Galatians 4

Paul’s fourth chapter deals with freedom and slavery. Even a child of the freeborn son still has
to be obedient to their parents and the one who takes care of them (4:1-2). The freeborn is still
under the law as they learn how to live in a way that does not displease their parents, to further
learn to please them.

The old law kept the evil in the world at bay, as well as our own passions under control. Yet we
are God’s children (6-7). Though we are God’s children, we can do things that displease God
and lose our faith in Him. How easy it is for us to go off and enslave ourselves again to false
teachings or by committing a sin we have a desire for. Sometimes all the devil has to do is get
us to commit a sin, and then get us to justify our actions. God does not disown us. His love was
there before when we were still yet sinners (Rom 5:8). In fact, his love still calls us back as Paul’s
did for the Galatians (8-10). Paul’s complaint was not in keeping the Ten Commandments; it
was in requiring the ritual laws that were no longer in effect. This is paramount in
understanding this book. God no longer requires it, so it does not necessarily please Him.
Paul does not complain about some sin they had done to him. Rather, he sees in them a
different spirit of which they receive his teachings (15-16). They are doubting him. He exposes
the deception of those who are getting the Galatians to doubt the faith they received from
From the world’s point of view, freedom becomes slavery while slavery becomes freedom. The
deceivers put restrictions on them so that they are happy with whatever they can get, while
Paul has done many good things for them and even suffered greatly for their faith (19). It was
something Paul never complained about, yet left him at a complete loss as to why the change
of heart (30).
Paul begins to reveal more about the law that may be imposed on them. He is demonstrating
the slavery that is intended by those who want to use them for their own gain. In the process,
he compares the one who is a slave and the child born free.
Those who are slave born do not have the truth taught to them. They are totally cut off from
the blessing of Abraham (30). To this very day, God to them is the master and they are slaves
(the Muslim faith). Slaves do not receive gifts. They usually receive punishment. This barrier
between slave and freedom can be overcome by faith, but only by faith in Jesus the Christ.
By going back to Abraham and the dichotomy of the two sons he nails home the difference of
slavery and freedom, the difference between the curse (30) and the blessing. We are the ones
who should be receiving the blessing. Yet when we follow false teachings, we put ourselves
under the curse. Paul is very distraught by his spiritual children and their fate (19-20). It really is
his love for them that motivates his writing this letter.

Father Barr