I have always enjoyed watching shows or movies with a good courtroom plot. Growing up Matlock was one of my favorites! The way he handled himself in the courtroom was just fun to watch...
Paul himself was one who was comfortable in a courtroom...
A skilled and well trained man in law (a pharisee)
Skilled as a defendant as he would face many in a court setting including King Agrippa
Typically in the courtroom there is a decision being made and two cases being presented
Paul, as he has been skillfully writing this letter to the churches in Galatia has been presenting his case and refuting what has been told by the Judaizers. In his defence he has:
Defended and shown his authority as an apostle and the authority of what is being said and written in this letter
He has shown how salvation is by faith alone not the law
As he has presented his case, he has approached it from multiple angles
He has refuted well what the Judaizers where confusing these new believers in Galatia with
We can so quickly be confused when we deviate from the truth...
Discerning Religions of the World
Some statistics have stated that there are over 4,200 various religions in the world today.
If you took the time to study them all at the rate of 1 hour a day for each one it would take over 11.5 years to look into each one
However, when you begin to compare them all it really breaks down to 2 systems of belief!
1- Salvation by Faith in the finished and complete work of Christ / no merit or work of the individual
2- Salvation by earning it or achieving it by works done by the individual
One of my favorite parts of watching Matlock was his closing argument… Isn’t that the best!? As the one presenting their case:
they save their most powerful punch for the closing!
Pertinent questions are asked
And a decision is laid out before the jury
Today in our passage Paul is giving his closing argument as he concludes his case between the two systems of belief in this world...
A Provoking Question
Is asked by Paul to open His closing argument in Galatians 4:21
21 Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?
Note a couple things here...
These Galatians are not a lost cause… they want to be under the law, they are considering this.
Second… these people really have been confused and mislead! They didn't really even know fully what the law said.
they heard the things that were appealing
they heard what sounded like being “more spiritual”
As he presents this question he gives is closing argument to make his point for those that feel what they do in the flesh could be greater than the work of the Spirit.
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23 But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise.
Two Women Two Sons
Paul is taking us back in history to Abraham and his wife Sarah and Sarah’s handmaiden Hagar and their two boys.
We have discussed the promise God gave Abraham in Genesis… that he would be the father of many nations! Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:6
Here is what occured:
Abraham is given promise
After waiting over a decade they decide to help god with His promise
Sarah gives Abraham her handmaiden Hagar to bear a son on her behalf
Ishmael is born
God over another decade later says Ishmael will not be the son who receives the promise/covenant
At age 90 and 100 Issac is born to Abraham and Sarah
However Ishmael mocked Issac and due to this Hagar and Ishmael were banished cast out because Issac was the son of promise not of the flesh.
Now Paul knows and understands these are real events and this is God working. These events were recorded in scripture for us to know and remember.
We must understand this as we read the following verses… Galatians 4:24-27
24 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. 25 Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. 27 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.”
Paul here takes a real event in scripture, and as he is lead by the Spirit presents an allegorical truth for his readers. God is using Paul to write to the Galatians and to us today scripture, the very Words of God!
Paul is not teaching his readers to take scripture and interpret scriptures allegorically.
When we approach the study and interpretation of scripture we need to understand it in a literal approach. Look at the:
If we approach scripture looking at it allegorically or figuratively we can leave with many interpretations and beliefs… !!!
story of the man who saw a barn with arrows in it, every single one had hit the bulls-eye!
How do you do it? Shot the bow, arrow went flying into the air and hit the side of the barn,
farmer went over and painted a bulls-eye around the arrow.
If we do not stick with a literal approach to the study of God’s Word our arrow will fly wherever our desires, culture, or comfort desires… yet we will think we are right on target! Soon you have over 4200 religions in this world.
We don’t take it as prophecy, poetry, illustration, parables, or allegory unless the Word of God is stating as such.
Paul here gives us an allegorical illustration given to him by the Holy Spirit as a comparison between the 2 world belief systems in this world...
Ishmael, the son of slavery Isaac, the son of freedom
Birth “according to the flesh” Birth “through the promise”
Old Covenant New Covenant
Mount Sinai (Law) [Mount Zion]
Present Jerusalem Heavenly Jerusalem
Paul challenges his Galatian readers, who do you want to be descendants of? Slave or Free!? Galatians 4:28-5:1
28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 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. 30 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.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. 1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
What Will The Verdict Be?
Essentially Paul stands before the jury… presents his final punch… making a bold statement and giving a clear choice to be made!
Note this… those who are in line of the free woman. those who are free will experience persecution by those who are enslaved to the thinking of this world. And we know who the prince of this world is and where this world gets its thinking from!
What will your verdict be???
Will you give ear to those trying to bring you back under law and legalism, essentially those trying to convince you to earn it yourself?!
Or will you endure the suffering, persecution, for a time
Most of Paul’s afflictions came from the Jewish people who refused Christ and wanted to be under the law not Christ
Christ died for our freedom… we stand not of ourselves but in Christ!
Even though this is Paul’s closing argument the letter is not over...
He assumes freedom will be your verdict
He assumes his audience will see only Christ can do what we could not
And the last two chapters goes on explaining how we can LIVE, Walk, and STAND in this freedom we have in Christ!