Last time I wrote about Paul wondering if he had labored in vain over the Galatians. They seem to be having all kinds of issues between the Judaizers (those proclaiming you must follow the Torah to be saved) and the traditions and customs of their previous life. Next we will look at another passage in Galatians 4 where Paul is again discussing being under the law. This is a phrase we dealt with before here and here.
Galatians 4:21-31…Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. For it is written,
“Rejoice, barren woman who does not bear;
Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor;
For more numerous are the children of the desolate
Than of the one who has a husband.”
And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say?
“Cast out the bondwoman and her son,
For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.”
So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
We see the phrase under the law immediately in this passage. Please refer to the links above where I already discuss this issue of being under the law. It means you have sinned and you have nothing that has covered that sin. If you try and go about salvation on your own you will be under the law. Those who have a true relationship with Yeshua are not under the law because His grace is covering you. This does not mean you have a license to sin. Sin is lawlessness meaning you do not observe G-d’s commandments. One can argue all day the commandments of the Brit Chadasha (what you may call the “New” Covenant) are a different set of commandments, but no where are we told to follow a new set or that G-d changed the commandments.
Paul then provides another drash on the bondwoman and the free woman. The son born of the bondwoman was works of the flesh and cannot save you. Avraham and Sarah took matters into their own hands and tried to fulfill G-d’s promise. The son of the promise, was Isaac. He came as the promise from G-d. It is a great illustration of what the Torah is to the promise to Avraham. One cannot be obtain salvation via their own works, it is only through the Messiah that we obtain salvation. Torah does not create slavery, but going through life without a relationship with the Messiah is slavery. You are a slave to the certificate of death that has been decreed against you.
This is the same story as the Exodus. G-d redeemed Israel. The Israelites were not able to leave based on anything they did. It was all G-d. Then after He redeemed them, He tells the Israelites if you obey my voice I will make you my treasured people among all the nations. It is always salvation then obedience. If you are acting in disobedience you cannot claim the promise. This is what Paul was addressing in Romans 11:17-24 amongst other places as well.
Paul continues on to say that true believers are of the free woman…of the Spirit and not the flesh. This reminds me of the drash my Rabbi gave on Ezekiel 11:19 and Ezekiel 36:26 and related those two to Romans 7:25-8:14. Great drash which I did write up one time. I will have to post it here sometime soon. Alright, that takes us through Galatians 4, so next time we will start in Galatians 5.
Any questions? Do you see this differently? How so?
Until next time…Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!