Galatians 4: The Slave of the Law and the Son of the Gospel

Originally posted by Pastor Wolfmueller


(31 verses, 3:40 to read)

What I am about to READ

  • Like all of Paul’s epistles, this chapter is loaded down with helpful theology. He continues his discourse on justification by grace through faith by contracting pictures of the slave and the son. The Law brings forth slaves while the Gospel brings forth sons.


  • The slave vs the son (1-11)
  • Interlude: a person entreaty from Paul based on the mercy they showed to him (12-20)
  • The slave and the son in the Old Testament (21-31)


  • The climax of this picture is the contrasting of the slave and the son. Paul uses the sons of Abraham to demonstrate this point.
  • Slavery: Hagar, Ishmael, Mt Sinai, the Jews in Jerusalem
  • Son of promise: Sarah, Isaac, New Jerusalem, the church
  • This extended allegory is a picture of Law and Gospel. Ishmael was born through Abraham’s wisdom and plotting, but the Lord did not give to Ishmael a promise. The promise was that Sarah would conceive, and this the Lord accomplished in His mercy. So our salvation is not a matter of our works or efforts or plotting, but of the Lord’s promise.


  • Heavenly Father we thank You  for the promise of the Gospel that gives us the forgiveness of sins, life, hope, and salvation. Keep us in the joy of this promise, and keep us back for the deception of trusting in our works. Amen.

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