Friday, March 9, 2018

Galatians Chapter 4

A bible study on Galatians chapter 5 and instructions on how to interpret the bible.

  • Galatians 4:1-7
  • Galatians 4:8-20
  • 1 Corinthians 10:19-21
  • Galatians 4:21-31
Children in Christ
  • How do you View God?
  • Quitting
  • Transforming into his image
Back to the Old Ways
  • Worshiped things that were no gods
  • Elemental things
Bond vs Free
  • Two women
  • Two sons
  • Two cities
Bonus: Methods of Interpreting the Bible

Review of Galatians 3

  • We learned that we get faith when we hear the gospel and believe it
  • Our salvation comes as soon as we believe that Jesus died for our sins
  • It is not based on any works we do.  It’s not based on:
  • Saying a prayer
  • Getting baptized
  • Confessing your sins in front of people
  • Changing your lifestyle
  • We should do those things
  • We just need to understand that  they aren’t what saves us
  • Salvation by faith wasn’t something that Paul introduced
  • Paul explained that salvation by faith was in place even in Abraham’s time
  • Abraham was declared righteous because he believed God
  • Paul said that those who live by the law are under a curse
  • The law contained blessings and curses
  • God said whoever doesn’t follow the commands of the law are cursed
  • If we choose to live under the law then we are choosing to live under a curse because no one can keep the law completely all of the time
  • God promised blessings to Abraham and his descendants through his seed
  • The law wasn’t given to Moses until 430 years after Abraham received the promise
  • Therefore the laws can’t break the promise that was made to Abraham
  • Not following the law can’t revoke Abraham's  promise
  • Through Jesus, Abraham’s promised seed, we are considered the descendants of Abraham
  • Therefore we share in the blessings of Abraham

Children in Christ

Galatians 4:1-7
1Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
  • Jesus came to redeem those under the law
  • So that we could be received as adopted sons
When we have the law as our taskmaster, we view God as the Master who is keeping us in line.  He's the one who will punish us if we break the law.
Paul is telling us that we should now view God as our father.  
  • We are heirs of God
  • Abba means “daddy”

How Do You View God?

Your parents helped define your self image
  • Your parents helped define who you think you are
  • If your parents think you are a doctor you become a doctor
  • If your parents always called you a failure you become a failure
  • It's how you believe they view you that influences you
Paul told us that we are children of God
  • We should allow God’s opinion of us to shape what we become and how we behave
  • We should view ourselves how the Bible tells us we are


Some people made a decision not to try to live up to the expectations of their parents
  • It’s often because they felt that it was too difficult
  • Instead they rebelled
  • They wanted to take control of the situation and not disappoint their parents or themselves
  • They can say “no I didn’t fail; I wasn't trying to achieve that”
This happens in the natural and in religion
  • Some people give up on God and religion because they see it as a standard that they can’t live up to
Example: preacher’s kids, Catholic school kids

Transforming Into His Image

Children with good parents often model themselves after their parents
Example: Jerome’s son
  • Learning to talk like him
  • Learning to think like him
When we see God the way He truly is, we become transformed into His image
  • We begin to talk like Him
  • We begin to think like Him
We are transforming into the image of the God that we believe is true.  
  • If we see Him as a loving father then we begin to love people
  • When we are legalistic we view God as a scorekeeper in Heaven keeping record of our bad deeds
  • If we see Him as a judge waiting to punish us we become critical and judgmental
When we don’t see God the way he is truly is He becomes transformed into the image of Him that we've created
That’s why the church is full of judgmental people
  • They view God as judgemental
  • They worship a judgmental God
  • They feel like they need to perform to earn God’s love
  • They feel like they need to perform to earn salvation
The closer they get to the God they have imagined the more they become like Him
  • The law taught them about God as a master
  • The traditions and rules and laws become their God
  • Their works become their idol
  • They become transformed into the judgmental figure they imagine
We need to accept what Jesus told us about God
  • Jesus came to introduce us to God as a father
  • As our “daddy”

