The earthly Jerusalem is not Sarah, but a part of Hagar. Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete) /. Which things are an allegory.Allegories are not very convincing, but like pictures they visualize a matter. If I would keep silent, all would be well, and the Pope would no more persecute me. "I am not angry with you," says Paul. How could you so quickly stray from grace into the Law, from freedom into bondage?". Galatians 4. Brethren, I beseech you ... Ye have not injured me at all.Would you call it beseeching the Galatians to call them "bewitched," "disobedient," "crucifiers of Christ"? At first, yes, many were delighted with our doctrine and received it gladly. Commentary on Galatians 4:21-27 (Read Galatians 4:21-27) The difference between believers who rested in Christ only, and those who trusted in the law, is explained by the histories of Isaac and Ishmael. A teacher chastises the pupil to reform him. They say it would be better if we would make some slight concession rather than cause such commotion and controversy in the Church regarding an article which is not even one of the fundamental doctrines. We are "the temple of the Holy Ghost." Martin Luther's Commentary on GalatiansGalatians 4. of The Jews were quite certain that the Church would not long endure. St. Bernard was one of the best of the medieval saints. In Christ we perceive that God is not a cruel judge, but a most loving and merciful Father who to bless and to save us "spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all." But they deceive themselves and become "vain in their imaginations," as Paul says, Romans 1:21. The false apostles constrained the Galatians to observe these Jewish feasts under threat of damnation. These are mundane matters which cannot save the sinner. If we sin, we sin not on purpose, but unwittingly, and we are sorry for it. With this teaching they tormented men's consciences, excommunicated Christ from the Church, and limited the operations of the Holy Ghost. The Roman theologians teach that no man can know for a certainty whether he stands in the favor of God or not. And you are slaves. The devil accused him: "These people will all perish, for they cannot escape. Unbelievers have always predicted the death of the Church. Christ is the only means whereby we can know God and His will. Let Christ be in it and not the Law. The anticipation of his joy would kill him. (Acts 24:5.) Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? (Ecclesiastes 9:1.) Yet the Law treated this innocent, just, and blessed Lamb of God as cruelly as it treated us. Such mere outward decency does not constitute Christianity. The birth of a child is an occasion that evokes family, religious, and social traditions. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Although I am absent in the flesh, I am with you in spirit and in my doctrine which you ought to retain by all means because through it you received the Holy Spirit.". His birth makes him an heir, not his labors. Jerusalem here means the universal Christian Church on earth. By my doctrine I called you out of the darkness of ignorance into the wonderful light of the knowledge of God. You do not recognize me. To make sure, he introduces another illustration. Mem.i. When a father corrects his son it means as if he were saying, "My son, I beseech you, be a good boy. ", They zealously affect you, but not well.Paul takes the false apostles to task for their flattery. Train your conscience to believe that God approves of you. (Romans 13:5.). This is the sentence which God pronounces upon the Ishmaelites, the papists, and all others who trust in their own merits, and persecute the Church of Christ. Paul knew it and therefore has high praise for the Galatians because they over looked his afflictions and received him like an angel. You cannot curse me any more." The name and doctrine of Paul became obnoxious to them. If there is anything wrong with it, it is not our fault. Galatians 4:22-31 Commentary - Flesh versus Spirit; WILLIAM BARCLAY. Did not the whole world seethe with unrest as the Gospel was preached in the whole world? It made Him guilty of the sins of the whole world. They knew that they "ought to obey God rather than men," and that it was better for the world to be upset than to be ignorant of Christ. Commentary on Isaiah 61:10—62:3. "I do not know how to take you. What He has promised He will perform. Like Paul, all pastors and ministers ought to have much sympathy for their poor straying sheep, and instruct them in the spirit of meekness. Having first fortified his case with invincible arguments, he can afford to inject this allegory to add impressiveness and beauty to his presentation. When parents have punished their children they give them apples, pears, and other good things to show them that they mean well. It says: "My Father, I am in great trouble and you seem so far away. He is that before he goes to work. (Romans 3:11.) (Luke 12:49.). If we think of Christ as Paul here depicts Him, we shall never go wrong. They live in security without conflict. When Paul declares that we are delivered from the curse of the Law he means the whole Law, particularly the moral law which more than the other laws accuses, curses, and condemns the conscience. When a believer accepts the heavenly gifts of the Gospel he is in heaven. (Genesis 21:12. The fact that he is again walking about as a roaring lion to stir up riots and disorders is a sure sign that he has begun to feel the effect of our preaching. If you experience the ingratitude of men, don't let it get you down. These directions may be changed or omitted altogether, as long as no offense is given to the weak. The children of the Law will always persecute the children of the Gospel. