Thursday, 12 May 2016
So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. Galatians 4:31
Paul’s conclusion on this matter is decided with the words, “So then.” He has used an allegorical interpretation of Scripture to make a point about the superiority of the grace of Christ over deeds of the law. He has extended that interpretation to include the idea that the law is to be “cast out.” The “So then” that he writes is not just a statement concerning the allegory and its interpretation though. It is a statement that the entire idea he has been speaking about in this chapter, which includes the allegory, is decided. This final conclusion says, “…we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.”
Those in the New Testament economy are free sons of God through adoption. On the other hand, those who are under the law (or who still hold to the law, even though it is annulled in Christ), are not free, but in bondage. The law highlights sin; sin is bondage; therefore, the bondage of those under the law is sin. Paul’s words are to be taken as a testimony that we are not to insert the law into our attempt to please God. The only result of this is to show ourselves as being bound by sin; we highlight this in His presence. Instead, we are to show that we are free from sin through the work of Christ.
The use of the allegory can be summed up in the following contrasts –
The bondwoman, Hagar contrasts the freewoman, Sarah.
The son of the bondwoman, Ishmael contrasts the son of the freewoman, Isaac.
The natural birth of the flesh contrasts the spiritual birth of the promise.
Mount Sinai contrast with Mount Zion.
The Law contrasts with the Promise.
The earthly Jerusalem contrasts with the heavenly Jerusalem.
Bondage (the law) contrasts with freedom (grace in Christ).
The law is bearing few offspring (via the grace of the Day of Atonement) contrasts with grace producing multitudes.
Those under the law persecute those who are under grace.
The law is to be cast out contrasts the inheritance of those in Christ.
Life application: Paul’s contrasts are intended to show us the utter folly of pursuing deeds of the law in order to be justified. Don’t display utter folly! Trust Christ alone.
Thanking You today, O God, for this wonderful life You have given us. There are pains and there are setbacks, but there is also a better day ahead for those who have called on Christ. In Him, we can look beyond even the best days and see something infinitely better ahead. And we can look past the terrible days, knowing that they are a temporary glitch on the road to glory. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.