How We Represent God

We are supposed to represent God to the lost
  • Many non-believers see “the church” as judgmental and critical
  • Because it's true
  • Because that’s how many Christians view God
We don’t minister in love because we don’t know God as a loving father
  • The first step to getting free from legalism is changing your view of God.  
Our hearts should sing:
  • He’s a good good father, that’s what He is, that’s what He is
  • And I’m loved by Him, that's who I am

Back to the Old Ways

Galatians 4:8-20
8However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?
10You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.  12I beg of you, brethren, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong; 13but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; 14and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. 15Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them. 18But it is good always to be eagerly sought in a commendable manner, and not only when I am present with you. 19My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you— 20but I could wish to be present with you now and to change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
  • Paul's illness
  • He refers to it elsewhere as his “thorn in the flesh”
  • Some scholars think Paul's ailment was his eyes
  • Some conjecture that it happened when he was made blind when he encountered Jesus
  • Others say it happened when he was stoned
  • But, on the other hand,  “Pluck out your eyes” was a figure of speech back then like “give shirt off your back”

They Worshiped Things That Were “no gods”

Before they were saved they Worshiped things that were no gods
  • Now they are going back to the elemental things
  • Before they were saved, they weren’t under the law because they were Gentiles
  • They weren’t following the laws of Moses before they got saved
  • So that’s not what they went back to
  • Paul is saying that they still followed their old pagan or cultural practices
They used to worship things that “by nature are no gods”
  • They used to worship idols
  • They used to worship demons
1 Corinthians 10:19-21
What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?
20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.
  • Before they were saved they worshiped demons and satan
In the Greek culture, every mountain, tree, grove and and fountain has a god associated with it
  • They were polytheistic worshiping many god
They observed days, months, seasons and years
  • They still celebrated their old pagan festivals and feasts
  • They still celebrated on the days of their old religion
  • They still followed the pagan customs
He's saying you don't need to follow the Jewish laws and customs
  • But don't go back to your old customs though

Do We Follow Elementary Things?

Do we follow wordly or cultural practices today?
  • Catholic Traditions
  • Setting up an altar with food for Mary
  • Praying to saints
  • Last month was Chinese/Lunar New Year
  • days, months, seasons and years
  • Worshiping: Kitchen God, Gate God, Joy God, Wealth God, and Well God


The Babylonians and many ancient cultures worshiped the sun god, Nimrod
  • Nimrod’s Birthday was celebrated on December 25th
  • This is near the winter solstice which is the darkest night of the year
We celebrate Christmas on that day because the Catholic Church purposely put Christmas on the same day as the existing pagan holiday
  • They claimed that the goal was to make it easier for pagans to convert
  • Similar with Easter
  • Many American holidays can be traced back to pagan days, months, seasons, and years
I’m not saying that you should go to work on Christmas
  • We don't need to get legalistic about it
  • But maybe consider whether or not you want to lie to your kids about Santa Clause
  • Is that part of celebrating Jesus?

Bond and Free

Paul makes his point using an allegory about Sarah and Hagar
  • A story, picture or poem that has has a literal and a deeper moral, religious or political meaning
Abraham and Sarah’s story (Gen 16; Gen 21)
  • God chose Abram as the man through whom He would redeem humanity
  • God came to him and told him to follow Him and leave the land he lived in
  • When Abraham was 75 years old God promised him many offspring
  • God changed Abram’s name to Abraham
  • From father to father of many
  • 12 years later they still didn’t have children
  • Sarah told him to sleep with her servant Hagar
  • Hagar became pregnant and had a son named Ishmael
  • Hagar became proud because she was having Abrahams child and loathed it over Sarah
  • Sarah became jealous and told Abraham to kick Sarah out
  • Abraham kicked her out
  • The Angel of the Lord told Hagar to go back and submit to Sarah
  • When Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 they had Isaac
  • Isaac was the son who fulfilled God’s promise of a large blessed nation of offspring
Galatians 4:21-31
21Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. 23But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise.24This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. 25Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother.
27For it is written,
            THAN OF THE ONE WHO HAS A HUSBAND.” [Isaiah 54:1]
28And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.
30But what does the Scripture say?
31So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.

