Galatians 4

1 – 3

What I am saying is as long as an heir as a child he is no different from a servant, even though he will someday inherit everything. He has to obey guardians until the time when his, which his father has chosen for him to receive his inheritance. It is the same for us when we were children, we lived under the teaching of the ABCs of this world.

One of the first things a child learns is the alphabet. Paul is saying that the law was like the ABCs to the Jews.

When God set apart the Jews as a new nation, they did not really know God. He wanted them to know Him personally so He slowly and carefully (Isaiah 40:11) began to show them what it is like to walk with Him.

For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. Jeremiah 7:22

So the Jews were like little children when they lived under the Law.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 1 Corinthians 13:11

4. But in God's timing, He sent His Son to come from a woman born under the authority of the Law...

The Law showed the Jews how God wanted his people to live on the earth. In many places, the Law says that we should not do the things that the world does. In this way, the Law prepared the way for Jesus. Jesus came and said, in so many words, that He was showing us how life is lived in the Kingdom of Heaven.

5. That He might redeem those who were under the Law so that we would become the adopted sons of God.

There are many examples of people who adopted a son so that he could later inherit everything that the father owned.

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:15 – 17

6. It is because you really are His sons that God has sent the Spirit of His son into our hearts to cry out, “Father! Dear Father!"

Some versions translate the word father here as: “Daddy!"

I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

7. So you are not a servant anymore, but through God you are a son, and if you are a son, then you are an heir.

Before he was saved, John Wesley said, “I had even then the faith of a servant, but not that of a son."

8 – 9

At one time you did not know God, you were under the power of gods who were not real. But now, after you have met and known God, (really you are known by Him) why would you want to be under the power of these false gods and return to slavery?

Do you want to go back to being a baby in Christ?

In Corinthians we see that the demon spirits behind these idols have power over those who allow them a place to stand in their lives.

We know that an idol is nothing real and that there is no God but one.

For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

1 Corinthians 8:4 – 7

10 – 11

Your faith in God is now mixed with ideas about special days and seasons and years.You make me wonder if all my teaching to you was for nothing!

There is nothing wrong with setting aside certain days to honor the Lord. The problem comes when somebody thinks that they have to do these things because faith in Christ is not enough.

12. I beg you, brothers put yourself yourselves in my place [following Christ only] as I have put myself in your place [trying to follow the Law]. I have nothing against you personally.

My heart is wide open to you, let your heart be wide open to me. 2 Corinthians 7:2

13 – 15

Do you remember how it was while I was sick that I first brought the Gospel to you? You did not look down on me because of my sickness, but you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, or even as you would welcome Jesus Himself!

What has happened to that welcoming spirit of yours? I know that in those days you would have given me your own eyes if you could!

There are many ideas about what Paul's thorn [Greek: splinter] in the flesh was as described in 2 Corinthians 12:7. There is some evidence that Paul had a problem with his eyes. There seems to be a connection between Paul talking about his sickness and the Galatians, wanting to give him their own eyes.

Paul said, “I could not see clearly, brothers, that he was the high priest.” Acts 23:5

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. Galatians 6:11

The important thing to learn about Paul's thorn in the flesh is that God sometimes has to weaken us so that it can be seen that His power is stronger than than ours.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

When He saw that He had not prevailed against him, He touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while He wrestled with him. Genesis 32:25

16. Have I become your enemy now because I am telling you the truth?

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6

He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue. Proverbs 28:23

17. These Judaizers are making a big show of caring about you. Not in a good way, but they want to isolate and control you so that you will follow them.

One of the big red flags of spiritual warfare is when the enemy suggests that you should stay away from other Christians. This is what the wolves do when they attack a flock of sheep. They find the weakest one and cut him off from the rest. The best cure for this attack is to make up your mind that if this is what the devil wants, then you will purposely do the opposite and get together with other Christians, no matter what he says.

If this is from You God, I accept it, if it is not from You then I reject it in the name of Jesus!" Missionary Isobel Kuhn

You will notice that men who want to control you begin by flattering you, and later they threaten you.

