January 19, 2020

Law and Grace

Passage: Galatians 4:21-31
Service Type:


  • What is the difference between a believer who rests in Christ and one who returns to the law?
    • A return to the law:
      • It Is to look to yourself and not to Christ
      • It leads to spiritual pride and a hardening of the heart/spirit
      • It leads to pretense
      • It leads to disquiet and trouble in the soul
    • Resting in Christ:
      • No confidence in himself
      • Humility
      • Recognising it is all of grace
      • A gracious spirit
      • Learns to be honest in his sin before God
      • Finds confidence in God
      • Has peace with God
  • What is our tendency? - in Christ or in the keeping of the law
  • Let us be clear - we are not without law
    • Gal 6:2
    • Jesus did not come to abolish the law
    • Jesus fulfilled the law entirely
    • However, it is the spirit of the law - example
    • The law is not a means of justification - only trusting in Jesus' work
  • Paul uses different words for one who is under the law vs under grace
    • Examples
  • A message of law and grace - two covenants:
    • The Covenant of law - at Sinai, Hagar, a slave woman
    • The Covenant of grace - Jerusalem, Sarah, the promise
  • Notice the apostle makes a distinction between 'we' and 'you' - cf v21 & 28, cf 5:3 & 5:4
  • Which category are we in?
  • Overview:
    • Analogy of the Two Mothers (v21-26)
    • Analogy of the Barren woman who rejoices (v27-28)
    • Analogy of the Two Sons (v29-31)

Analogy of the Two Mothers (v21-26)

  • Why Abraham and not Moses?
    • The 'law' - the Pentateuch
    • Let us go back to the beginning
  • Overview of the story of Abraham
    • He awaited the fulfillment of promises
    • He did not wait for the fulfillment of the son of promise - explanation
      • Ishmael - the son of a slave woman
      • Isaac - the son of promise
  • The two mothers are symbolic of the Covenant of the Law and Grace
    • The Covenant of the Law was a bondage (v23-24)
      • The people of God were meant to live on promise and not on law
      • The vast majority of God's people (the Jews) were legalists
      • They were more like children of Ishmael that children of Isaac
      • They were children of bondage and not of promise
      • Example of the pharisees
    • The Covenant of Grace (v26)
      • Born from above
      • To do with the grace of God
      • Rom 4:1-5
      • Those like Abraham who have believed
      • Received by faith alone
      • Rom 11:6
      • Gal 2:16
      • The work is in Christ
  • Application:
    • 5:1 - stand fast and free in Christ
    • Example of Mr Burden vs Mr Freeman

Analogy of the Barren woman who rejoices (v27-28)

  • Think of Sarah - explanation
    • Isaiah 54:1
    • A promise of the Gentiles coming into the nation
    • We [as believers] are children of promise (v28)
  • This should give us great encouragement
    • There were no converts before Paul came to Galatia
    • God has a people 
    • Great joy comes as a result

Analogy of the Two Sons (v29-31)

  • Consider Ishmael vs Isaac
    • Backbiting and fighting
    • Paul saw this as symbolic
  • Consider the 'religious' - explanation
    • Throughout the centuries have often been the greatest enemy of the Church of Jesus Christ
    • Why?
      • Blindness
      • Persecution
        • Quote from Spurgeon
        • The legalistic, self-righteous man
      • Separation
        • Hagar and Ishmael are cast out (v30)
        • Those who are legalistic and those who persecute - must be separated
        • Jesus Christ will cast them out at the final judgment
        • The Church of Jesus Christ cannot believe in works
  • Children of Isaac - the free woman
    • "Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free" - 5:1

Closing Remarks

  • Reading Heb 12:18-24
  • As believers we have come to and are under the grace of Jesus
  • Part of a worldwide church
  • May we ever say we are a debtor to mercy alone