Galatians 4:1 Now, I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he is the lord of all.
If someone inherits a huge estate but is still a child, they need to mature and learn how to handle that responsibility before that responsibility can be given to them.
4:2 And the child is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 4:3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.
We were placed in this physical world so that we might learn obedience to God, and so that we might experience its evils and learn to trust in God.
4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 4:5 to redeem them which were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Christ became flesh and came under the potential penalty of the law for any possible sin. Mary herself having at some point in her life committed some sin for sure, as we all have; and she was worthy to die as we all are.
Jesus Christ died for her as much as for anybody else. For we are all facing the same penalty for breaking the law until we sincerely repent and STOP sinning and the atoning sacrifice of Christ is applied to us.
It is when we have sincerely repented, and committed and dedicated ourselves to go and sin no more that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can be applied to us and we may then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit by which we may overcome all sin so that we might receive the adoption of God as His sons.
4:6 And because you are [adopted] sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
The Spirit of the son, the Spirit of Jesus Christ; is the Holy Spirit of God. And Jesus Christ said, “I can do nothing of myself, all things I have done by the Father” (John 5:30); And again, he said: “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10).
And that same Spirit will be given to us and we will be able to cry, Father, Father, with true genuine love and have a real, true, genuine relationship, a father-son relationship with God the Father through the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us.
We with the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us; will love God the Father, will obey God the Father and we will please God the Father in Christ-like zeal: And we will have the same kind of relationship with God the Father that Jesus Christ had.
If we do not love and keep the whole Word of God with dedicated zeal; then we do not have the Holy Spirit of God; we are of another spirit.
4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
That is, when we have that kind of relationship with God the Father and we become sons of the Father, we are also heirs and will receive an inheritance from the Father of eternal life with Him even as Christ did.
We will be a part of God’s kingdom. Christ will be King of kings over all the earth; and we will have a part, receiving a portion of that inheritance working with Christ as younger brothers and fellow heirs.
4:8 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are not gods. 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather you are known of God, how is it, how can you turn again to the weaker and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire to be in bondage?
I ask as Paul did: If we have been justified by repentance and faith. You who are circumcised in heart with the circumcision of Christ into a New and better Covenant; why do you want to remain in the sin you were delivered from?
Why do you compromise with the Word of God and call the Sabbath holy and then openly pollute it? or by becoming lax in any zeal to keep God’s Word?
Why would you want to go back into the bondage of sin, again facing the death penalty for sin and law breaking, when you have been liberated from bondage to sin and delivered from that death sentence for our sins, through repentance and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ?
4:10 For you observe days, and months, and times, and years.
This is about various Pharisaic traditions; fasting two or three times a week and doing special things on certain days, and today men even using prayer shawls and wearing skull caps . Paul is talking about traditions of men here; he is not talking about God’s commanded Sabbath or God’s commanded Holy Days, or the Word of God. He is talking about the traditions of men, as he says. It is also about the nonscriptural traditions of men today.
Paul is explaining about coming again into the weak and beggarly elements [worldly man devised religious traditions] of this world, instead of living by every Word of God.
The things of God are not weak and beggarly. They are holy and right and just and good as Paul says in another place, the law of God is holy.
Why then do you seek to turn away from the things of God to go back to these beggarly, weak things? To go back to observing all of these vain traditions and teachings of men, including the tradition of not eating with the Gentiles.
Converted New Covenant circumcised in heart Gentiles and Jews; who are living by every Word of God ARE spiritually clean and will be physically clean as well because they have repented and now live by every Word of God!
4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you my labors in vain. 4:12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as you are or as you should be: you have not injured me at all. 4:13 You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 4:14 And my temptation, which was in my flesh you despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Jesus Christ. 4:15 Where is then the blessedness you spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Paul fears for the Galatians that they have been deceived into following the false traditions of men when they should be exalting the whole Word of God.
Brethren, We have also been diverted from following our Deliverer, into following idols of men and many false traditions of men: We follow men away from any zeal to keep the whole Word of God.
From Doctrine to Prophecy, from Calendar to Sabbath and High Days, we follow the false traditions of men and not the Word of God.
4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Paul is emphasizing to these people that what he is telling them is the truth and for their good, so that they would remember that both sincerely repentant and faithful Jews and Gentiles are the heirs of Abraham.
If we are faithful to follow God as Abraham did: Then we are the children of Abraham, the children of faith and the children of God. And we should not look down on each other or refuse to associate with each other because of race.
4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that you might affect them. 4:18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 4:19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 4:20 I desire to be present with you now and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. 4:21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law [bound to the traditions of men and subject to the penalty of having broken the law], do you not hear the law?
