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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

               The Allegory Of Hagar And Sarah (4:21-31)

INTRODUCTION

1. In the first four chapters of Galatians, Paul defends...
   a. His apostleship as being from God, not man - Ga 1-2
   b. His gospel of justification by faith in Christ, not by the Law of
      Moses - Ga 3-4

2. In defending the gospel of justification by faith in Christ, Paul
   makes five arguments...
   a. Personal argument - the Galatians' own experience - Ga 3:1-5
   b. Scriptural argument - the testimony of the Old Testament - Ga 3:
      6-25
   c. Practical argument - how one becomes a son and heir of God - Ga 3:
      26-4:7
   d. Sentimental argument - appealing to their relationship with Paul
      - Ga 4:8-20
   e. Allegorical argument - using Hagar and Sarah as an illustration
      - Ga 4:21-31

3. In this study, we will consider Paul's allegorical argument...
   a. "Allegory" comes from Greek allos (other) and agoreuein (to speak
      in public)
   b. An allegory is "a figurative representation conveying a meaning
      other than and in addition to the literal" - Wikipedia

4. It is important to note...
   a. "Paul does not deny the actual historical narrative, but he simply
      uses it in an allegorical sense to illustrate his point for the
      benefit of his readers who are tempted to go under the burden of
      the law" - Robertson's Word Pictures
   b. "the apostle gives an allegorical interpretation to the historical
      narrative of Hagar and Sarah, not treating that narrative as an
      allegory in itself" - Smith's Bible Dictionary

[To better understand Paul's allegorical argument, perhaps it is best to
first review...]

I. THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

   A. SARAH AND HAGAR...
      1. Sarah, who is barren, has a handmaiden named Hagar - Gen 16:1
      2. Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham to bear a child in her place - Gen
         16:2-3
      3. Hagar conceives and despises her mistress Sarah - Gen 16:4
      4. Sarah deals harshly with Hagar - Gen 16:5-6
      5. Hagar returns to Sarah, and bears Ishmael - Gen 16:7-16

   B. ISHMAEL AND ISAAC...
      1. God promises that Sarah will have a son - Gen 17:15-17
      2. God confirms the covenant will be through Isaac, not Ishmael
         - Gen 17:18-21
      3. Sarah bears Isaac as God promised - Gen 21:1-8
      4. Sarah has Abraham send Hagar away - Gen 21:9-14

[With the historical account of Hagar and Sarah fresh on our minds, we
now turn to...]

II. THE APOSTOLIC APPLICATION

   A. PAUL REVIEWS THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT...
      1. Abraham had two sons - Ga 4:21-22a
      2. One (Ishmael) by a slave woman (Hagar) - Ga 4:22b
      3. One (Isaac) by a free woman (Sarah) - Ga 4:22b
      4. The son of the slave was born of the flesh - Ga 4:23a
         a. Ishmael's conception was natural
         b. When Abraham went into Hagar
      5. The son of the free woman was born through promise - Ga 4:23b
         a. Isaac's conception was by God's power - cf. He 11:11-12
         b. As promised by God - cf. Gen 21:1-2

   A. PAUL APPLIES THE ALLEGORICAL ELEMENTS...
      1. The two women are two covenants - Ga 4:24-27
         a. Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia, bearing children for
            slavery
            1) She corresponds to present Jerusalem
            2) She is in slavery with her children
         b. Sarah represents Jerusalem above, those who are free
            1) She corresponds to heaven (the New Jerusalem)
            2) She is 'our mother' (those in Christ)
            3) She who was barren is no longer desolate
      2. Those in Christ are like Isaac - Ga 4:28-31
         a. They too are children of promise
         b. They too have been persecuted
            1) Ishmael (born of the flesh) persecuted Isaac (born
               according to promise)
            2) Judaizing teachers (born of the flesh) persecuted
               Christians (born according to the Spirit)
         c. The Scriptures portend what will be the end
            1) The son of the slave woman (i.e., Judaizing teachers)
            2) Will not inherit with the son of the free woman (i.e.,
               those in Christ)
         d. Those in Christ...
            1) Are children of the free woman (heaven above)
            2) Are not of the slave (present Jerusalem, with the Law of
               Moses)

CONCLUSION

1. Thus Paul illustrates why the Galatians should not heed the Judaizing
   teachers...
   a. It would be a return to slavery (to the Law of Moses)
   b. It would be turning their back on the Spirit who conceived them
      - cf. Tit 3:5-7
   c. It would be turning away from the promises of heaven - cf. He 12:
      22-25

2. Our threat today might not be from Judaizing teachers...
   a. But there are those who would have us turn away from Christ
      1) Voices in the world
      2) False religions
   b. The end result would be the same
      1) A return to slavery - cf. Jn 8:31-34
      2) Falling short of receiving the promises - cf. He 4:1-2,11

Only by remaining in Christ can we be the free children of promise, with
Jerusalem above as our true mother...! - cf. Re 2:10c; 3:12
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