from the bondage of the law. It is impossible to be under the law and under grace at the same time. The believers are the children of the free woman. The false teachers who reject the gospel and promote law should be expelled because they are danger to the church (4:30). Today Church is infected with deadly teachings of false teachers. Pray that the church would be protected from them who promote teaching contrary to the word of God.