Ladies Bible Study

A Study in Galatians

Part 8

"Children of The Freewoman!"

Before we get into this lesson letís briefly review the key points we have learned so far.

The Letter to the Galatians was written by the Apostle Paul to the churches in Galatia, a province of Asia Minor, the area we know now as modern Turkey. These were churches he had established through his ministry as an apostle. Churches in which Paul was responsible for the spiritual growth and maturity of the believers. Paul had left the area and false teachers had followed him, spreading false teaching. Most specifically that it was not by grace you were saved but by following the law, most specifically the act of circumcision. It is a strongly worded letter, with Paul at one point even referring to the Galatians as "foolish" or the original Greek word is closer to our word "stupid." We see by this that Paul was very upset with the Galatians, for following after false teachers so soon after he had left the area.

The two main themes of the letter are:

  1. Salvation by grace versus salvation by works.
  2. Spirituality by grace versus spirituality by works.

The Galatians were being led astray by accepting the teaching that works of the flesh, notably circumcision, was the only way to salvation and righteousness not Godís grace.

Letís get right into tonightís lesson.

Galatians 4:11-16: I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Brethren, I urge you to become as I am, for I am as you are. You have not injured me at all. You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

 

Paul is saying in verse 11, that he is really concerned about the direction the Galatians are taking in their walk. They are practicing works not faith and he is very concerned about where they will end up! Paul urges them to become like he is a man of faith, who realized that salvation is by faith and grace and not works. Paul stresses that he was with them in person, lived and taught what he believed in his heart and strongly encouraged them to get back to his basic teaching. He is very concerned that they will lose all the ground they have gained in their walk so far.

This is so true of us today, we make progress, we become strong in a certain area and then

BAM! The enemy attacks us in that same area again or in a new area. Remember that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy you and your testimony. (John 10:10). He will stop at nothing to do this. Whether he attacks you physically, mentally, financially or through your loved ones, He will attack you and it is important for you to remember that you are already victorious in Christ. He has already defeated the enemy for you, it is a done deal!

Walk in that victory!

2 Corinthians 2:14: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

-- Revised Standard

2 Corinthians 2:14: But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

Isnít it wonderful that we are always led in triumph! And through that triumph God uses us to glorify Him and tell others about Jesus and the victory we have because he died for us! Praise God in Heaven for evermore!!

Galatians 4:13-16: You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?

I want us to seriously look at these scriptures. Many people use this and other scriptures to

tell us that Paul was ill while he served the Lord as an Apostle. After much study on my own and prayer, I do not believe these refer to illness but an actual person sent to lead the persecution against Paul.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 11:3-5,13-28 : 3. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it. For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostlesÖ. 13. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little. What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast. For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. To our shame, I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold I speak foolishly I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.

23. Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;

26. in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Paul is referring to his physical infirmities after being stones to death, dragged out of

The city and thrown away like garbage! Not once but many times.

Act 14:19-21: Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,

These are all cities in what we know today as Turkey or Galatia.

"In early Bible History, stoning was the (perhaps surprising to many) God-commanded Israelite method of executing those found guilty of the most serious offenses against His Law. The Bible does not describe in specifics which form of restraint was used while the very gory process of stoning was done, however some manner of keeping the condemned individual from escaping was used (as documented by witnesses, and participants, over the centuries), ranging from being thrown before the stoning from an elevation of some sort that caused incapacitating injury, to being tied to a post (or simply tied hand and foot), to being buried with just the head and shoulders left above ground, to just being surrounded by a large crowd of stone throwers in an enclosed area. Unlike most other forms of capital punishment, stoning had no specific executioner, "all the congregation shall stone" (see verses below)". (Church of God Daily Bible Study 2/17/06).

Stoning was a very cruel brutal way to die and it stands to reason that Paul, if assumed dead and dragged out of the city had multiple physical signs including bruised and swollen eyes. I do not think Paulís thorn in the flesh was an illness but a person "a messenger of Satan" sent to make his life as miserable as the enemy could. I cannot help but think that a sick ill man would not have inspired anyone to believe for healing! Can you? No where else in the Word of God do I find illnesses described as messengers of Satan!

Get into the Word and research it for yourself and determine through your own study and prayer the truth in Godís Word.

Paul is saying here, you took me in after I had suffered actual physical attack by the enemy of God, you would have done anything for me, yet now you consider me your enemy!

Because I take the time to remind you of the truth!

Galatians 4:21-31: Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?

22. For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who do not travail! for the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.'' Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "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.

To remind you Hagar was the slave of Sarah, whom Sarah gave to Abraham in order to have a son. Both Sarah and Abraham got out of faith and tried to help God fulfil His promise to them. Believe me, God did not need their help and it only made the situation worse, because now Sarah had to deal with an insolent slave because the slave had a son and Sarah, the legitimate wife did not. (See Genesis 16).

Hagarís son, Ishmael was born of the flesh. To put it another way, they were trying to obtain the promise of God (a son) by works of the flesh and not by standing in faith on the promise of God! When we try to work out some problem our way, by coming up with

answers that are not Godís answers, we are yeilding to works of the flesh and no good thing comes from the flesh! Amen?

Whatever your problem is, God has the answer! It is in His Word and it will work!

We need to get into the Word of God, find the answer and stand in faith, represented by Sarah and Isaac in the above verses and stand in that promise and not waiver. We donít need to become children of the flesh and work out our problems on our own. We need to lean on God and He will provide the answer! Amen?

You remember, Sarah realized her mistake and the problems it caused and she, being led by God instructed Abraham to send Hagar and her son away! Because he was conceived as fleshly means to the promise and had no right to the inheritance of promise! Amen?

That is what we must do also, we have to get rid of our flesh, the fleshly or worldly ways of doing things and walk in the promises of God. Godís way may seem strange and illogical to us, but they work if we will only trust in Him! Amen? We have to cast out our Hagar and become Sarahís, walking despite stumbling in faith, and standing on the promise of God! Amen?

We are not children of the bondwoman, or the flesh, but of the free woman, Sarah, the woman of Faith! Amen?