-Chapter 4 contrasts the true sons of faith in the Lord versus the sons of the slave system based on the Law. He again uses the Old Testament to validate his argument with the Abrahamic line, which did not come through the slave woman Hagar depicted as the Law of Mt. Sinai (Galatians 4:25). Instead, the promise came through Isaac by Sarah, which is depicted as the Jerusalem above that is free (Galatians 4:26). *Application* What Paul is saying is that we must not stay enslaved to the Law of God for righteousness. We must look to Jesus Christ, who in the fullness of time came sent as God Incarnate born of a woman under the Law (Galatians 4:4). He is the only One who can redeem us from what Paul calls “the elementary principles of the world,” namely works based religion (Galatians 4:3, 5, 9). He makes the case that we are free from the bondage of sin, which was instituted by the Law, through adoption as free sons. We have the Holy Spirit of His Son in our hearts crying “Abba! Father (Galatians 4:6)!” This is term of endearment and indicates union and closeness with our Creator, a concept that was virtually new and unheard of in the world at this time. The point is that through faith in Christ we become heirs of the promise and gain the eternal inheritance with Him.
-Paul’s fear is that he had labored over these Galatians in vain (Galatians 4:11). He was again in anguish of childbirth for his little children until Christ be formed in them (Galatians 4:19). The reason for this is that they had been deceived by false-legalistic teaching that was taking them further away from the grace of God through His Son and the Spirit-controlled life. A life of external conformity was not going to good in the long run for many reasons, and Paul is right in seeing that this was a big deal in this newly converted society. He recounts their love toward him and how they gave sacrificially for his well being as an apostle (Galatians 4:12-15). He now feels like he has become their enemy by telling them the truth about the obedience of faith for righteousness (Galatians 4:16). This change of their heart has become so perplexing to the apostle, and he is determined to win them back to the accurate theological view of the grace of God (Galatians 4:20). They were observing the Jewish calendar of days, months, seasons, and years out of obligation thinking that it would make them more righteous. Paul’s point to them was that they had formerly been enslaved by ungodly idolatrous religions, but had now come to KNOW God and be KNOWN by Him (Galatians 4:8-10). This relationship opens up a newfound freedom. A return to the “elementary principles” of the old Jewish Laws that were guardians (managers, stewards, foreman) and managers (administrators) until the fullness of maturity and revelation came would be nonsensical and detrimental to their spiritual development. This is why Paul is so frustrated with them at this point. The rightful owners of everything good in the Lord were being deceived to go back into the slavery of the Law (Galatians 4:1-5). *Application* It is easier than we think to get prideful in the “right” way to do “spiritual” things. Although the religious practices we tend to gravitate to are not wrong in themselves, we must be ultra careful not to legislate these tendencies on others stating that they are a means of God’s grace, salvation, or sanctification. This is simply not biblical and does not demonstrate the freedom which Christ gives by His simple truth. Don’t get bogged down in human tradition. Serve the Living God with obedient faith and don’t enforce legalistic traditions of man.
Verse to Memorize- Galatians 4:6