Tag Archives: Galatians 4

Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 4 Part 3)

Let’s look at the second half of Galatians 4 this morning.  We’ve already seen a couple of themes in this chapter, but please notice what Paul does now.  He gives us the example of Abraham’s two wives!  The story of Abraham and his two wives is told to us in Genesis 16.

God has clearly promised Abram that he would have a son, even in his old age (Gen. 17). But 25 years passed and his wife Sarai wasn’t getting pregnant.  In Genesis 16 it is Sarai’s idea that Abram sleep with her Egyptian slave Hagar. Sarai even defends her advice by saying “The Lord has kept me from having children” (v. 2).

After ten years of living in Canaan, Sarai gives her Egyptian slave Hagar “to her husband to be his wife” (v. 3). Abram sleeps with her and she conceives.

In her pregnancy Hagar begins “to despise her mistress” and Sarai blames Abram “for the wrong I am suffering” (v. 5). She admits she put the slave in his arms, but add, “May the Lord judge between you and me” (v. 5).

Abram gives Sarai authority to mistreat Hagar. She does and Hagar flees. But the angel of the Lord finds Hagar and commands her to submit herself to her mistress and promises that the Lord will increase Hagar’s descendants “so much that they will be too numerous to count.” (v. 10).

The angel tells Hagar she will have a son and will name him Ismael “for the Lord has heard of your misery.” He will be a man who will live in constant hostility toward all his brothers. Hagar names the Lord “the God who sees me.” Ismael is born when Abram is 86 years old!

Was it of faith for Abram to sleep with Hagar?  for him to listen to Sarai and try to force God’s promise into fulfillment?  Or did God purposely wait until Abram was too old and Sarai too barren to fulfill His promise — so that all would know this was of God!?  We clearly have the contrast of that which was accomplished by “the flesh” versus that which was the result of “a divine promise.”





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Posted by on June 10, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 4 Part 2)

How serious is your ZEAL for the Lord? Most of us don’t even use the word ZEAL (unless we’re playing Scrabble and there’s a triple letter tile available). What is real zeal? In this fourth chapter of Galatians, Paul is doing his very best to warn these believers about succumbing to a false gospel, a gospel of justification by the law. And there is no lack of enthusiasm on the part of these false teachers to entice others to their side.

Most of life would be a lot better if we had more zeal, more enthusiasm, don’t you think?  Here in verses 17-20 Paul deals with real zeal!

These false teachers are zealous to win these Galatians over to another gospel.  But in their mission, they are really trying to separate these believers from Paul and his influence (v. 17).  And zeal begets zeal.  These teachers want to draft the Galatians into being zealous for their gospel, which is no gospel at all!

There’s nothing wrong with zeal, IF its purpose is good.  One ought always to be zealous (v. 18).  But our zeal ought to center on Christ being formed in others (v. 19).  And that kind of zeal is an automatic cure for spiritual perplexity (v. 20)!

How might your ZEAL for the Lord be shown today?





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Posted by on June 8, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 4 Part 1)

Here in Galatians 4 we see several critical themes that will necessitate a number of posts.  Let’s look at the 1st half of chapter four this morning.

Here we have a discussion of being an heir, being subject to a guardian, and being underage as a slave.  But at the right time God sent forth His Son to make us His sons!  We have now become heirs (v. 7).

Although there is much here, let me suggest that Paul is relishing in the theme of a personal relationship with the living God (vv. 8-11).  He describes the Galatians’ lives as: formerly when they did not know God and were slaves to idols.  And now when they can be described as knowing God (but tempted to turn back to slavery) (v. 9).

What an amazing expression: “But now that you know God”!  I know God.  You know God. Everyone who has come to faith in Christ “knows” God!  Wow!  John Piper was right to write a book with the title God Is the Gospel!

But Paul interrupts himself with what I call a theological afterthought. He says, “Now that you know God — or rather are known by God” (v. 9).  What’s more important in the universe than my knowing God?  His knowing me!  This is the language of personal relationship!

How personal are you going to be with the Lord today?  Remember, He knows you!





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Posted by on June 6, 2018 in Galatians


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One Hundred Questions about the Book of GALATIANS! (Ch. 4)

I’ve never been to Korea!  My sister-in-law said when she first went to Disneyland, “This is the first time I’ve never been here!”  I’m looking forward to that week in June when I get to teach the book of Galatians!  Word of Life Korea is the venue.

We’re asking a bunch of questions about this amazing epistle.  Let’s pose some interrogatories (my Mom would have been proud of my use of that word) about chapter 4:

Sixteen Questions about Galatians chapter four:
1. How is an heir like a slave (vv. 1-2)?
2. What is meant, do you think, by “the elemental spiritual forces of the world” (v. 3)?
3. Verses 4-5 are incredible! This “set time” — what made the time Jesus entered His own world the right time?
4. Galatians has a great deal to say about “the law,” doesn’t it? What’s meant by “born under the law” in verse 4?
5. What are two benefits of the Son’s coming into the world for the believer (v. 5)?
6. This epistle has a LOT to say about God the Holy Spirit. What do we learn about the Spirit here in verse 6?
7. There are two stages to a person’s life — what are they (vv. 8-9)?
8. Why is being “known by God” more important to Paul than knowing God (v. 9)?
9. What’s wrong with the observance of special days and months (v. 10)?
10. What do we learn about Paul’s “illness” in this chapter? Could this be related to his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12?
11. If childbirth were up to men, the world’s population would be so much smaller! How does Paul use the labor/childbirth metaphor here (v. 19)?
12. We have the idea of “promise” brought up again in verses 23ff. Where has Paul talked about God’s promises in this epistle?
13. Put into your own words what Paul’s primary point seems to be with his Hagar and Sarah analogy (vv. 21ff).
14. What does Paul mean by “the Jerusalem the is above” (v. 26)?
15. I spent a week in Palestine recently, among the descendants of the “slave woman” (the Arabic people). There is so much conflict in the land between the Jews and the Arabs! How does this text help us in a spiritual sense (vv. 28-31).
16. Construct a chart contrasting the two women here in verses 21-31.


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Posted by on April 28, 2018 in Galatians


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