Notes and References
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"The person who can rightly divide Law and Gospel has reason to thank God. He is a true theologian." Martin Luther
1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Paul makes a distinction here. Christ came to redeem "them", not "us". Paul also concludes himself as a Gentile by saying "we", not as a Jew. The Jews were under the Mosaic Law. And because Jesus Christ came to redeem "them", His redemption also purchased "us". vs 28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Paul says here we are all adopted sons and heirs, all men and women. Heirs to what? The kingdom of God.
8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9 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?
Paul is not talking about sin here. He is talking about the Mosaic Law and circumcision as weak and beggarly! Peter called it a yoke.
Acts 15:10 "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?"
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
How can we not see as Christians how we have also fallen into the trap of self-righteousness, with our holy days and Sundays. We raise up the tables of stone as though they are sanctified objects. They are not our law! We quote Leviticus and Deuteronomy when it is convenient then remain silent when it does not fit our views. We pronounce the cursings and withhold the blessings of Malachi on believers if they do not conform to our views or give to our needs and wants. Perverted!
12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. 13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14 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. 15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Something happened in Paul's relationship with these believers. He was suffering when he first met them and preached anyway and they were blessed! The Galatians loved him to the point they would have sacrificed themselves for him if it would have helped him. These pseudadelphos - fake brothers - persuaded these believers against Paul. As he writes this letter he magnifies his office. He reminds them of his mighty miracles. He questions them as to their own salvation experience in the Holy Spirit and how they received it.
In his final days on earth Paul writes these words to Timothy.
2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me;
Paul shows his scholarship in the scriptures by writing these tough sayings that have to be read over and over to be understood and comprehended.
They are like complex math equations, if you know the formulas you can solve them, but if you do not know even the basics you cannot comprehend the methods or the why. You will struggle moving higher to more complex equations. Paul can be so simple as to explain to his Gentiles simple faith in Christ, but when he argues Mosaic Law, his tutelage of Gamaliel surfaces and you see the full complexity of Mosaic Law and Paul's extreme knowledge of it. Even Peter stated as much.
2 Peter 3
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
In this, his last epistle, Peter calls Paul "our beloved brother" and recognizes that Paul's wisdom came from the Holy Spirit as being "given".
17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
These men preaching to follow Mosaic Law are bigots.
18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
Paul has to present his gospel again! He had to start all over. Paul loves these people as his own and with a father's heart!
20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
The law sounds good on the surface, but these have been duped into giving up freedom to bondage. Paul is not harsh but he confronts them. What are you thinking?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Paul uses this allegory to explain the difference between faith and works. Ishmael was a forced child upon a slave woman, not by the promise of God but by Abraham's own making or his own fleshly works to get things done or make God's word happen. Isaac was a miracle child born by faith to a hundred year old woman. Now fast forward. Paul explains why the fleshly Jews persecute those of faith. Worldly Mosaic Law verses the Holy Spirit. Paul tells the Galatians to cast out the Law and the earthly Jerusalem!
Paul's letter is written to ensure that Christians hold fast to his gospel which is faith alone in Jesus Christ who brings justification, righteousness, salvation, and everlasting life.