Galatians 3 – 4
- Argument from the Galatians’ Experience: Five Questions (3:1-5)
- Argument from the Life of Abraham: His Justification (3:6-9)
- Argument from the Very Nature of the Law (3:10-14)
- Argument from God’s Dispensational Ways (3:15 – 4:7)
- Appeal on the Grounds that Legalism Undermines Christianity (4:8-11)
- Appeal on the Grounds of Paul’s Relationship with the Galatians (4:12-20)
- Appeal on the Grounds of the Old Testament Scriptures (4:21-31)
Argument from the Galatians’ Experience: Five Questions (3:1-5)
Argument from the Life of Abraham: His Justification (3:6-9)
The grace of God is too great to be limited to just one nation. It goes out to "all nations".1Also, when was Abraham justified? It was before the law was given. The scripture foresaw or anticipated (it surely is living) that God would bless the nations through faith, and ahead of time gave that good news to Abraham. God allowed 13 years of separation between Abraham’s justification and the instructions for circumcision, and a space of 430 years before the giving of the law! The gospel of justification by faith was announced to Abraham, therefore it (and not the law) was God’s purpose.
Argument from the Very Nature of the Law (3:10-14)
- The law results in a curse (v.10)
- The law isn’t on the correct principle for justification (vv.11-12)
- It took the death of Christ to deliver the believer from the law (v.13)
- The promise of the Spirit can only be received through faith (v.14)
|Slip of paper||wrong principle||right principle|
|Steel paper clip||right principle||wrong principle|
Argument from God’s Dispensational Ways (3:15 – 4:7)
Four Reasons why the Law cannot set aside Promise (3:15-18)
- Promises to Abraham – Gen. 12:3 "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed"
- Promises to Isaac/Christ – Gen. 22:18 "in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed"
- The covenant was confirmed (by God).
- The covenant was confirmed to Christ.
- The confirming of the promise predates the law by 430 yrs.
- The law and promise are totally different principles.
The Advantage of Promise over Law: It Depends on God Alone (3:19-20)
- It is holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12)
- God never put Gentiles under it (Rom. 2:14: Gal. 4:3-5)
- It was given to manifest man’s sinful condition (Gal. 3:19, Rom. 5:20).
- It doesn’t apply to the righteous, but the lawless (1 Tim. 1:9, 10).
- It could not give life, so righteousness could not come by it (Gal. 3:21)
- Being under the law brings a curse to man (Gal. 3:10)
- Righteousness of the law is on a totally different principle than the righteousness by faith (Rom. 10:5-10).
- Those once under it as Jews, were, if Christians, dead to it by the body of Christ (Rom. 7:4).
- Law (a principle) – God’s intention was to manifest transgression and convict of sin. as a principle, it is a ministry of death and condemnation (II Cor. 3), useful only to manifest man’s true moral condition.
- The Law (a dispensation) – it was a civil/religious system to repress grosser evils, in which God was king of the country and people, to separate the people from heathenism… a schoolmaster up to the time of Christ, also known as Judaism.
- The Law (a revelation from God) – the whole of the Old Testament writings is called “the law”, although the term is often applied to just the Torah. The law as referring to the scriptures is distinguished from the law principle in Gal. 4:21; “Tell me, ye who are desirous of being under law, do ye not listen to the law?”
The Limited Purpose of the Dispensation of Law (3:21-22)
Two Figures for the Law: A Prison Guard & A Schoolmaster (vv.23-26)
Christians Have Been Brought into an Entirely New Sphere (vv.27-29)
The Different States Produced by Law and Grace: Old and New Testament Saints (4:1-7)
An Illustration of a Child in a Family of Nobility (vv.1-2)
Application of the Illustration: Distinctions between Old and New Testament Saints (vv.3-7)
In Greek, the word 'huiothesian' means 'the place of a son'. It is translated into English as "sonship" or "adoption". Sonship is a privilege that Christians are given because they are justified and stand in Christ's place before God. Sonship is not the same thing as coming into God's family. Due to the modern use of word 'adoption', the original sense of sonship has been lost for many believers. As we see in Galatians 4:1-7, the child becomes a son, showing that sonship has to do with a special status or relationship in the family. We enter God's family by new birth, and this makes us children of God. But adoption gives us a new status within the family. For an example of Jewish adoption, see Gen. 48:5 where Jacob took the sons of Joseph as his own. Ephraim and Manasseh were Jacob's grandsons, but he elevated them to the status of their uncles; "as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine". Sonship is the greatest blessing we have as individuals in relation to the Father… there is no higher place than the place of God's Son, and He has given us "the Son's place"!Read more…
- The full revelation of God in His Trinitarian relationships was not manifest (v.4).
