This is the sermon for Sunday, October 3rd, 2010.

Galatians 4:21-31 – 21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, don’t you hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. 23 But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery—this is Hagar. 25 Now 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, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband. 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never inherit with the son of the free woman. 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Introduction: So we can keep things in context, let’s quickly look at last week’s sermon.  We preached on, “Godly concern” taken from Galatians 4:8-20.  Here were the main points:

  • The danger of turning back (verses 8-11).
  • Paul’s concern even in the midst of sickness (verses 12-16).
  • Being godly enthusiastic as opposed to being enthusiastic over religion (verses 17-18).

Now Paul is going to contrasts the Old Covenant with the New:  Why?  Well, because the Judaizers that have brought along the heresy of Law-keeping in order to be justified before a holy God.  Paul has been making the argument of justification by grace alone through Christ alone, now he is going to continue with this line of arguing by contrasting the two covenants.

Let’s now begin unpacking our text by contrasting showing Paul’s contrast.

Paul uses Hagar and Sarah as illustrations: Hagar for the Old Covenant; Sarah for the New Covenant.

Galatians 4:24a – These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants.

The Greek word for “illustrations” is allēgoreō (al-lay-gor-eh’-o).  It means, “to allegorize :- be an allegory.”  Paul is using allegory to teach a truth and show the contrast.  According to Dictionary.com, an allegory is, “a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.”

Let’s now look at the contrasting illustrations.

Those under the Law are children of the slave woman; those under grace are children of the free woman.

Galatians 4:24-31 – 24 These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery—this is Hagar. 25 Now 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, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: Rejoice, childless woman who does not give birth. Burst into song and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband. 28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never inherit with the son of the free woman. 31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

The  Judaizers would have been highly offended by Paul’s illustration here; and perhaps that is what Paul is trying to do, by offending them maybe the Holy Spirit will grip there heart and show them their need of repentance.

Hagar represented those who tried to be justified before a holy God by keeping the Law.  Since they could not keep it perfectly, they were held in bondage and slavery.  They were also the ones that were persecuting those within the church who believe in justification by faith alone through Christ alone by His grace alone.  They were legalists attacking those that didn’t believe like they did.

We have legalists around today as well.  In fact, they have always been around.  They are usually the ones with the biggest mouths trying to get a voice in the church and demanding people conform to their interpretation of Scripture.  How do we deal with these people?  Well, pray for them, but if the Lord does not change their heart so that they might repent of their sin of legalism, Paul give us the biblical option in verse 30: “Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never inherit with the son of the free woman.” In other words, they must be asked to leave the fellowship, and received back only at the time that they repent.  There are other Scriptures that support this, but we must move on.

One came according to the impulse of the flesh; the other according to the promise.

Galatians 4:23 – But the one by the slave was born according to the impulse of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

Now Paul is not discrediting the Law here, saying it came by the impulse of the flesh.  He is using Abraham’s sin with Hagar to illustrate that the Judaizers and their doctrine is not motivated by the promise – which is justification by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – but by their own impulse of the flesh – Law – keeping it to be justified before God.

Abraham didn’t wait for the promise, but took things in his own hands, so to speak and had a son – Ishmael – with Hagar.  Ishmael was born as the result of the impulse of the flesh, not the promise.  God opened Sarah’s womb and the result was the promised child – Isaac – and ultimately Jesus.

It is human nature to want to add rules and regulations, not for sanctification, but justification.  We sometimes forget salvation is all God through Christ and nothing of ourselves.  We want to add prayers, works, memberships, etc… to the mix.  Folks, those things come through the impulse of the flesh.

One represents slavery; the other represents freedom.

Galatians 4:25&31 – 25 Now 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, and she is our mother.  31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Those who try to find justification by the Law are under slavery.  They cannot keep it perfectly and cannot do enough good works to satisfy God and His justice and wrath.

Those under grace are free because they realize that God’s wrath has been satisfied and His justice has been served – all at the cross – when Christ became our substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.  So while we live for Him and grow in sanctification, we realize that God is pleased with us through Jesus Christ – not through any works of righteousness on our part.

Conclusion: As we conclude let me say this:  Isn’t justification by faith alone through Christ alone wonderful?  We are free; not to go on sinning because we have been set free from that; but free to serve God through Christ and His finished work on the cross.

If you are trying to please God through works, it will never happen, you cannot do enough good works to earn forgiveness of sins.  Trust in what Christ has done.  He suffered and died in our place, to satisfy God’s justice and wrath so that we may have peace with God through Him.

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