An Allegory — Galatians 4:21-31


An Allegory

These are slightly edited notes. If you would like to hear how this sermon came out, you can listen on SermonAudio.com. Here’s a link to the sermon: An Allegory

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar 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. 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 a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 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. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Introduction

We are studying the last of the doctrinal section of Galatians

Personal-Doctrinal, Practical

What is going on in Galatians — Judaizers had come to the young churches in Galatia

Distorted the Gospel

That they must add (3:3) to their salvation the works of the Jewish law

They (the Judaizers) claimed they were the true sons of Abraham

Likely, used Isaac as an illustration (circumcision)

Discredited Paul

Wanted them to follow them

Claimed Paul had not taught them the whole truth

Jewish teachers often used an allegorical method of interpretation

In allegories, what’s there is not there (Jonah, etc.)

Only “initiated” can know what is there

Interpretation & Explanation

Verse 21 — Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?

Two laws

First, the system of law (legalism)

Second, books of the law (Genesis to Deut.)

Verse 22-23 — For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

The story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Isaac, and Ishmael.

Genesis 12:1-3 (75 years old)

Genesis 16 (85-86 years old)

Sarah’s idea (only solution conceivable was fleshly)

Hagar despises Sarah

Sarah chases her away

Hagar lives a hard life in the household

Genesis 18:10-12

Genesis 21:1-10

Verse 24-27 — Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engendereth to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar 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. 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 a husband.

An Allegory

Not in the sense that current literature employs the term (Pilgrim’s Progress — story is not true, teaches truth)

It is a “perfect” illustration — more is going on than meets the eye.

Use comparison chart

An Allegory

The Women

Bondage

Liberty

Hagar — slave (never free)

Sarah — freewoman (never a slave)

Hagar = intended only as a handmaid

Sarah = orig. wife of Abraham

Hagar = bare first son (Adam)

Sarah = elder wife (Christ)

Mt. Sinai in Arabia >> Jerusalem which is

City Abram looked for >> Jerusalem above

The Sons

Ishmael — product of a scheme (flesh)

Isaac — fruit of divine promise (Spirit)

Ishmael is the elder

Isaac is the younger

Not given as means of justification

Justification by faith

No difference in appearance (circumcision)

No difference as to character (Abraham’s death)

No inheritance

All the inheritance

The Covenants

Moses’ Law

Abraham’s Birthright

Human achievement

Justification by grace through faith

Law — life by obedience (Leviticus 18:5), death by sinning (Ezekiel 18:20)

Gospel — life by grace through faith

Fleshly offspring less

Spiritual offspring more

Sent away

Kept in house

   

 

Verse 28-29 — Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

The clincher — we, who believe by faith, are the children of promise

The Judaizers — children of Abraham yes, but also children of Hagar!

Just as Isaac was mocked and persecuted by Ishmael, so the Judaizers mock and persecute true believers.

Verse 30-31 — 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. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Cast out the Judaizers

They want you to cast me (Paul) out

You need to cast them out.

Application

The plan of redemption

God’s plan is one of grace, not works

God’s is a promise, not the product of the flesh

The Christ of salvation

Christ is the promised seed

Christ is the answer – the only answer

The message to the church today

Galatians is written to believers

Not to people who thought they must keep the law to be saved

They began to think they must keep the law to stay saved and to please God

This is categorically false

This is legalism — when you depend on rules, laws, standards to provide your standing with God or with holiness

How should we then live? — chapters 5 and 6

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