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia. (John 12:47.) His Son, miraculously made of the substance of a woman - A virgin, without the concurrence of a man. We seek the honor of Christ and the welfare of men. James Rosscup writes that "This was the great work in the life of the versatile Dean of Canterbury. We are not like these Jews, the children of the bondwoman, the Law, who were cast out of the house by Jesus. For that matter,--the Law continues to reveal sin. (I Cor. We shall understand why a Christian observes laws: For the peace of the world, out of gratitude to God, and for a good example that others may be attracted to the Gospel. We never come by this love naturally, neither can it be enforced by laws. Perhaps He prefers Hagar for the honor.". Let us not fail to thank God for delivering us from the doctrine of doubt. This personal appeal (4:12-20) is followed by a scriptural appeal (4:21-31). ", Or rather are known of God.The Apostle turns the foregoing sentence around. Galatians 4 Commentary; Galatians 5 Commentary; Galatians 6 Commentary; See another more in depth VERSE BY VERSE commentary on Galatians 4 on site. This passage from Galatians 4 reflects on God’s sending of his Son in the context of a larger theological argument about what it means to be children of God and co-heirs with Christ. The allegory which Paul is about to bring is taken from the Book of Genesis which he calls the Law. (John 8:15.) "As long as an heir is under age he is treated very much like a servant. At the same time Paul indicts the false apostles. Although He was the Lord of the Law, He voluntarily placed Himself under the Law and permitted it to exercise dominion over Him, indeed to accuse and to condemn Him. The Law condemned Him to the shameful death on the Cross. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.This is Paul's allegory. They were not made of iron. To man's reason our faith looks rather forlorn. Say with Christ: "They hated me without cause." It may be that the similarity of these two names gave Paul his idea for this allegory. This has been frequently deplored even by some of the ancient fathers who felt that Paul should have written "virgin" instead of woman. If it had been necessary you would have plucked out your eyes and sacrificed your lives for me." They only wear each other out. Do not permit the Law to lie in your conscience. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.The Jews claimed to be the children of God because they were the children of Abraham. Christ Obedient to the Law. He did not resign his office because he knew that the Gospel he preached was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. In this way Paul brings the false apostles into suspicion. Seldom, if ever, are their efforts crowned with gratitude. Therefore he talks of Christ continually. And that would leave me out. ", Ye have not injured me at all. This way he did not know how to deal with them by letter. Neither do the ordinances of Moses or those of the Pope concern us. (Ephesians 2:3.) So long as He sits at the right hand of God to intercede for us, we have nothing to fear from the anger of God. Yes, if a person could perfectly believe this he would not long remain alive. Without Christ men will entertain false ideas about God, call their ideas what you like, the laws of Moses, the ordinances of the Pope, the Koran of the Mohammedans, or what have you. Unless a person has a thorough knowledge of Christian doctrine he had better leave allegories alone. We quarrel with them because they refuse to have Jesus' merit count alone for righteousness. He saw the people of Israel wedged between the Sea and the approaching armies of Pharaoh. On one occasion Jesus remarked: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." When we have a love for the Word of God, and gladly hear, talk, write, and think of Christ, we are to know that this inclination toward Christ is the gift and work of the Holy Ghost. When he was with you he acted like a father, but now he acts like a dictator." They never gave it any thought that there was a condition attached to the Law which reads: "If you keep the commandments it shall be well with thee.". As the children of God we are the heirs of His eternal heaven. You have lost your influence forever. "But he," says Paul, "that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit." Thou art no more - You who are Christians. It is a matter of birth, not of exertion. We take great pains in setting forth the doctrine of faith by preaching and by writing. Satan's satellites softsoap the people. "The fullness of the time" means when the time of the Law was fulfilled and Christ was revealed. 2 The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck," etc. When the Law exercises its higher function it accuses and condemns the conscience. But I know I am your child, because you are my Father for Christ's sake. Galatians /. The Law does not justify; it does not bring a person to heaven. Paul knew that the false apostles would misconstrue his censure of the Galatians to their own advantage and say: "So this is your Paul whom you praise so much. The pope commands us to look away from the promises of God in Christ to our own merit. (II Cor. The conscience ought to know only Christ. The Law is weak and poor, the sinner is weak and poor--two feeble beggars trying to help each other. When men embrace errors, the tie of Christian love is broken. Indeed he does. The monk fancies he is doing the will of God if he performs his vows. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. In order to make sure that he leaves no stone unturned in his effort to recall them to the Gospel of Christ, he chides, entreats, praises, and blames the Galatians, trying every way to hit the right note and tone of voice. But when the fulness of the time — Appointed by the Father, Galatians 4:2. This is unfortunate, since his works contain priceless gems of information that are found nowhere except in the ancient writings of the Jews. Isaiah calls the Church barren because her children are born without effort by the Word of faith through the Spirit of God. He knows people like illustrations and stories. Good word studies and various illustrations. In so far as the Law impels us to Christ it renders excellent service. (Romans 8:1.) Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.Sarah's demand that the bondwoman and her son be cast out of the house was undoubtedly a blow to Abraham. What changed their attitude toward us? The apostle, in this chapter, is still carrying on the same general design as in the former-to recover these Christians from the impressions made upon them by the judaizing teachers, and to represent their weakness and folly in suffering themselves to be drawn away … They also foresaw the dissensions that would creep into the Church. Paul makes it clear enough that it takes more than an Abrahamic pedigree to be a child of God. That we might receive the adoption of sons. Our certainty is of Christ, that mighty Hero who overcame the Law, sin, death, and all evils. But as that he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. He submitted Himself under the Law to redeem us who were under the Law." Galatians 4 Commentary, One of over 110 Bible commentaries freely available, this commentary, by the leading authority in the Church of Christ, presents a verse level look at the Bible. And then the people started in on Moses. Paul beseeches the Galatians to look upon his correction as a sign that he really cared for them. The fact that the medicine is bitter is no fault of the physician. He did not always entertain the sweet and glad expectation of his heavenly inheritance. We ought to feel sure that we stand in the grace of God, not in view of our own worthiness, but through the good services of Christ. They act as though the Word of God does not concern them. They remain under the Law, sin, death, and the power of the devil. I would have been pleased with this turn of the allegory. He did not come into the world for the purpose of teaching the Law, as little as it was the purpose of His coming to perform miracles. Often those who should be his best friends, are his worst enemies. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? The Law forces us into the arms of Christ, "who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Those who refuse to be justified by Christ are idolaters. How much more will He grant unto me everlasting life as a due payment in return for my many good deeds and merits." No wonder that our doctrine is certified, because it does not rest in our own strength, our own conscience, our own feelings, our own person, our own works. Sarah, the Church, as the bride of Christ bears free children who are not subject to the Law. He must love his people deeply; never for a selfish motive. He maintains that their zeal is mere pretense to deceive the Galatians. Christ, according to Paul, was not an agent of the Law but a patient of the Law. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. David was a holy man and a good king. (Romans 16:18.). And this little cry of the Spirit transcends the hullabaloo of the Law, sin, death, and the devil, and finds a hearing with God. Indeed, the Galatians are to be commended for receiving the Gospel from a man as unimposing and afflicted all around as Paul was. From now to the end of the Epistle the Apostle writes mostly of Christian conduct. But the conscience finds quick relief in the words of the Apostle: "Christ has redeemed us from the law." They labor and bear the burden and the heat of the day, and bring forth many children, children that are bastards like themselves, children born to be put out of the house like Ishmael to perish forever. Whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage.The Apostle pointedly asks the Galatians whether they desire to be in bondage again to the Law. But once inside the monastery the recruits are told to doubt the promises of God. People tell us: "Physician, heal thyself." Bibliography InformationLuther, Martin. But because we often feel fear and doubt we cannot come to that happy certainty. D Edmond Hiebert - Uses author's own translation. You stutter so much. The heart does not feel His helpful presence. This praise Paul bestows on none of the other churches to which he wrote. The fact that I am now absent from you ought not to change your attitude towards me. 4. The more general term "woman" indicates that Christ was born a true man. Our opponents will bear us out when we say that we never fail to urge respect for the constituted authorities, because that is the will of God. Now that the more important part of his Epistle has been finished, he realizes that he has handled the Galatians too roughly. Paul is an expert at allegories. The Gospel of the Cross which the Church proclaims does not have the appeal that the Law has for men, and therefore it does not find many adherents. As Christ is greater than the Law, so much more excellent is the righteousness of Christ than the righteousness of the Law. In his letter to the Philippians Paul makes mention of the restoration of Epaphroditus as a special act of mercy on the part of God, "lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. It accused Him of blasphemy and treason. "Ye are known of God" means that God brings His Gospel to our attention, and endows us with faith and the Holy Spirit. Besides, the devil, our adversary, goeth about seeking to devour us by roaring: "God is angry at you and is going to destroy you forever." It is built on a better foundation. We are children of the promise like Isaac, born of grace and faith unto an everlasting inheritance. Until we enter upon our heavenly inheritance we are only to have our little faith to go by. They are like spiders that suck venom out of sweet and fragrant flowers. We would not be so careful about this life. Nevertheless, God knows you." But when it is a matter of justification before God, Paul had to speak disparagingly of the Law, because the Law has nothing to do with justification. And the Holy Spirit never disappoints us. Yet most people today have never heard of John Gill. Only the acts of a Christian are truly good and acceptable to God, because they are done in faith, with a cheerful heart, out of gratitude to Christ. They are slaves to the Law, sin and death. First Reading. But with the passage of the years her hope died out. These effects are elements of the world. He said: "I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled?" What a wonderful gift heaven is, man's heart cannot conceive, much less describe. He calls it the elements of the world, the weak and beggarly elements of the world. