Galatians 4

  1. The Gospel of justification by faith
    1. Fulfilled in Christ (4:1-11)
      1. (v. 1-3) Describe an heir in human terms
      2. (v.3) What are the (basic principles), elements of the world?(Compare with v.9; Col. 2:8,20; Heb. 5:12; Heb. 9:10______________________________________________
        We were in bondage to the principes or elements of this world before we knew Christ..(the ideas and values of fallen humanity, the attitude that we could save ourselves by keeping the law or doing good deeds.) The Jews were kept as slaves under the bondage of the law until Christ came to fulfill the law.
      3. (v.4,5) What is meant by "the fullness of time? See Gen. 49:10; Mark 1:15______________________________
        There was a time for the law and a purpose but Jesus came for what reason? Rom. 8:3,4___________________________
      4. (v.6,7)The Word "Abba" is an intimate word for Father. See Rom.5:5; 8:9,15-17; 2 Cor. 3:17...This scripture shows the intimacy that God wishes to have with us as His children. We have the closest kind of fellowship we can have with Him and need no longer to live under the regulations of the law.
      5. (v.8-11) "You served those which by nature are not gods".....pagan worship...they were slaves to "gods" that did not exist and could not really help them. They were in bondage to certain efforts, rituals, etc. (see #2..beggarly elements) Paul was reminding them of what they had been saved from and the difference in truly knowing God, and being known by God, having a relationship with Him...the true and living God who calls them sons and lives in their hearts. (See Col. 2:20-23; Heb. 7:18) Now they were turning instead, back to those weak and beggarly elements, putting themselves again in bondage. Whether by pagan means or Jewish law, the result was the same..they were trying to earn approval by their own efforts. See Rom. 14:5-; Col. 2:16-17...Observing days, months, seasons, and years had no power to cleanse the soul, but were weak, useless methods. Paul was afraid for them that he had labored in vain.
    2. An urgent appeal to the Galatians (v.12-20)
      1. What do you think Paul meant when he said "become like me for I became like you?" (v.12) See also Phil. 3:4-11
        Paul who once lived by the law became like a gentile in the sense that he no longer lived like a the law, but lived by faith in the justfication through Jesus Christ. He wanted them now to become like him in living in that faith.
      2. Describe the relationship Paul had with the Galatians and their devotion to him at first (v.13-15)
      3. (v.16) Matthew Henry commentary:Note, 1. It is no uncommon thing for men to account those their enemies who are really their best friends; for so, undoubtedly, those are, whether ministers or others, who tell them the truth, and deal freely and faithfully with them in matters relating to their eternal salvation, as the apostle now did with these Christians. 2. Ministers may sometimes create enemies to themselves by the faithful discharge of their duty; for this was the case of Paul, he was accounted their enemy for telling them the truth. 3. Yet ministers must not forbear speaking the truth, for fear of offending others and drawing their displeasure upon them. 4. They may be easy in their own minds, when they are conscious to themselves that, if others have become their enemies, it is only for telling them the truth.
      4. (v.17-20) See Rom. 10:2-4...It is good to be zealous for the Lord, but zeal itself can lead people astray if it is not the right kind of zeal. Think of some modern religious...even christian movements that have a great zeal in winning people and serving God or a god. Are they in line with the gospel Paul preached of salvation and sanctification by grace through faith alone? Or do they promote man's efforts or works of any kind to find righteousness of favor with God? We need to continually be alert to any deviation from that truth in any way when we see the zealous works of men even in the religious movements of our day. We live by His promise to us...not ours to Him.
  2. The Gospel of freedom in the Spirit (v.21-5:26)
    1. The analogy of Sarah and Hagar (v.21-31)
      1. Paul gives them an example from the law to demonstrate...through the story of Abraham, why we are not under bondage to the law. Read Gen. 16; 17:15-19...Describe in your own words the analogy here with Hagar and Sarah and how it applies to our freedom in Christ. What are the two covenants mentioned here?
      2. The son of promise: Gen. 18:10,14; 2:1,2; Heb. 11:11; Rom. 4:13; 9:7-9
      3. "The Jerusalem which is above is free...the mother of us all...Phil. 3:20; Heb. 12:22-24; Rev. 3:12; 21:2
      4. Read John 3:5,6...(v. 22,23) Hagar was a result of Abraham's own efforts to receive God's promise and was born according to the flesh. Isaac was born because God enabled Sarah...not by her own power but he was a result of God's promise. Compare Hagar with our own efforts to bring about God's will.
      5. (v.24-28)Hagar and Ishmael are symbolic of the Mount Sinai covenant to the Jews, the Judaism of Jerusalem...which brought bondage. Sarah and Isaac represented the promise through faith in Christ alone that only God could provide. Those who are of of the promise are of the Jerusalem that is above. Our obedience in Christ is one of joy.
      6. (v.29-31)What is Jewish opposition to the Gospel compared with?
        "Cast out the bondwoman and her son." What does that mean for us as believers?___________________________________
        It is not those who live under the law who are heirs, but those who live according to the promise of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. We are not children of the bondwoman, but children of the freewoman.


