Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 4
November 25, 2012
Dayton, Texas
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<221> Thesis: Hagar, as the covenant from Sinai, is the classic illustration of a mother whose children are born into a negative form of bondage. Introduction: In our last study we considered the issue of what Paul means by "the standard of flesh" as his description of the birth of the son of the bondmaid. We saw that its bottom line is "man's attempt to fulfill his desire to be God". By definition, "God" is the Executor of Power Whose use of power is always in view of His Grand Plan. That there is a "grand plan" means that creation is moving toward an ultimate achievement. That there was a child born to a bondmaid under this "standard" directly means that Abraham had taken the bit in his teeth in terms of this "grand plan" at least in terms of the "how" (How will God's Grand Plan be achieved?) if not the "what" (What is God trying to accomplish?). The standard of flesh invariably posits multiple false issues. The first, and most corrupting, is the misidentification of the "ultimate achievement" -- what creation exists to bring to pass. The second, following hard on the heels of the first, is the misimplementation of a workable means to the given "end". And the third false issue is the invariably deceitful follow up of the false means with "rational explanation". Abraham failed in the realm of "faith" by switching over to "the standard according to flesh" by 1) identifying the possession of a "son" as a greater objective than God's "ultimate achievement"; 2) implementing a process to obtain that son that was in direct contradiction of divine revelation; and 3) allowing his behavior to be described as legitimate both before and after the fact. Thus, the standard of the flesh will always be man attempting to take over God's place by means of a false goal, a false method, and a false explanation both before and after the fact. Because Paul's use of the allegory is a confrontation of "the false explanation after the fact", we need to be clear on his meaning. He is attempting to correct the Galatians descent into falsehood at the level of explanation so that we are going to be exposed to the details of both a birth that is "according to the standard of flesh" and a birth that is "through promise". This evening we are going to look into Hagar as the classic illustration of a mother whose children are born into slavery.