Galatians 4:1-11-The Result of Justification by Faith (the promise applied by the
Galatians 4:1-3-When someone has a child who is going to inherit his father’s heritage...that heritage is managed by a guardian until the child reaches the age when he can receive the inheritance and manage it, himself. In a similar way, until Christ came, the Law served (as a guardian) to restrain people from sin by identifying what sin was. Like the child, they were not able to discern on their own how to manage what they had (:3).
Galatians 4:4-11-Paul tells the Galatians that God sent Jesus to fulfill the Law, so that He could save those under the Law, and they could be redeemed from it's punishment for their sin. As a result, they have received the Spirit of His Son who would identify them as being children of the Father (:5-6). They have now received their inheritance. They are no longer slaves to sin (:7). Paul's question for them is that since they now know God, why are they again acting as if they must keep the Law..."elemental things"...and be enslaved to them all over again? Galatians 4:12-20-Paul’s concern over their change in attitude towards him Paul thanks them for being so receptive to him when he had been there before...and asks what has happened to that attitude? The Judaizers had turned them against him.
Galatians 4:21-31-The Freedom of Justification by Faith (the promise portrayed
Galatians 4:21-31-Paul asks a straightforward question...”Why would you want to be under the Law? Have you ever read what it says?” He is telling them that it appears that they don’t know the whole story of the Law...only the part that the Judaizers want them to know...and then, even that part has been misrepresented. He uses the story of Sarah and Hagar to distinguish between the means of becoming righteous taught by him and the Judaizers. Here, Paul introduces a term that will continue to be used through chapter 4. Then, he will stop using the term...but expand on the concept. He uses the word “promise” to speak of something which God has provided...but which will not be fully accomplished until sometime in the future. So, in the meantime, it must be received by faith. That promise is the means of salvation to be provided by the Messiah, Jesus. That is why Abraham received it by faith as previously mentioned (3:6). Paul says that Sarah, and her son Isaac, represent the promise. She was a free woman and her son was born free. The promise that God made to Abraham came through Sarah...so that it would be a promise of freedom that was freely offered. It was the promise that He was going to provide a means of righteousness that would be free (not accomplished by the Law, but a gift). Hagar was a slave and her son Ishmael was born a slave. She represents that which is of the Law. In order for a slave to obtain freedom they had to pay for it. Had the promise been made through her it would not have been free...because she was under bondage and would have to pay for freedom. Consequently, everyone who sought righteousness (freedom from bondage) through her would have had to pay (keep the Law), as well. Paul says that the same thing happened in those days as was happening in his day...those who were of the Law (Ishmael, Judaizers) persecuted those who were of the promise (Isaac, Paul). So, his recommendation was to tell the Judaizers to leave the church...even as Hagar was told to leave (:28-30; cf. Genesis 21:10-12).
Prayer: Lord, give me the wisdom and courage to stand strong in the face of false teaching. Help me to know when to try to keep those who oppose Your teaching within the church...and when to stand against them and if necessary make them leave.