The law was our guardian for a time. Just like children, though heirs, are kept under a guardian or tutor untill they are of age...we were kept under the bondage of the law until the fulness of time, when the promise was fulfilled and Christ came, we no longer needed the guardianship of the law. We are not under obligation to keep days, months, seasons or years. He redeemed us from our slavery and gave us His Spirit in our hearts. Now we are sons. We know God and are known by Him. The law was weak in that it could not save us. Any efforts to go back to the law, or our own works in any way to please God, is going backwards to what is primitive and weak and useless in bringing true salvation or righteousness. Even the law itself is a shadow of things to come and is fulfilled in Christ. The story of Hagar and Sarah speak of the two covenants. Hagar...the the bondwoman...according to the flesh...represents the law. Sarah...the freewoman...representing the promise of the new covenant by grace, which we are to live by. We are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.



Matthew Henry Commentary on Gal. 4

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by Dave Hunt

Before the cross of Christ, mankind was divided into two groups: Jews and Gentiles. The Old and New Testaments both make very clear what caused this distinction: it was the covenants God had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and with their descendants through Moses. These covenants were for Israel alone and separated her from all other nations on the face of the earth, making God's "chosen people" absolutely unique. Israel was segregated from other peoples by the Mosaic law and by her special relationship with the One who calls Himself "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."

The important distinction between Jews and Gentiles is maintained consistently throughout the Bible: " shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth" (Ex.33:16); "...for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people that ye should be mine" (Lev. 20:26); "And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his ... own people forever" (II Chron.17:21-22); ... ye (Gentiles) were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God ..." (Eph.2:11-12).

After the cross a new entity came into existence -- the church that Jesus Christ promised He would build (Matt. 16:18). As a result, there are now three divisions of mankind: Jews, Gentiles and the church. Paul tells us that we are to "Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God" (I Cor. 10:32). It is absolutely essential to understand that these three groups exist side- by-side in todays world, to distinguish between them, and to recognize that God deals with each differently.

Essential also is an understanding that the church was created through offering to both Jews and Gentiles a "new covenant" relationship with God. This did not bring Gentiles under the Jewish Mosaic Law (as some erroneously teach), but delivered from it those coming into the church, both Jews and Gentiles. Paul explains that Gentiles who were "aliens ... of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise" have been "made nigh(to God) by the blood of Christ." God has "broken down the middle wall of partition(between Jew and Gentile); having abolished in his flesh the (Mosaic) law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain(Jew and Gentile) one new man" (Eph. 2:11- 22).

These Scriptures(and many others) make it clear that the church did not replace Israel, but came into existence as a new and third entity comprised of both Jews and Gentiles and distinct from each. As surely as Gentiles continue to exist outside the church, so does Israel with all of God's promises and plans for her remaining in full force. God also has unique plans for the church different from those for either Israel or the Gentile nations.

A major error of Reconstructionists such as North, Rushdoony, DeMar and Bahnsen(an error that is also taught by Jay Grimstead's Coalition on Revival) is their claim that the Law of Moses was for all mankind; and that it provides the moral basis both for the civil government of Romans 13 and for the conduct of Christians today. On the contrary, the law which unsaved civil magistrates enforce under Romans 13 could not be the Mosaic Law, because that was given exclusively to the Jews. It is rather the moral law that Romans 2 says is written by God in every human conscience.

That the Mosaic law was never intended for Gentiles and is not applicable to the church is clear from many Scriptures in addition to those quoted above, such as: "For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them ... (and) hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law" (Deut. 4:7- 8); "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them"(Ps. 147:19-20) As already noted, the Mosaic "law of commandments" that distinguished Israel from the rest of the world was "abolished" by the cross of Christ in the process of creating the church out of Jews and Gentiles who have been made into "one new man."

Failure to accept the above teaching of Scripture leads to grievous errors which plagued the early church and are being revived today. Foremost, of course, is legalism -- the idea that to be a Christian one must obey the laws of Moses. This causes confusion both as to justification and sanctification: the means of being delivered from sin's future penalty, and from its present power in our lives. The Scripture makes it clear that neither of these involves keeping the law. The suggestion of "Judaizers", that the church was under the Mosaic Law, was rejected as heresy by the apostles and elders when they met in Jerusalem specifically to consider this subject shortly after Pentecost (Acts 15). Paul thoroughly refuted the Judaizers' teaching in his Epistle to the Galatians.

