“Don’t You Hear the Law?” ( Galatians 4: 15-21, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Exasperated, Paul wonders at the Galatians’ desire to place themselves back under the yoke of the Law. He worries over them as they fall victim to Judaizers who wish them circumcised, observant of certain days and specific customs. Paul says “it is always good to be enthusiastic about good;” but he also says he is “suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you.” Paul strongly suggests to the church at Galatia that observing the Law does not and can not make them any more Christ-like!

15 What happened to this sense of being blessed you had? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 They are enthusiastic about you, but not for any good. Instead, they want to isolate you so you will be enthusiastic about them. 18 Now it is always good to be enthusiastic about good—and not just when I am with you. 19 My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you. 20 I would like to be with you right now and change my tone of voice, because I don’t know what to do about you. 21 Tell me, those of you who want to be under the law, don’t you hear the law?

Paul then tells them a story. He reminds the Galatians of the children of the free woman, Sarah and the slave woman, Hagar. Both children come from Abraham, but only one is the true heir.

Rid yourself of the yoke of slavery and take up the cloak of freedom in Christ.

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“The Simple Message of the Good News” ( Galatians 2: 16-21, WYC ) by Carley Evans


Mankind is not justified before God by working hard to please Him. Paul simply says that if that were so, then Christ died in vain. Rather mankind is saved by the Work of God in His Son, Jesus Christ and by God’s Grace and Mercy.

Paul also says that if we fall into sin, that does not then make Christ the “minister of sin!” He also claims that if we strive to obey the Law, we make ourselves trespassers. Rather we “are fixed to the Cross” so as “to live to God with Christ.” The Law is nailed there on the tree, and all its power destroyed.

Paul warns “cast not away the Grace of God.”

“16 know that a man [soothly knowing for a man] is not justified of the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; and we believe in Jesus Christ, that we be justified of the faith of Christ [that we be justified by the faith of Christ], and not of the works of the law. Wherefore of the works of the law each flesh shall not be justified.

17 And if we seek to be justified in Christ, we ourselves be found sinful men, whether Christ be minister of sin? God forbid. [That if we seeking to be justified in Christ, and we ourselves be found sinners, whether Christ is minister of sin? Far be it.]

18 And if I build again things that I have destroyed [Soothly if I build again those things that I destroyed], I make myself a trespasser.

19 For by the law I am dead to the law, [For by the law I am dead to the law, that I live to God;]

20 and I am fixed to the cross, that I live to God with Christ. And now live not I, but Christ liveth in me. But that I live now in flesh, I live in the faith of God’s Son, that loved me, and gave himself for me. [with Christ I am fixed to the cross. Forsooth I live now, not I, but Christ liveth in me. Forsooth that I live now in flesh, I live in the faith of God’s Son, which loved me, and betook himself for me.]

21 I cast not away the grace of God; for if rightwiseness be through law [for if rightwiseness is by the law], then Christ died without cause.”

“Approve Excellence” ( Philippians 1: 10, KJV ) by Carley Evans


Paul commends the church at Philippi to “approve things that are excellent.” (Philippians 1:10) He — with Timothy — encourages them to allow “love to abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” (Philippians 1:9) He wants them to “be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:10) He commands them, “be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:11)

Paul upholds excellence. Excellence comes to us through Jesus Christ. Excellence consists of: love, knowledge, discernment, sincerity, innocence and the fruits of righteousness which include peace, gentleness, loving-kindness, joy, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Paul sets the bar rather high. But he provides a means to this excellence to which God calls us. Paul writes, “They that are Christ’s crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)

“We Were Children” ( Galatians 4: 1, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith,” writes Paul to the church at Galatia. When you are baptized into Christ, you “put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26, 27) And in belonging to Christ, “you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

Now Paul is telling the Galatians that as long as the heir is still a child, he “is no different from a slave.” (Galatians 4:1) This heir, as a child, remains under the guardianship of the “elementary principles of the world” and under the management of the law. (Galatians 4:3,4) But God, at the “fullness of time,” sends His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ into the world “born of woman, born under the law, to redeem” you who are still children. At this point in time, you become heirs, “the owner[s] of everything” God has prepared for you. (Galatians 4:4,5,2)

You become sons of God by adoption. And with this adoption, you become brothers of Jesus Christ and also receive the promised Holy Spirit, who cries in your heart, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Galatians 4:6) “You are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:7)

An heir has rights to everything the Father owns. Paul exhorts that there is no reason “to be under the law” for Abraham has “two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.” (Galatians 4:21,22) You are born of the free woman, so why would you desire to be in the company of the slave woman? What have you in common with the slaves — with those who remain under the management of the law and enslaved to the elementary principles of the world? You, rather, “are children of promise.” (Galatians 4:28)

“Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:30)

“No Longer Slaves” ( Galatians 4: 4, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Once we were “under guardians,” under and “enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.” (Galatians 4:2,3) Then, “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law.” Jesus came “so that we might receive adoption as sons” and no longer be “slaves.” (Galatians 4:5,1)

Paul is weary. He laments, “Now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” (Galatians 4:9) “Tell me,” he writes, “you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?” (Galatians 4:21) Don’t you understand that you are now “free children of promise” rather than bond “children of the slave.” (Galatians 4:28,31)

“For freedom Christ has set [you] free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Paul warns, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” (Galatians 5:4-5) “Only faith working through love” “counts for anything” “in Christ.” (Galatians 5:6)

“Watch Out” ( Galatians 5: 15, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Christ set us free from the law of sin and death and we are “not [to] submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Since we have died to the world in and through Christ, Paul wonders why we “submit to regulations” of the world as if we were still alive to the world. (Colossians 2:20) “For [we] are called to freedom, brothers, only [we are] not [to] use [our] freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love [we are to] serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) In love, we serve one another and so fulfill “the whole law.” (Galatians 5:14)

In our efforts to conform to regulations which “indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but have no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23); sometimes we attack one another. “But if [we] bite and devour one another, watch out that [we] are not consumed by one another.” Instead, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) Notice Paul calls us to “do good to everyone.”

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

“Before Faith Came” ( Galatians 3: 23, ESV ) by Carley Evans


“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.” Paul identifies the law as “our guardian until Christ came.” (Galatians 3:24) This guardian kept us under lock and key, safely shut up in a cell. Once Christ arrived, we became “sons of God, through faith.” (Galatians 3:26) Having been made new, and given our freedom; we “are no longer slaves, but sons, and if sons, then heirs through God.” (Galatians 4:7) We are suddenly able to “put on Christ” and step out of the purview of the law. (Galatians 3:27)

Once you leave the law behind you, once you throw off those chains that once bound you; you don’t usually “desire to be under the law” again. (Galatians 4:21) You are not of Mount Sinai, but of the Jerusalem above, says Paul. “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman. So, brothers we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:30-31)

“For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)