Thursday, January 31, 2019

Galatians Bible Study In Defense of Grace Lesson #5

Galatians 4:8-20 The argument from Paul's relationship with the Galatians

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4:8-11 Paul’ Personal Appeal to the Galatians

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  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? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

What was Paul’s accusing the Galatians of doing?
They were moving back and away from their firsthand knowledge of God to the same kind of knowledge that they had when they were idol worshippers.

Why did Paul a connection between idolatry and legalism?
Both were what he considered “weak and beggarly elements,” both moved them from freedom in their relationship with God to bondage based on things.

What things does Paul use as examples?
He said the Galatians were observing days, months, times and years. In other words they had begun to use things associated with God, (feasts, rites, etc) as their means of relating to God rather than grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It appears the Galatians may have become enamored with the elements of Jewish feasts and rites such as Passover, the seven feasts and the Jewish calendar.

Application: Can you think of other Christian groups that have readopted Jewish customs? What do you think Paul would say to them?

Argument from Paul’s personal relationship with the Galatians

Galatians 4:12-20 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.   Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.  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.  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.  Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?  They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.  But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.  My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,  I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

Vs. 12 What is Paul saying when he writes, “be as I am for I am as you are.”
Be a Christian free from the Law.  They should abandon those things that are threatening to bring bondage and be free as Paul is in Christ. In a sense he had become a Gentile by leaving those same things behind.

Ye have not injured me at all.
Paul had not been hurt by the Galatians when he first knew them, he still believed they would not bring him to injury now by the wrong action.

Vs 13 What infirmity was Paul reminding them of?
It appears that when he was with them he was sick but they did not discount him but instead saw him as an angel of the Lord. This again is a reminder of where the power of the gospel is found, not in the flesh but in itself and in the spirit, even when given from a weak and sick messenger.

Vs. 15 What type of relationship did Paul and the Galatians share?
Judging my his statement that they would have “plucked out their eyes for him,” Paul and the Galatians loved each other in the Gospel and in the work.

Vs. 15 Paul cannot believe that they have rejected not just the Gospel and grace but they have rejected him as well because he tells them the truth.

Vs. 17 They zealously affect you but now well. They would exclude you…
The idea here as they the Judaizes were very eager and passionate in bring in the Galatians to their view but that would also exclude the Galatians from Paul, and even from the truth lest that association affect them.

It is good to be zealously affected in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Paul chides them that they once cared for him and the truth with same eager affection while he was with them. It would have been good to continue that care even after he was no longer there.

Vs. 19 Paul says he “travails in birth” until Christ be formed in you, what does he mean?
He is not finished working, teaching or praying for them. As a mother has pain when she gives give birth, Paul is hurting for them, they are not delivered yet, they are not mature in Christ.

Vs. 20  Paul says he longs to be with them and, "Change my voice." What does he mean?
That if he were with them personally, he could change from the harsh, correction of a letter to a softer more emotional and tender appeal.

Vs. 21 What is Paul’s final personal warning to them?
He stands in doubt of them. Like people he once knew but no longer can even recognize. This is how shocking it is to him to see them walk away from Grace and back to works.

Galatians 4:21- 5:1 The argument from an Allegory 

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.  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.  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so it is now.  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.  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

What is an allegory?
A story or event which teaches a deeper truth than just that which is first seen.

Who are the character in this story and what do each represent?
Two sons of Abraham, Ismael the older and Isaac the younger.
The bondwoman, Haggar.
The freewoman, Sarah.
Ishmael the son of Haggar the slave represents the flesh, the law.
Isaac the son of Sarah the freewoman represents promise and grace.

What else do the two women and their sons represent?
Haggar (Agar) represent Mt. Sinai, the old covenant and the old Jerusalem. She represents bondage.
Sarah represents the New Jerusalem, freedom and the mother of all who are of grace through the promise.
Isaac represent us as the children of promise.

What is Paul’s final parallel from this allegory and the Galatians struggle?
He that was born after the flesh persecutes him that was born after the Spirit?

In what way does the flesh persecute even now?
In this time the Judaizers were afflicting the Galatians with a return to bondage. Today, the law afflicts grace and the freedom we have in Christ by driving us back to a form of legalism.

Vs. 30 What does Paul say is the remedy to this persecution, this struggle?
Cast out the bondwoman.  Just as God told Abraham to do in the Genesis account. Rid your life of the legalistic elements which bring you back under bondage and weaken grace and steal your liberty in Christ.

Why is 5:1 a conclusion rather than a beginning of the next section or chapter?
It is a conclusion as seen by the word therefore.  It summarizes and encapsulates the preceding arguments of Paul.

What is Paul's conclusion, his final thought to the doctrinal section of the letter to the Galatians?
Stand fast, in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


Paul makes his appeal both on a personal emotional level and also on a doctrinal, scriptural level. Both are meant to make sense to the Galatians, one by asking them to remember the fondness they had for their first teacher, Paul and the second by showing them from the Old Testament, that what they have as New Testament believers is far better than become Old Covenant law keepers.

For us it is a warning to stand fast in liberty and grace and to be very careful that we are not draw away from those blessing to a formal, ritualist type of Christian legalism that robs us of the joy we should have in our relationship with Jesus Christ who died that we might be free.

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