Certainly through keeping the law "there shall no flesh be justified" (Rom.3:20). Justification comes as a free gift of God's grace through the finished work of Christ. Nor can one be sanctified (i.e. gain the victory over the practice of sin) by keeping the law, because of the weakness of human flesh. The good news is that "what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh," God accomplished through "sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin" (Rom.8:1-4). The New Testament presents to the Christian a much higher standard of moral and ethical conduct than that of the Mosaic Law. And we are empowered to live this higher standard because Christ Himself, by the Holy Spirit, has come to indwell our hearts and to live through us a supernatural life pleasing to God. The glorious result is the death of self and a new life of faith (Gal.2:20) that produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23)

There are many serious consequences to the growing delusion that the church is Israel. Christ said that those who "call themselves Jews and are not" are in fact "the synagogue of Satan"(Rev. 2:9;3:9)! Some of those who teach this lie are brilliant, such as Greg Bahnsen, who holds his doctorate in philosophy from USC. Yet the errors they make are so elementary as to betray a basic anti-Jewish sentiment, which they deny, but which seems to have blinded them to the obvious. Bahnsen, for example, quotes Ps. 89:34 ("My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.") to prove his contention that "God's covenant is one unchanging moral code through Old & New Testaments" (By This Standard, p.44). Yet Psalm 89 has nothing whatsoever to do with a moral code but is all about the covenant God made with David that "His seed shall endure for ever, & his throne as the sun before me" (v.36). This is the covenant the angel Gabriel reaffirmed in telling Mary that the One conceived in her of the Holy Spirit would reign on the throne of His father David, a covenant which Bahnsen perversely claims is no longer in force in spite of the very verse he misapplies declaring that it is!

Bahnsen habitually quotes Jesus' statement, "... one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law ..."to support his contention that the church is under the Mosaic Law, but deliberately leaves out the rest of the sentence. Far from teaching that the law would always be in force, Christ declared that it would pass away when it was fulfilled, and that He had come to fulfill it: "I am not come to destroy [the law], but to fulfill [it]. ... one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:17-l8). His life, death, burial and resurrection accomplished this fulfillment and made possible the new covenant relationship with God where by those in the church are "justified by faith without the deeds of law" (Rom. 3:21-30). Does this "make void the law"? No, it "establish[es] the law" (v.31) as that which made, Israel unique, was the barrier between Jew and Gentile, is still applicable to Jews, but for those now in the church, both Jews and Gentiles, has been fulfilled and abolished in Christ.

Those who teach that the church is Israel go on to claim that the church is heir to all of the promises given to Israel. This is as ludicrous as claiming that "the land of Israel" is now "the land of the church." Clearly the church has no relationship to the land God gave to Israel. Hear God's promise: "... though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee ... He that scattered Israel will gather him ... they shall come and sing in the height of Zion ... they shall not sorrow any more at all" (Jer.30:10-11;31:3-14;etc.).

The preservation of the Israelis as an identifiable people, in spite of the proverbial "wandering Jews" 2500-year diaspora from the promised land, and the establishment of Israel in 1948, constitute irrefutable proof for the existence of the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" and the validity of His Holy Word. Therefore, to insist that Israel no longer has any claim to her ancient homeland, and that her return thereto is a mere coincidence, denies one of the most persuasive arguments for belief in God and the Gospel, dishonors Him and His Word, and is not only illogical but evil!

My language may seem strong, but it is justified in view of the monstrous errors that grow from this one delusion, as well as by the severity of Christ's "synagogue of Satan" indictment. It may seem innocent enough to claim for the church II Chron. 7:14, but this Scripture that has become such a popular favorite simply does not apply to the church. While Christians may make spiritual applications to themselves from God's admonition to Israel to "humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way," the "land" He promised to heal as a result was Israel and only lsrael, not the United States or any other country.

Gary North's latest book, When Justice is Aborted, begins with God's promise to Joshua that He would help him to conquer the land of Canaan--then, in a typical Reconstruction/Kingdom/ Domin-ion misapplication of Scripture, on that basis justifies a Christian takeover of the world. The Forceful Men organization, co-directed by muscleman John Jacobs, recently sponsored a large conference in Phoenix featuring leading Charismatic speakers, who promoted the same error. God's exhortation to Joshua to "go in and possess the land [of Canaan] was presented as inspiration and justification for a "Joshua generation" of macho-minded Christians taking over America and the world. In fact, Joshua himself had no authority from God to take over any land outside of the prescribed boundaries specifically given to Israel. (Gen.15:18-21; Num.34:l-12;etc.)

The Second Coming of Christ becomes clouded in confusion if we fail to remember that the Lord comes in a different and specific manner for "Jews, Gentiles and the church of God." For His bride He comes secretly to "rapture" her to His Father's house of many mansions where He has prepared an eternal dwelling place for her. For Israel, in the midst of God's judgment for her rejection of her Messiah, surrounded by the armies of the world and about to be destroyed, He comes visibly in power to rescue her, judge her Gentile enemies, and to establish the Millennial kingdom with headquarters in Jerusalem. May God help us to "love His appearing" and to witness with a clear voice concerning these soon coming events For More Information Contact:

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