4:19-21 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until
Christ be formed in you, 20 I desire to be present with you now, and to
change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. 21 Tell me, ye that desire
to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed
in you." According to the above language, we can conclude that Christ
had been previously been formed in the Galatian brethren and that he was
no longer formed in them and Paul was endeavoring to form Christ in them
again. He compared this to a birth in which they had previously been
born and needed to be born again. Paul is not speaking here of the new
or spiritual birth when we are born of the Spirit of God. Paul is
speaking of the brethren having an understanding of the truth of Jesus
Christ and what he accomplished for them by his grace. At one time Paul
had taught them and they had believed the truth of Jesus Christ and that
he had saved them by his grace. They were Paul's children in the true
faith of Christ. The truth of Christ had been formed in their minds and
hearts. False teachers had come along and deceived them into believing a
lie. They no longer believed that Christ had died for their sins and
redeemed them to God by his grace alone. They had lost the image in
their minds of the truth. The truth of Christ was no longer in the
belief system of their mind.
Paul was travailing again to teach them the truth of Christ and what he
had done for them in redeeming them from their sins by his grace. Paul
desired that the truth of Christ would once again be formed in their
minds by his preaching and teaching.
desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand
in doubt of you." Paul did not stand in doubt as to whether they were
children of God. He had called them little children. He knew that they
showed evidences of being born of the Spirit of God. Paul did stand in
doubt of their belief of the grace of Christ and that salvation was by
grace alone. He stood in doubt of their worshipping God in Spirit and in
truth. They had departed from the truth and he wondered if they would be
won back to the truth as they had gone so far under the elements of law
service and had rejected the truth. Paul desired to be present with them
that he might reason with them once again about the true grace of
me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" The law
declared that we are under the wrathful judgment of God and that we are
sinners and worthy of everlasting destruction from the presence of God
and from the glory of his power. It declares that we need a suitable
sacrifice to redeem us from our sins. It also shows us that we can never
get ourselves right with God, for that we are sinners."
is saying that if we have the knowledge of the law and what it is
speaking to us about, then we should not desire to be under the law, but
rejoice in salvation by the grace of Christ.
"For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a
bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman
was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one
from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For
this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now
is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above
is free, which is the mother of us all. 27
For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth
and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more
children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac
was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after
the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is
now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman
and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son
of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the
bondwoman, but of the free."
it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the
other by a freewoman." The bondwoman was Hagar, and the freewoman was
Sarah. Abraham had Ishmael by the bondwoman, Hagar. He had Isaac by the
freewoman, Sarah. Hagar was the bondservant of Sarah. She was under
service to Sarah. The son of a bondwoman was himself a bondservant. The
son of a freewoman was free. This made Ishmael a bondservant and it made
Isaac a freeman.
he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the
freewoman was by promise." Ishmael the son of Hagar, the bondwoman was
born after the flesh. Sarah was barren and of advanced age and did not
seem to have the prospect of having children according to nature. God
had promised to Abraham that he would multiply his seed and that all
nations and families would be blessed in the seed of Abraham. Sarah
devised a scheme whereby Abraham could have a son by the bondmaid and
thus help God fulfill his promise (of course it was foolish to think
that God would ever need any help) that He made concerning the seed of
Abraham. Abraham took Hagar to wife and she bore him a son, Ishmael.
Ishmael birth was according to the desires and efforts of the flesh.
Contrariwise, the birth of Isaac was by promise. When Abraham was 99
years old and Sarah was 89 years old and the reproductive ability of
both was dead, God appeared unto them and told them that "at this set
time in the next year" that God would restore unto them the time of life
and that Sarah would bear Abraham a son and that his name would be
Isaac. In this manner, Isaac's birth was by promise from God and
contrary to nature, whereas Ishmael's birth was according to the desires
and efforts of the flesh.
"Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one
from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For
this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now
is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is
free, which is the mother of us all." There are several covenants set
forth in the scriptures, but only two covenants of worship that God has
given. An allegory is something that naturally happened but represents
another more important truth. Sarah actually had a child named Isaac by
promise from God. Hagar actually had a child named Ishmael according to
the flesh. In the allegory, Hagar represents the covenant of worship and
service that God made with the children of Israel at Mount Sinai and she
is represented by Jerusalem, which now is, and the children that attempt
to worship God under this law covenant that are in bondage to the law
covenant. Sarah represented the covenant of grace that the Lord
established for worship in this New Testament age. She is referred to as
Jerusalem, which is above, is free, and is the mother of us all. This
covenant of grace, under which we worship God in Spirit and in truth is
set forth for us in Rom. 8:29, 30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also
did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might
be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and
whom he justified, them he also glorified." We are all children of God
according to this covenant of grace.
it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and
cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children
than she which hath an husband." This was written in Isa. 54:1-3 "Sing,
O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry
aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children
of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains
of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy
stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left;
and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to
be inhabited." It is apparent that the term "desolate" is referring to
the Gentiles. The Israelites were married to the law covenant in the Old
Testament dispensation. The Gentiles worshipped idols and as such had no
contrast, now the Gentiles have been brought into the true worship of
God and there are many more that are married to the true worship of God
than those who previously were married to the law service. Today there
are many more Gentiles who worship God in Spirit and in truth than there
are Israelites who worship God in Spirit and in truth.
we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." In order to
see how that we are children of promise, it is important that we see how
Isaac was a child of promise. Isaac was a child of promise in the
Isaac's birth was promised beforehand of God.
2. Isaac's birth was contrary to nature. The reproductive ability of
both Abraham and Sarah according to Romans chapter four was dead.
According to nature neither was able to have children. Thus, the birth
of Isaac had to be brought about by God.
3. Isaac was born at God's appointed time and not man's time. God said
that at this set time in the next year that Sarah would bear Abraham a
son and that his name would be called Isaac.
Similarly, our spiritual birth is like Isaac's natural birth. Our
spiritual birth is like Isaac's in the following ways:
Our spiritual birth was promised beforehand of God in the covenant of
redemption. Those that God foreknew or chose before the foundation of
the world, he also predestinated, called, justified, and glorified.
Thus, God promised to cause all that he chose before the foundation of
the world to be called into spiritual life in the new birth. This
promise was made before the foundation of the world.
2. Our spiritual birth was contrary to nature. Eph. 2:1-5 shows us how
that our spiritual birth was contrary to nature: Eph. 2:1-5 "And you
hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time
past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in
times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the
flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as
others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he
loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together
with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" We were spiritually dead in
trespasses and sins. Without spiritual life we could do nothing to bring
about our spiritual birth or even assist in our spiritual birth. Our
spiritual birth was contrary to nature.
3. Our spiritual birth was at God's appointed time. The Lord taught us
this lesson in John 3:8: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and
whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Just as
the wind is sovereign in its actions toward us so God is sovereign in
bringing about the spiritual birth. We are born at our sovereign God's
appointed time and not in our time or in someone else's time.
the above, three ways our spiritual birth is like Isaac's birth.
as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born
after the Spirit, even so it is now." Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac,
so those born after the flesh persecute those who are born after the
Spirit. This lesson is also taught us in the case of Cain and Abel. Abel
brought forth for worship that which represented Christ. Cain brought
forth the works of his hands. God had respect unto Abel and to his
offering, but had not respect unto Cain and his offering. Cain became
angry and slew his brother Abel. Why? Because his own works were evil
and his brother's righteous. Similarly, those who worship under a
legalistic works system persecute those who worship under the covenant
of grace. The Pharisees and the Sadducees sought to destroy those who
worshipped God according to the gospel of the grace of Christ.
"Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her
son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the
freewoman." Clearly, this teaches us that we should cast out the
covenant of the law made at Mount Sinai as a means to worship God. You
cannot mix works and grace. Bringing in circumcision into the worship of
God under the covenant of grace is the same as bringing in the bondwoman
and her son. True worship today is not found under the principles of the
law covenant, but is found under the teachings of the covenant of grace.
We are heirs of God by grace according to the covenant of redemption. We
are not heirs of God according to the works of the law. Thus, we are to
cast out the legalistic works system and all legalistic works systems
and worship God under the covenant of grace.
then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free."
We are free from the legalistic works system and no longer need to do
something in order to get eternal life. We are not under a "grace, but"
doctrine, but we are free according to the covenant of redemption and
have no need to do something to get right with God, but rather we
praise, honor, and glorify God for what he has already done for us under
the covenant of grace, and for what he is doing for us under the
covenant of grace, and for what he will yet do for us under the covenant
of grace. Praise be to God for his unsearchable riches.