- The work of the cross had not been accomplished yet (v.5).
- The Spirit of God had not been sent down, because Jesus was not glorified (v.6).
- The saints could not enjoy the privilege of sonship.
- Legalism Undermines Christianity (vv.8-11)
- Legalism Degrades Christian Affections (vv.12-20)
- Legalism Persecutes Grace (vv.21-31)
Appeal on the Grounds that Legalism Undermines Christianity (4:8-11)
Appeal on the Grounds of Paul’s Relationship with the Galatians (4:12-20)
Appeal on the Grounds of the Old Testament Scriptures (4:21-31)
|Two Covenants||Covenant of Law||Covenant of Grace|
|Hagar – a bondmaid – could only gender to bondage||Sarah – free woman – children are free|
|Jerusalem which is now – connected with Mt. Sinai||Jerusalem above – sovereign grace|
|Two Classes of Persons||Ishmael – lives by the flesh, desires to be under law||Isaac – stands simply on the promise in grace|
- The final fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham will be in the Millennium, when the nations are blessed, though in subservience to Israel. But the principle of it applies today in the gospel, as Paul shows in Galatians 3.
In Rom. 1:17 the emphasis is on faith, showing that is the principle on which God justifies. In Gal. 3:11 the emphasis is on the just, showing that justification is by faith alone. In Heb. 10:38 the emphasis is on live, showing that faith is the way the believer lives pleasing to God in this world.
- In Genesis 22, the two things are quite distinct. Where the seed is spoken of without allusion to number, the blessing of the Gentiles comes in; but where they are said to be multiplied as the stars and the sand, then the character is unequivocally Jewish precedence. Such is, I believe, the argument of the apostle. - Kelly, William. Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
- Thus the Seed with no number or multiplicity annexed to it is shown to be Christ, typified by Isaac, risen again from the dead in figure, who blesses all the Gentiles, as now in the gospel, contra-distinguished from the numerous Jewish seed, who are to subject the nations and rule over them, in the age to come. The Seed risen from the dead has evidently broken the link with life or relationship on earth, and is in a wholly new condition wherein He is able to bless the Gentile as freely as the Jew. - Kelly, William. Abram, the Friend of God.
- If I make you an unconditional promise, a simple promise, to-day, I have no right to say to you on the morrow, Oh you did not do so and so, and therefore the promise is nullified. Certainly not. No! you would reply, you promised me the thing unconditionally, not if I behaved well or ill; and therefore it is mine. These “promises” were made after sin came in, but before the giving of the law. – Darby, J.N. The Christian Friend. Volume 2. 1875.
- If God had made the accomplishment of promise dependent on the fulfillment of the law, it would not have been pure promise. If you make a promise to your child, and he disobeys you afterwards, you do not make him forfeit the promise, to do which would be to break your word; but you cannot pass over the offence without taking any notice of it. Your promise stands, but you must deal with him about his conduct, and not let him take what you have promised him, as if he deserved it. God made a promise, and man would come in and take the promise on the ground of his desert. Then God must bring in a law to prove his unrighteousness. – Kelly, W. The Bible Treasury, Vol. 6
- Paget, C. A Mind at Perfect Peace with God. Little Flock Hymnbook #27A.
- Darby, J.N. Father, Thy Name Our Souls Would Bless. Little Flock Hymnbook #25. 1879.
- It is possible to be zealous in binding souls to oneself, or to the sect to which one is attached. The Pharisees compassed sea and land to make one proselyte, and they made him twofold more the child of hell than themselves. – Darby, J.N. Notes on the Epistle to the Galatians.
- Legalism had so disfigured the truth in their souls, that they needed to be rooted and grounded in the first elements of grace over again. They had lost their hold of the cross, and the apostle stood in doubt of them. Outwardly they might be very zealous; but as far as testimony for Christ, and their souls’ enjoyment of Him, was concerned, all was gone. The apostle desired that the work should be renewed from the very beginning in their souls. – Kelly, William. Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
- Kelly, William. Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
- It is a comparison of herself during her time of desolation with herself when she had a husband. The latter was the time when she was owned in her earthly standing, and she had few children then; but now, in her desolation, there is a mighty outpouring of God’s grace, and a wide ingathering of souls, who are counted, by grace, as her children. – Kelly, William. Lectures on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians.
- These children are ourselves, Christians, during the time of the church (Isaiah 54:1). The passage is addressed to Jerusalem, restored in the kingdom to come, but it owns that the forsaken one has more children than she which had a husband. The children born according to promise, are more numerous in the present time, than those born when Jerusalem was owned. – Darby, J.N. Notes on the Epistle to the Galatians.