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Galatians Chapter 4

Paul carries on from stating those in Christ are heirs by stating that as long as an heir is a child he is no different than a servant under authority although he be over all others in promise. (v1) Whilst a child he is subject to teachers and governors until his father put everything under him. (v2) Likewise before Christ, Israel was subject to the law and wrestled with things of the flesh. (v3)When Christ was sent (v4) likewise under the law to redeem the promise made to the heirs (those in Christ) to have adoption with Him of the Father; He gave His Holy Spirit to show the promise was kept - that of adoption. (v6) Therefore as Christ has inherited so we have inherited and are no more as servants but Sons. Sons, through the inheritance of Christ.

Paul states that before the galatians knew God, they were likewise in bondage, but to false idols and other gods; (v8) but now after being reconciled to God, they are turning back to those same false elements to be held in bondage! (v9) Those elements of their bondage are not the false gods or idols they had previously - but their equivalent in the old testament doctrine of the jews that were seducing them from their faith in Christ. Although the galatians make a show of commitment to the law in observing festivals and feasts (v10) Paul almost despairs of them for his teaching is being ignored. (v11).

Paul beseeches them that they be as he - free from the old testament now and under grace, for he is a fellow believer in Christ and this situation is their own fault, not his. (v12) When he was with them first, he preached the gospel without being mighty in deeds, but preaching the truth simply (v13) yet they received the truth of the gospel as if he was alike the saviour despite his being subject to temptation to mix in the old testament also. (v14) Paul asks them "where has that marvelling at the grace of God and the blessings of His Christ gone?" for the simple truth in words was enough for them to suffer great loss. (v15)

Paul exhorts them to stand fast in the truth if he has offended them - he is not their enemy. (v16) Their enemies are those judaizing influences that would out of the galatians zeal would corrupt their simple faith on Christ with conditions that diminish the finished work of the cross. In doing, they gain a greater audience - those influences by their same zeal in turning back to the law, diminish the victory of Christ. (v17) It is a good thing to be zealous in everything that is good, but not a corrupting influence. Not, as Paul states only when he is with them. (v18)

So once again Paul states that he must bear with them a little whilst he reforms and corrects their faith in the gospel. (v19) For he desires to be with them and to change his voice from correction to fellowship - because he is now in doubt of their faith. He fears they will not listen effectively unless he is present with them. (v20)

Paul again uses the old testament by allegory to point to the new covenant mediated by Christ rather than the old covenant by Moses. By comparing the two sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael (v22) he alludes that one, Isaac being the child of promise by Sarah in her infirmity is the promise by allegory to the new covenant in Christ, and the son of her servant Hagar is the son of bondage alluding to the old testament covenant in which all were brought under the condemnation of the law, the bondage of sin. (v23-v28)

Paul makes mention of the two Jerusalems, One physical compared to the other spiritual (of promise) which is the Lord's city for His people. (v26) We are the children of promise drawn from 'infirmity' as Isaac (v28) But of those of physical Israel in bondage, they are not children of the promise and persecute the promised heirs (v29) out of jealousy as they do also the galatians. Paul shows that the ones in bondage are cast out of the house of the promise, and will not be co-heirs. (v30) Therefore by infirmity rather than bondage, we are Christ's and sons of promise (v31).

In this way, we are again shown that the Lord keeps a remnant of the house, from two parts - one made for honour and one to dishonour. Those that hold to the truth in the new covenant are the remnant of the line of heirs - the true Israel of God, and the ones who do not stand as heirs are the dishonourable. Mixing other doctrines into or replacing the gospel with another - respecting the bondage of any system; the law (or idolatry) over the love of the truth is the same dishonour these legalistic influences showed Christ - diminishing His work. The end is that they are cast out of the line of heirs, and are not in Christ. Likewise those that listen to them are partakers in the same bondage.


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