A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. Proverbs 29:5

18 – 19

It would be a good thing if someone was interested in you, whether I am there are not, but only if they are doing it with the right heart in the right spirit

You are my dear children and I feel the pain of childbirth all over again until Christ is complete in you.

Paul wants to see some kind of fruit which will show him that the Galatians are allowing Christ to live his life inside of them.

20. I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, because I am confused about what I should think about you!

Paul was in the same kind of situation during the rebellion of the church of Corinth. He felt that no matter what he said it would be taken in the wrong way.

What do you wish? Should I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:21

For they say, “His [Paul's] letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account.” 2 Corinthians 10:10

21 – 22

Now tell me, you who want to be under the Law. Have you heard what the Law says? It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman.

Paul is saying, “If you say that Abraham's being a son of Abraham is the most important part of the inheritance, then remember this Abraham had another son who was not to share in the inheritance.”

23. The son of the slave woman was born in the flesh, but the son of the free woman was born through God's promise.

Isaac was the promised heir. It was not promised that Ishmael would be Abraham's heir, but God did make other promises to Ishmael. Genesis 17:20

24. This is like a parable. Here are two agreements which can be shown by the two women. One is from Mount Sinai bringing children into slavery. This one is Hagar.

Men who live in isolated places have told missionaries that they did not know that the things they were doing were against God's laws. Their conscience told them that these things were wrong, but the devil told them they had to do these things to please the gods. After they give their lives to Christ, they have told the missionaries that they are so glad to be free and not have to do those things anymore.

25 – 26

Now Hagar is like Mount Sinai in Arabia and she represents the present day Jerusalem because she is in slavery together with her children. But the free woman is like the heavenly Jerusalem, and she is our mother.

Paul takes the trouble to remind us that Mount Sinai is located in Arabia. He is showing us that the promise did not come from Mount Sinai, only the Law came from there.

In Paul's day, which he calls present-day Jerusalem, the city connected itself with the Law which was given on Mount Sinai. Because Hagar was a slave, Paul is connecting her to Mount Sinai to show how the Jews were living like slaves to the Law.

This is Paul's answer to the Judaizers. They would say that because Isaac was Abraham's heir then only those who are Jewish can inherit Abraham's promises. They would make the case that because Ishmael was not the heir then this would prove that no Gentile can inherit the promises.

We should live now, as we will someday, in the New Jerusalem, which is not in slavery but is free.

27. As Isaiah says, rejoice you woman who does not birth children. Rejoice and cry out you woman who has not had childbirth pains. For the barren woman will have more children than her who had the husband.

When Paul quotes Isaiah here, he is reminding us that Isaiah was speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem and how God promised to restore the city. Paul is saying that if Jerusalem would escape from slavery to the Law, there would be many spiritual children.

Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not had childbirth pains; for the sons of the barren one will be more than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord.
Isaiah 54:1

28 29

And you, my brothers, are like Isaac, the children of the promise. But in those days the son of the flesh persecuted the spiritual son, and it is the same way today.

Revelation 12:10 tells us that the devil accuses us day and night. The devil tells the world to work against us. He may leave us for a short time (Luke 4:13), but John shows us that the devil constantly tested Jesus and was constantly being defeated.

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he continues to have nothing in Me; John 14:30

For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. Romans 8:36, Psalm 44:22

There are different kinds of persecution. Some ways of persecution are saying, "My Christian way of life is better than yours."

30. But what does the book of Genesis say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son because the slave woman son will not inherit the promise with the son of the free woman.”

Law and grace cannot live in the same house. The Judaizers wanted to invite Hagar and Ishmael, with the spirit of mocking, back into the house.

Now Sarah saw Ishmael the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking [Isaac]. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.” Genesis 21:9 – 10

31. So then my brothers we should not want to see ourselves as sons of the slave woman, but of the free woman, or to say it another way, not sons of slavery under the Law, but sons of freedom under grace.

We should not do the things which Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar did to help God deliver His promises. We should return to our first love, when we first met Jesus and experienced the filling of his Holy Spirit and the freedom of His grace.