Galatians 4

Law and grace are an impossible mixture, for salvation is wholly by faith in Christ and our son-ship is immediately testified to in the heart by the incoming of the Holy Spirit, upon the basis of Christ’s finished work as the full satisfaction of the law. Let us not, therefore, fall again in bondage to the legality of the law, which is merely an element of salvation to reveal to us the inveterate sinfulness of our nature and the impossibility of saving ourselves.

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.

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?

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.

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?

17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.

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,

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?

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.

Galatians 4:1-11 – ​Live as Sons, not as Bondmen

   The Apostle often uses the word elements or “rudiments,” Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8, 20. High and holy as was the Mosaic legislation in itself, yet when it was imposed upon inquiring minds as necessary to salvation, Paul spoke of it as belonging to an age that had passed away and to a system that was already antiquated. The whole purpose of God in sending forth His Son was to redeem us from under the Law, that we might enjoy the liberty and joy of the Father’s home. We are no longer infants under age, or servants, but sons, and if sons, then heirs of God.
   There is often a slavishness among professing Christians that is sadly out of keeping with their rightful position in Christ. Do not be scrupulous or over-anxious. Do not be punctilious. Live in your Father’s house in constant freedom of heart. Remember that you are under the same roof as Christ, and are therefore allowed to avail yourself of all His grace and help. Refuse no task, however irksome, that God sets before you; and do not worry about irksome rules or petty vexations. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Galatians 4:12-20 – ​Truthful and Devoted Dealing

   How great a loss is it when we allow ourselves to be diverted from the simplicity of faith to trust in ceremonies, rites, and a prescribed routine! Inevitably these bring us into bondage. Let us therefore not pay slavish attention to the outward, but seek to have Christ within, and from within He will become the energy and passion of a new life. Each time we yield to the prompting of His Spirit, there is less of self and more of Him.
   In Galatians 4:15 we perhaps have a hint as to the nature of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. This reference has led many to suppose that he suffered from acute ophthalmia, or inflammation of the eyes. But nothing diverted him from his soul-travail on behalf of his converts, Galatians 4:19. What a beautiful analogy we may trace between the formation of Christ in the soul and the formation of a chick in the egg! At first the tiny germ of life is hardly discernible amid the viscous matter in which it floats; but, day by day, there is less of this and more of the tiny creature which is being formed. So in regeneration the life of Christ is implanted, which will continue to increase until all of self will be lost in the one infilling Presence. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Galatians 4:19—Until Christ be formed in you.

​   Christ is in us, if we truly believe in Him, as the sap in the vine, the air in the lung, the steam in the engine; but He may not be formed in us.
   Is it not possible that the indefinable sensation of joy and pain, of yearning and unfulfilled desire, are all attributable to this deep-seated process? Christ is being formed within our hearts, dispossessing the old evil self-life, and taking its place.

       “O Jesus Christ, grow Thou in me,
          And all things else recede;
       My heart be daily nearer Thee,
          From sin be daily freed.
       “Make this poor self grow less and less,
          Be thou my life and aim;
       Oh, make me daily through thy grace
          More meet to bear thy name.”

   The mention of travail in this connection suggests that this in-forming of Christ does not take place apart from suffering. And probably it is at times when we are in a furnace of pain that the Christ in us grows most quickly. “When my pain became unbearable,” says one, “I became conscious that there is a part of our being which no physical pain, and no mental anguish, can disturb. And there came to me such a sense of God—so enfolding, so assuring, so satisfying—that I could as well doubt the shining of the sun.” The Comforter had come—Christ was being formed within.
   In the egg, when first laid, there is a tiny point of life amid the thick, viscous fluid; but this gradually increases, while the other diminishes, and at last there is hardly a trace of this left, and the chick is formed, the egg-shell is broken, and the tiny feathered thing steps forth. The chick is formed in the shell. —Our Daily Homily

Galatians 4:21-31 – ​“Children of Promise”

   In this allegory of Sarah and Hagar, it is important to notice that Paul is not dealing with the principle of evil within our hearts, but with the attempt to mingle two dispensations or methods of religious experience—the Law and the Gospel.
   He says that the poor slave girl, Hagar, whom Abraham bought as a personal attendant for his wife, stands for Mount Sinai, the mountain of the Law, in the district of Arabia, from which she may have originally come. Hagar also stands for the Judaizers, whose headquarters were at Jerusalem, while their emissaries everywhere dogged the Apostle’s movements, insisting that his converts must come under the old Levitical ceremonialism. Paul says that the Galatians must choose between their slavish observance of outward ritual and a simple faith in the finished work of Jesus; and exhorts them to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, which savor of the flesh, and to give themselves to the service of the Spirit, which stands for freedom, peace, and joy in God. Let us also guard against a religious scrupulosity and subservience to the outward, and cultivate a quick sensitiveness to the Holy Spirit. —Through the Bible Day by Day