by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 10 January 20, 2013 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(233)Thesis:God's "solution" to the conflict engendered by the Law is the final separation of the children of the flesh from the children of the Spirit under the oversight of Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham.
Introduction:We come this evening to our final study of the last paragraph of the second section of Paul's letter to the Galatians. We have seen that the thrust of this paragraph is the question Paul raised at the beginning: are you 'hearing' the Law? It seems fitting, therefore, that the final argument for 'listening' is Paul's quote of Genesis 21:10. In that text we read of Sarah's demand that Abraham "cast out" Hagar and Ishmael. That demand did not sit well with Abraham, but God told him to give in to Sarah's demand. Because God told Abraham to yield to Sarah on the issue, Paul quoted "the Scriptures" in such a way that Sarah's demand becomes "the word of God". Interestingly, this "word of God" through Sarah, who was initially at fault, has become Paul's final argument for the Galatians to reject the teaching of the legalists who are so adamantly opposed to grace. It is even more interesting that Abraham was "at fault" in listening to Sarah in the first place, but is now commanded by God to listen to her.
Paul's point, however, is unmistakable: the end result of legal theology is being rejected by God and cast out into the Lake of Fire.
I. The God-Options in Light of the Problem.
A. The nature of the problem.
1. Those who grasp the message of the Law will inevitably persecute those who respond to the message of grace.
2. Inevitable, and on-going, persecution is not acceptable to a kingdom whose characteristics are "righteousness, peace, and joy" (Romans 14:17), though it is an initial tool in the hands of God to bring that everlasting Kingdom into being (Hebrews 12:11).
B. The options before God.
1. Give up on the entire process.
2. Give everyone the legitimate outcome of their "faith" (Matthew 25:26 and following/Luke 19:22 and following).
a. Faith that is "in" the Law boils down to faith in one's own sovereignty and power and leads to a total exposure and humiliation, and a determination that such "believers" are beyond redemption.
b. Faith that is "in" Grace boils down to faith in God's promise(s) that leads to the establishment of the "believer" in the thing promised by God, and a determination that such "believers" will escape all of the issues of persecution.
II. The Long-Declared Warning and Promise of God.
A. There will, one day, be an ultimate, final, and effective separation of those who believe in Grace (God) from those who believe in Law (their 'right' to sovereignty and power).
B. Paul's quote of Sarah's demand is just one of a multitude of texts that declare that the children of slaves will not inherit with the children of the freewoman.
III. The Text in This Context.
A. Paul has insisted that those who are leaning heavily in the direction of putting their faith in themselves need to 'hear' what the Law actually says to such persons.
1. They do not need to 'hear' the distortions of men -- that God gave the Law to empower us to create our own future.
2. They do need to 'hear' what God actually said in the Law -- that men are hopeless apart from His control over their future.
B. Paul has also insisted that "Law" (and its automatic consequence of conflict) has a beneficial impact as long as its presence is restricted to a temporary setting.
1. The problems created by man's fallenness require man to have to endure the outcomes of those problems to some extent as an edifying methodology (this is the Hebrews 12:11 truth).
2. It is God's Son, Jesus, who takes Abraham's place as the executor of the demand to cast out the bondwoman and her son, and His execution of that demand has long been taught to be a final, after-many-years, event that assumes the on-going persecution until that time.
C. Paul's Point is that a legitimate grasp of the future is essential to a legitimate practice of truth in time.