Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 4, Verse 31

Galatians 4:31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

Paul wraps up his “figurative” argument (see Galatians 4:24). There is an old cliché, that when you see the word “therefore” in the Bible, you need to look closer, and see what its “there for.”

First, Paul once again refers to the Galatians as “brothers.” In the commentary on verse 28 here in chapter 4, we discussed how this reference – referring to his readers as brothers – was for Paul a simple statement of truth – a spiritual reality. Its more than just a term of endearment, or an indication of a close relationship. The Galatians had a real relationship with Christ – they were truly born again, truly part of God’s family. This is driven home by Paul’s use of the word “we.” Paul is one with the Galatians. The foundational concept of RELATIONSHIP is really the most important thing. (As I have repeatedly referenced before, one of my spiritual heroes, Charles Simpson, once said that “everything in the Kingdom of God boils down to the concept of RELATIONSHIP.”)

The rest of verse 31 is a simple summary of the entire book. The slave woman stands for the natural, the flesh, and trying to obtain righteousness by our own efforts. The free woman stands for the supernatural, and grace, and the promises of God. The truly born again believer is not enslaved by the law (see Galatians 3:22-25), but a child of the promise (see Galatians 3:6-9), and lives by faith. The focus of the “natural,” side is on that which is connected to the temporal world – that which we see, feel, hear etc. – the external. This includes matters such as the color of our skin, our language, what we wear, our ethnicity, or culture, the music we listen to and use in our worship services, the place we live etc. The focus on the “supernatural” side is on that which is connected to heavenly realms – on the person of Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s transformational power, God’s grace and forgiveness, and most importantly, our relationship with Jesus, and because of that, our relationship with each other.

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