Two Women

Hagar was Abraham's slave
  • Hagar was a bond woman
  • She represents
  1. Natural
  2. Works
  3. Legalism
  • She also represents the
  1. Old Covenant
  2. Mosaic law
Sarah was the Abraham’s wife
  • She was a free woman
  • She represents
  1. Supernatural
  2. Promise
  3. Freedom
  • She also represents
  1. New Covenant
  2. Grace
Paul tells us that we are not children of the bond woman.  
  • We're children of the free woman.  
  • We live under the grace system not under the law

Two Sons

Ishmael was born a slave
  • He was the child of a slave woman so that made him a slave
  • Ishmael was born “according to the flesh”
  • He was born through human effort
  • Abraham and Sarah decided they were tired of waiting on God
  • Ismael represented the legalistic Jews
  • They are still slaves to the law
  • They are trusting on their works to get them into Heaven
Isaac was born free
  • He didn't do anything to become free
  • He was born according to the promise
  • We are children of promise
  • We are children of the free woman
  • We receive the promise through faith
  • We do not need to work to gain salvation

Two Cities

Hagar represents Mt Sinai
  • This is where God gave the law to Moses
  • Hagar represents the law and being in bondage
Hagar also represents  “present day” (Paul’s time) Jerusalem
  • Romans had conquered Jerusalem
  • At that time Jerusalem was in bondage
Sarah represented the Heavenly Jerusalem
  • This refers to the future Jerusalem that we will live in after Jesus’ return
  • This is a picture of Heaven
  • The Jerusalem above is seen as the free Jerusalem
  • It represents the New Covenant
  • He says “she is our mother”
The main message is that we are free from the law
  • Sarah stands for trusting in God alone
  • Hagar stands for pleasing God in our own efforts
  • We are children of freedom and not bondage
“God the Mother”
  • Some denominations see “God the Mother” as another being
  • They worship
  • Even though Paul explicitly says he’s using allegory
  • The mother is never called God
  • If Paul worshiped a mother goddess he would have mentioned her clearly (as would Jesus)

Methods of Interpreting the Bible

New Revelation

  1. The New Testament redefines the Old Testament
  • The revelation replaces and supersedes the old
  • Establishes that the new revelations can replace old revelation
  • We need to be cautious when people start claiming that they have received new revelation
  • Any self proclaimed prophet can claim that God told them something
  • Mormonism, Islam
  • The new has to be inspired
  1. The New Testament fulfills the Old Testament
  • We know Christ is legitimate because of what previous revelation said about Him
  • There are many prophecies pointing to Christ, so we were expecting Him
  • New “revelations” need to be supported by previous prophecies

Hermeneutic Principles

The theory and methodology of interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts
  1. Moral and Allegorical method
  • The focus is on how the book is perceived by the reader, not on the intention of the author.
  • Application, morals to the stories, types
  • Teachers often draw parallels to relate the scripture to our modern lives
  • Example: David and Goliath
  • God will fight your battles
  • It’s not always the strongest who wins
  • You have to kill your lion in private before you get public victory
  • This is what you’ll most likely hear in church
  • Caution is that there can be many interpretations, often contrary to scripture
  • We need to be careful when implying what the author’s true intent was
  1. Historical Grammatical (Literal) method
  • The aim of the historical-grammatical method is to discover the meaning of the passage as the original author would have intended and what the original hearers would have understood.
  • What was the author trying to convey
  • The original passage is seen as having only a single meaning or sense.
  1. Historical-Critical method
  • This method attempts to discover the sources and factors that contributed to the making of the text as well as to determine what it meant to the original audience.
  • They look for similar writings from other sources
  • Scholars who use the historical-critical method treat the Bible as they would any other text
  • Caution is to remember that the bible is an inspired text
  1. Anagogical
  • Each scripture has a surface meaning and a deeper, esoteric meaning
  • This type of interpretation is also known as mystical interpretation.
  • It tries to explain the events of the Bible and how they relate to or predict what the future holds.
  • Makes use of numerical values of Hebrew words and names of God
  • Caution is that there is no biblical authority when you go beyond what the Bible says
  • This can also lead you into some occult practices (e.g. Jewish Kabbalah)  
Things to Consider
  • What does the text say?
  • How is it used in context?
  • How would the audience have understood it?
  • How does it compare with the rest of the Bible?
  • Only after that can you look for application


