Galatians 4:17-5:1 — The Arab-Israeli Analogy

Analogies, illustrations, and allegories are always helpful when trying to “paint a picture” of a particularly difficult situation or circumstance for others to learn from. In this particular passage of Scripture that is exactly what the Apostle Paul does, as he continues his effort to reason with the wayward Galatians. Of course, the real struggle between grace and law remains, but Paul now seeks to help these Christian believers understand that what they are going through had already occurred long before they ever graced the earth with their presence in the persons of Ishmael and Issac.

Taking the Galatians back to the day when their ancestral, if not spiritual, mothers were at odds with one another, Paul explains by way of allegory or a spiritualizing of the events that took place between Hagar and Sarah, that they both represented the very facets of law and grace argued about in their day. Hagar represented the law. Sarah represented grace. They were mutually exclusive in terms of God’s promise. Often this is overlooked or forgotten, particularly when Abraham is so often the focus when considering salvific issues. Yet, when they are brought back into the discussion, it is the mothers, not the father, were the determining factors in God’s scheme of redemption. All of that is discussed in the following home Bible study lesson.

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