Paul talked about living the gospel in a new pattern of life by serving one another in love. The Galatian Christians had been called to freedom. They should not use this freedom to fall back into fleshy human ways. They should simply love their neighbor as themselves. Thus, the whole law is fulfilled in that one sentence about fraternal love. Paul warned them not to backbite against each other so that they would not end up devouring each other.
Paul said that circumcision does not help. There is no advantage with Christ to the circumcised one. Those who are circumcised must obey the whole law, not just parts of it. Circumcision would cut you off from Christ because you would experience a fall from grace. We wait for the hope for righteousness by faith and the Holy Spirit. Circumcision is of no value, since only faith through love counts. Why did you not obey the truth? Who stopped you from obeying the truth? God has called you. Watch out for the little evil yeast that leavens the dough. Paul had confidence in the Lord. Why was he persecuted? Paul believed in the stumbling block of the cross. He ended by saying those who preach circumcision should mutilate themselves.
Paul delivered an exhortation and warning at the same time that he spoke about Christian life and liberty to the Galatians. Jesus Christ has set us free. Therefore, we should stand fast and not submit to slavery again.
Paul cited the prophet Isaiah who said rejoice because the barren woman was in labor pains. Paul explained that they were like Isaac, the children of the promise. The child of the flesh persecuted the child of the of the Spirit. Thus, they cast out the slave and her son, so that he did not inherit like the son of the free woman. Paul said that they were not like the children of the slave woman, but were the children of the free woman.
Paul asked the Galatians if they wanted to be subject to the law. Then he talked about the two sons of Abraham. The son of the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but the son of the free women according to the promise. There were two covenants. One was with Hagar bearing children into slavery. She corresponded to current day Jerusalem, being in slavery with children. However, the Galatians were living free in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Paul wanted the Galatians to become like him as he had become like them. A bodily ailment had led Paul to preach in Galatia. They had welcomed him. In fact, they were willing to pluck out their eyes for him. Had he now become an enemy by telling the truth? Who or what was more important? A good purpose is what they needed. Paul maintained that he was in the middle of childbirth pains until Christ would be firmly established in them. Paul was perplexed about them.
Paul said that they were enslaved when they did not know God. However, now they have come to know God and be known by God. They cannot turn back to being slaves again. However, they were back observing special days and festivals. Had Paul labored in vain?
Paul explained that the heir, when he was a child, was like a slave. He was under guardians and trustees until his father set the date when he would take over. So too we were heirs but like slaves. However, when the time came, God sent his divine son born to a woman under the law. He redeemed us under the law, so that now we are the adopted sons. Thus, we can cry out to God, “Abba! Father!” We are no longer slaves but sons as heirs.
Paul said that that were no more social or ethnic distinctions between Jews and Greeks. There were no longer free people and slaves, since we were all freed from the slavery of sin. There were no more sexual or gender distinctions between males and females, since we were all one in Jesus Christ. We are all the heirs of Abraham’s promise in Jesus Christ.
Paul said that we were under the law before faith came. The disciplinary law was our custodian until Jesus Christ came to justify us by faith. We are no longer under a custodian or a disciplinarian. We are all children or sons of God through faith. We were baptized in Christ and put on Christ.