Both children and slaves are required to be obedient
  • Children need to be obedient to their parents
  • Slaves need to be obedient to their masters
  • When we were young in the faith we needed to be governed by rules
  • We were enslaved by these laws and rules
  • The goal of the laws was to bring us to Christ
  • The law taught us that we needed a savior
Once we become mature, we realize that we are free from the law
  • Not meaning that we shouldn’t be moral or try to please God
  • But meaning that we know that the law isn’t what saves us
  • We obey the law voluntarily because God is continually changing our heart
Paul mentions that the Galatians kept going back to their old ways
They kept focusing on their previous life
  • When we focus on how we were before we were saved we become shameful
  • We feel like we don’t deserve the freedom that God gave us
  • We feel like we’re not good enough for eternal life
  • We feel we need to earn it through works
To be real, for some it’s not because we focus on the bad things of the past
  • We’re focused on how we are today
  • We’re focused on the secret sins that only God knows about
  • And feel we need to earn our salvation because we don’t deserve it
We need to remember that our good works:
  • Didn’t get us saved
  • Won’t keep us saved after we become Christians
  • Don’t prove that we are saved
We get saved when we believe that Jesus died for us
  • At that point you become a child of God
  • The same way that nothing a son or daughter can do will make them lose their status as a child to a loving parent
  • Nothing we can do can make us lose our salvation
  • Yes make God unhappy when we disobey Him
  • But He will never disown His children
  • He’s not a deadbeat dad
He is a loving father waiting for us to draw closer to Him
...don’t keep Him waiting

Presenter: Michael Leadon 


Freedom Through Faith
The Image of God
  • Kris Vallotton
Galatians 4:1-9

Galatians 4:10-31

Session 5 The Bond And the Free

Cast Out The Bondwoman (Galatians 4:21-31)

Abraham’s Two Sons

Galatians 4 lesson by Dr. Bob Utley


Sons of God

John 1:11-13
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Ephesians 6:1-6
     1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.
     4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
     5Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; 6not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. 7With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.
Romans 8:12-17
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Back to the Old Ways

They worship things there were no gods

Deuteronomy 32
"They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 "They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.
18 "You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.

Christmas Trees

Jeremiah 10:1-4
1 ¶ Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2 Thus says the LORD,
"Do not learn the way of the nations,
And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens
Although the nations are terrified by them;
3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion;
Because it is wood cut from the forest,
The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
4 "They decorate it with silver and with gold;
They fasten it with nails and with hammers
So that it will not totter.
  • They took trees, stood them on wood planks and decorated them
  • Christmas trees

Bond vs Free

When we don’t follow God’s plan, we produce an Ishmael and not an Isaac
Ishmael is the father of the Muslims
  • Abraham was a Hebrew
  • Muslims are Hebrews too

Methods of Interpreting the Bible

  1. A belief that there are a series of stages in God's self-revelation and plan of salvation
  2. God administers differently in the different stages
  3. A cycle of God revealing new plans and man failing the test
  4. The New Testament fulfills the Old Testament
  5. Christ is legitimate because of what previous revelation said about Jesus
  6. There are many prophecies pointing to Christ, so we were expecting Him
  7. New “revelations” need to be supported by previous prophecies


The purpose of the law
  • Couldn’t make you a better person
  • Showed you how you couldn’t obey it
  • How law and faith work together
Blessings come through Christ
  • No other method
Blessings are obtained by faith in Christ
The law prepares us for Christ
Law keeping fails
Some people say:
  • You must do good works to be saved
  • After you get saved you have to do good works to stay saved
  • If you sin after you were saved you were never saved
We are children of faith
Even though they disobeyed they were blessed because they believed
We are children of Abraham.  We are children of God.
We are not bond servants but we're free,

Israelites in the Wilderness

The Israelites also wanted to go back to slavery
  • They asked Moses “why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the desert”
  • They wished they could go back to Egypt
  • They wished they could return to slavery
  • Even though they had seen God deliver them supernaturally
  • The didn’t realize what God was offering them
  • They forgot about all of the miracles God had performed to free them in the past
  • He freed them from bondage

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