Galatians 4: February 1997

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The Apostle Paul has been speaking very sharply to the Gentile believers in Galatia. They had believed the gospel of Jesus Christ and had turned from their heathen darkness to the light of the knowledge of God. Now false Jewish teachers had come among them and had begun to teach them that they must observe the law, as the Jews did. This teaching was robbing them of their wonderful liberty as the sons of God, who, by the Spirit, addressed God as Father. The bad teaching sought to bring them back into bondage to the Jewish law.
Not only did these false teachers seek to turn the Galatian believers from the simplicity and liberty of the gospel, but they also tried to undermine the authority of the Apostle Paul. The believers had initially accepted Paul as a representative (angel) of God. There was nothing they would not have done for him or given to him. But now that they were listening to the message of the false teachers, they were rejecting Paul and were observing special days and times, as though in doing so they might find favor with God. Their actions caused him to become afraid that all of his labor in the gospel for them was in vain.
Paul, again going through the pain (travail) of seeing Christ formed afresh in the Galatian believers, points out to them the difference between the law, which they were now desiring to live under, and grace, which was their proper place of privilege and blessing. As believers in the Lord Jesus they were connected with Isaac, the promised heir. But by listening to the false teachers, they were connecting themselves with the son of Abraham’s bondwoman Hagar. They were leaving their place of freedom and liberty and placing themselves under bondage.
The Apostle closes this portion by showing them that Hagar and her son were cast out by Abraham. There was no liberty and blessing in their seeking to morally take the place as “children of the bondwoman”; they were children of the “free.”
1. Paul forcibly brings before the Gentile believers that accepting the teaching of the Jews who had come among them was taking away the liberty they had in Christ and was bringing them into the bondage of the law. What was the reaction of the Jewish leaders when the Lord told them that He, the Son, alone could make them free? John 8:___
2. How were the children of Israel delivered from the bondage they were under in Egypt? Acts 7:___
3. Believers have received the “Spirit of adoption” rather than the spirit of bondage. What does this Spirit of adoption cause the believer to cry?
Romans 8:___
4. What was the reason given by the writer of Hebrews that the Lord Jesus partook of “flesh and blood”? Hebrews 2:___
5. Like the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter had to contend with false teachers. These teachers promised freedom while they themselves were serving wickedness. How does Peter describe the true moral condition of these false teachers? 2 Peter 2:___