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?Here Paul would have closed his Epistle because he did not know what else to say. Therefore it should not be allowed to rule in our conscience, particularly in view of the fact that Christ paid so great a price to deliver the conscience from the tyranny of the Law. But they revealed themselves as false brethren and deadly enemies of the Gospel. This renewal by the Holy Spirit may not be conspicuous to the world, but it is patent to us by our better judgment, our improved speech, and our unashamed confession of Christ. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. To hold on to it, that is the trick. The inestimable mercy of God is sufficiently set forth by the fact that His Son was born of a woman. He is not permitted to order his own affairs. But they hate my doctrine and want to stamp it out. Especially valuable for the historical background material presented. (Psalm 22:7.) In other words: "I am the cause of all your troubles. But the setting-up exercises of the monks draw great applause. Wherever this opinion holds sway the promises of God are denied, Christ is demoted, hypocrisy and idolatry are established. "Christ," says he, "is the Son of God and the son of a woman. Paul knew what to expect of the false apostles and therefore he is worried. Thou givest heaven to me, not because I earned it, but because Thou hast earned it for me." The true God has never yet smiled upon a person for his charity or virtues, but only for the sake of Christ's merits. But ours is a doctrine of grace and peace. In calling the Law "the elements of the world" Paul means to say that the Law is something material, mundane, earthly. But because life cannot go on without some ordinances, the Gospel permits regulations to be made in the Church in regard to special days, times, places, etc., in order that the people may know upon what day, at what hour, and in what place to assemble for the Word of God. We have Christ to thank for everything. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. That is right. Revelation 13:8 says that the Lamb (Christ) was slain "from the foundation of the world. (Acts 2:3.) It is hard for a man to defend his cause at a distance, especially when he has reason to think that he personally has fallen into disfavor. Such discipline is good for him, otherwise he would waste his inheritance in no time. Say: "I am all right with God. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." By revealing the evil that is in us it creates a longing in the heart for the better things of God. Paul, however, refers particularly to the abolition of the moral law. (John 3:18.) The acceptance of Jewish legalism is a return to bondage (Galatians 4:8-11) i. What is wrong with the Gospel? God never promised to save anybody for his religious observance of ceremonies and ordinances. It was a sideline with Him. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?This concludes Paul's discourse on justification. In the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans the Apostle describes this crying of the Spirit as "groanings which cannot be uttered." Whoever praises Luther is a worse sinner than an idolater, perjurer, or thief. The malady calls for a bitter medicine. 3 So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces [] of the world. "He was made under the law." No matter how barren and forsaken, how weak and desolate the Church may seem, she alone is really fruitful before God. Although the Law has many children, they are not free. The fact that the Spirit of Christ in our hearts cries unto God and makes intercession for us with groanings should reassure us greatly. But now comes the Gospel and says: "Because you do not do these things, you cannot live in them." Secondly, because Thou hast purchased heaven for me by Thy suffering and death. The moment I open my mouth the Pope begins to fume and to rage. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law. To doubt the good will of God is an inborn suspicion of God with all of us. (Psalm 109:4.). How could you so soon forsake the light and return to darkness? "In the course of his Epistle he calls this promise of the blessing righteousness, life, deliverance from the Law, the testament, etc. If you were, you would know and love me. Thus Christ banished the Law from the conscience. The activities of a Christian are not sensational. ", We request the same consideration for ourselves. I. Christ's obedience to the law was not a matter of course, following upon His incarnation. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10). Of Paul they said: "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." Those who seek to be justified by the Law grow weaker and more destitute right along. I would not be surprised to see my church perverted by some fanatic through one or two sermons. "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." So also in Ephesians 1:3, "Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." He throws it in for good measure. ", To this the Galatians reply: "Why, then, do you say that we are perverted, that we have forsaken the true doctrine, that we are foolish, bewitched, etc., if you are not angry? Instead of worshipping the true God, they worship the vain imaginations of their foolish hearts. His person is divine and human. We would not be so attached to the world and the things of the world. 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