4:22 Do you not hear the law itself? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 4:23 But he, who was of the bondwoman, was born after the flesh.
This is an allegory. The one who was born of the bondwoman, the servant, was born after the flesh, is a likeness of bondage to the ways of this world. But he who was born of the freewoman was by promise. For God had promised Abraham that his wife Sarah his free will wife would have a son.
4:25 And these things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which genders to bondage, which is Agar. 4:26 For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem [physical Israel] which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 4:27 But Jerusalem which is above [the Spiritual Israel of the New Covenant] is free [from bondage to sin], which is the mother of us all.
Physical Jerusalem is a type of the Mosaic Covenant made at Sinai represented by the son of the bond servant. And there is no salvation promised there and there is no spiritual atonement or forgiveness for sin there. There is no promise of eternal life. There is no promise of the Holy Spirit. There is no promise of any these things.
The Mosaic Covenant promises that God will bless the people, and that they will be great and wealthy nations; if, and that’s a big if, they are faithful to the Mosaic Covenant and obedient to their Husband. The whole book of Deuteronomy is a warning from Moses telling the people that they must obey God to receive the blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. And if they will not obey God, they will eventually have those blessings withdrawn and removed.
The Mosaic Covenant ended because it failed to bring eternal salvation (Jeremiah 31:31). The New Covenant is pictured by the New Jerusalem and the son of the free woman. The New Covenant is a heavenly thing, a divine thing in which the Creator God himself gives his life for his creation.
And those who are called and respond and sincerely repent; who in faith have Christ’s sacrifice applied to them, can go forward in faith, to live by every Word of God and to have a relationship as a true son of God the Father and as a person of faith, a true child of Abraham.
Paul says over and over and over again; that all those who repent and faithfully keep the Word of God, and have the sacrifice of Christ applied to them, are the true spiritually circumcised children of Abraham.
And those who are of the Mosaic Covenant, circumcised in the flesh and not in the spirit, are under the penalty of sin because they lack faith and do not accept the sacrifice [of Christ] of the spiritual New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, that could save them.
There was no effective atonement for spiritual sin in the Mosaic Covenant; because the death of lambs, goats, doves and cattle could only keep one in good standing in the Mosaic Covenant, and could not truly atone for sin on the spiritual level of the New Covenant with its promise of eternal life; being of much less value than any person.
Those called out to the New Covenant during that dispensation [Able, Elijah, Moses, David, Noah etc], were called in faith looking forward to the promise of the sacrifice of Messiah for their sins. In due time the Mosaic Covenant ended with the death of the Husband, so there is no covenant anymore of the Mosaic type.
Atonement for sin is all about REPENTANCE and FAITH in God’s promise that the death of Messiah would truly atone for all sincerely repented sin.
Today there is only the New Covenant, and those who lack faith, regardless of whether they call themselves Jews, Christians, the Church of God, Hindus or whatever, if they lack faith in Christ to sincerely repent of PAST sins and to sin no more, going onward to live as Christ lived; then the atonement of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of Christ cannot be applied to them. Therefore, their law breaking cannot be atoned for until they sincerely repent.
4:28 For it is written, rejoice, thou barren that bears not; break forth and cry, thou that travails 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. 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh. And he who was born, [that is, Ishmael] after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit or after the promise,
As Ishmael persecuted Isaac, even so it is now. Ishmael born of a slave after the carnal manner – Abraham consorting with a slave – which was a matter of men trying to solve their own problems by their own means [ways] and NOT trusting God to keep his own promises; in this case instigated by Sarah.
Ishmael was by man’s efforts, man trying to attain God’s promises by his own ways; while Isaac was by faith in God’s power and will to keep God’s promises.
4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? [it says,] cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the freewoman. 4:31 So, then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Ishmael and Isaac are here used to demonstrate the difference between works without faith [the Mosaic Covenant]; and works by faith [the New Covenant].
Abraham should have demonstrated his faith by believing God and waiting patiently [the works of FAITH] for God to keep his promise concerning a son. Yet, this was allowed as an allegory for our instruction today.
We are heirs together with Jesus Christ by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ: Faith in the power of God’s Spirit and faith in the power of God the Father to resurrect his children to eternal life as He resurrected Jesus Christ to spirit and eternal life.
We will only have a good relationship with God and will only be filled with his Spirit, if we are living by every Word of God; and then we can call God our Father and he will call us his sons, and we shall receive a reward and an inheritance if we live by God’s Word; for the law commands that we obey our fathers!