The essence of legalism is trusting in the religious activity rather than trusting in God. It is putting our confidence in a practice rather than in a Person. And without fail this will lead us to love the practice more than the Person. (Jack Deer, Surprised by the Power of His S … More
Paul addresses those who want to be under the law (v. 21) and there are many who appear to want this. In his argument he takes the Galatians back to events in the Old Testament that actually happened but he uses them as an allegory. He takes them back to the life of Abraham and his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac (Gen. 21:2,9), who were born to two different wives (legal in that society but not in the will of God). (vv. 22-23) Note the comparison that shows the difference between law and grace:
Paul explained that what happened to Sarah and Hagar is a picture of the relationship between God and man. Paul was using a type of argument that was common in his day. And that probably was being used against him by his enemies (vv. 24-26). Just as the Judaizers taught that the keeping of the law made the believer more spiritual we find certain churches and individuals doing the same today. This is what “legalism“ is. Legalismdoes not mean that setting spiritual standards is wrong. However it does mean that worshiping these standards and thinking that we are spiritual because we obey them is wrong. As an example, a person can refrain from smoking, drinking and taking drugs and still not be spiritual. The old nature cannot be controlled by law; eventually it will break out and when it does - watch out! This explains why legalistic groups often have fights and divisions (Gal. 5:15) and at the same time get involved in immorality and sins of the flesh (Gal.5:19). We who are born again are not children of a slave woman, but of the free woman, the supernatural.
Mother (Hagar) -a slave
Mother (Sarah) -a free woman
She rep. old covenant
She rep. new covenant
Old given at Sinai
New given at Calvary
Born natural birth
Born supernatural birth
Rep. legalistic religion
Rep. true Christianity
Lord, help me to never put religious activity ahead of you. In times past I can think of priding myself in the keeping of certain standards and I know that is not the right thing to do.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
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Galatians 1:1-5Paul Explaines His Authority
Galatians 1:6-10Paul Exposes His Adversaries
Galatians 1:11-17Paul’s Personal Testimony
Galatians 1:18-24Paul explains his conversion
Galatians 2:1-10Paul Goes to Jerusalem to Meet With Church Leaders
Galatians 2:11-14Paul Confronts Peter About Hyprocrisy.
Galatians 2:15-21Salvation is Not of The Law
Galatians 3:1-5Freedom From The Law
Galatians 3:6-14Salvation is by Faith And Not by Feeling
Galatians 3:15-18The Changeless Promise
Galatians 3:19-22The Law Was Temporary And Required a Mediator
Galatians 3:23-29The Law is Not Contrary to The Promise
Galatians 4:1-11Why Go Back Into Slavery?
Galatians 4:12-20Building up People in Their Faith
Galatians 4:21-26The Difference Between Law (slave) and Grace (free)
Galatians 4:27-31A Comparison Between The Two Sons of Abraham
Galatians 5:1-6Christ Died to Set us Free From Laws And Regulations
Galatians 5:7-15Love Fulfills The Law
Galatians 5:16-21The Promise of Victory Over Sin
Galatians 5:22-26The Provison For Victory Over Sin
Galatians 6:1-5Bearing And Sharing The Burdens
Galatians 6:6-10Be Generous And do Good
Galatians 6:11-18Paul Glories in The Cross