Heirs According To Promise – Galatians 3:26 – 4:31

Click onto any blue letter or number to see the post and text on the blog.

The video is that of Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., LL.D, (June 17, 1904 – December 1, 1988) He was an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUS) and later became the pastor of a non-denominational church, a Bible teacher, theologian, and was also a radio minister. In 1967, he began broadcasting the Thru the Bible Radio Network program. In a systematic study of each book of the Bible, McGee took his listeners from Genesis to Revelation in a two and one-half year “Bible bus trip,” as he called it. After retiring from the pastorate in January, 1970, and realizing that two and a half years was not enough time to teach the Bible, McGee completed another study of the entire Bible in a five-year period. Thru the Bible has been translated into over 100 languages and is broadcast on Trans World Radio throughout the world every weekday. Education: B.Div.from Columbia Theological Seminary; Th.M. and Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. (Info from Wikipedia)

Post Key Verses: Galatians 3:29 and 4:10.

Consider The Application Of The Law

Exodus 19:6

Israel at Mount Sinai

New King James Version (NKJV) The Law was given to the Israelites, and only to the Israelits. The year was 1491 B.C. The Law was enacted immediately. At that time, people were inhabiting North and South America. There is no way that these “non Israelites” would ever have had knowledge of the Law. (Mine)

6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Leviticus 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Burnt Offering

The Law is explained to the children of Israel. From this opening verse, until the last verse of Leviticus, the Law is given to the children of Israel, and only to the children of Israel. (Mine)

1 Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.

Leviticus 27:34 New King James Version (NKJV)

This last verse states that the Law was given to the Children of Israel, and only to the children of Israel. (Mine)

34 These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel on Mount Sinai.

To Keep The Whole Law vs Not Keeping The Whole Law

James 2:10 New King James Version (NKJV)

This verse is clear. All of the Law must be kept, or none of the Law is kept. (Mine)

10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.

Consider the following part of the Law.

Leviticus 4:1-4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Is anyone prepared to keep the whole law, by taking a bull to a priest to be killed to cover a sin? This action can not remove a sin, only cover it. Christ fulfilled this aspect of the Law, and every aspect of the Law (Matthew 5:17). We do not take a bull, or any other animal, to anyone to kill to cover our sins. Read all of Leviticus and determine if we are supposed to keep the law. (Mine)

The Sin Offering

1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, 3 if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. 4 He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the Lord.

613 Laws – There are 613 Laws, as explained in the following two links.

The Torah, or Jewish Written Law, consists of the five books of the Hebrew Bible – known more commonly to non-Jews as the “Old Testament” – that were given by G-d to Moses on Mount Sinai and include within them all of the biblical laws of Judaism. The Torah is also known as the Chumash, Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses.

The Law: All 613 Commandments!

Galatians 3:23-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Rescued From The Law By Faith

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 4:1-31 New King James Version (NKJV)

Heirs In Christ

1 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Fears for the Church Heirs In Christ
8 But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. 9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
12 Brethren, I urge you to become like me, for I became like you. You have not injured me at all. 13 You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first. 14 And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
17 They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. 18 But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, 20 I would like to be present with you now and to change my tone; for I have doubts about you.

Two Covenants

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren,
You who do not bear!
Break forth and shout,
You who are not in labor!
For the desolate has many more children
Than she who has a husband.”
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.
3:26 sons of God. While God is the Father of all people in a general sense because He created them (Acts 17:24–28), only those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are God’s true spiritual children. Unbelievers are the children of Satan (Matt. 13:38; John 8:38, 41, 44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10; cf. Eph. 2:3; 1 John 5:19).
3:27 baptized into Christ. This is not water baptism, which cannot save (see notes on Acts 2:38; 22:16). Paul used the word “baptized” in a metaphorical manner to speak of being “immersed,” or “placed into” Christ (cf. 2:20) by the spiritual miracle of union with Him in His death and resurrection. See notes on Rom. 6:3, 4; cf. 1 Cor. 6:17. put on Christ. The result of the believer’s spiritual union with Christ. Paul was emphasizing the fact that we have been united with Christ through salvation. Positionally before God, we have put on Christ, His death, resurrection, and righteousness (see notes on Phil. 3:8–10). Practically, we need to “put on Christ” before men, in our conduct (Rom. 13:14).
3:28 you are all one in Christ Jesus. All those who are one with Jesus Christ are one with each other. This verse does not deny that God has designed racial, social, and sexual distinctions among Christians, but it affirms that those do not imply spiritual inequality before God. Nor is this spiritual equality incompatible with the God-ordained roles of headship and submission in the church, society, and at home. Jesus Christ, though fully equal with the Father, assumed a submissive role during His incarnation (Phil. 2:5–8).


3:29 Abraham’s seed. See note on v. 7. Not all physical children of Abraham are the “Israel of God” (cf. 6:16), that is, true spiritual children of Abraham (Rom. 9:6–8). Gentile believers who are not physical children of Abraham are, however, his spiritual children in the sense that they followed the pattern of his faith (see note on Rom. 4:11, 12). heirs according to the promise. All believers are heirs of the spiritual blessing that accompanied the Abrahamic Covenant—justification by faith (Gen. 15:6; cf. Rom. 4:3–11).

Lexicon, from Bible Hub: NASB Lexicon Galatians 3:26 – “Sons” relates equally to males and females (3:28). Anyone who has been born again is a “Son of God.” (Mine)

NASB © Greek Transliteration Strong’s Definition Origin
For you are all Πάντες pantes 3956 all, every a prim. word
sons υἱοὶ uioi 5207 a son a prim. word
of God θεοῦ theou 2316 God, a god of uncertain origin
through διὰ dia 1223 through, on account of, because of a prim. preposition
faith πίστεως pisteōs 4102 faith, faithfulness from peithó
in Christ Χριστῷ christō 5547 the Anointed One, Messiah, Christ from chrió

Strong’s Concordance – 5207. Huios (males and females: see Helps)
huios: a son
Original Word: υἱός, οῦ, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: huios
Phonetic Spelling: (hwee-os’)
Short Definition: a son, descendent
Definition: a son, descendent.
HELPS Word-studies
5207 hyiós – properly, a son (by birth or adoption); (figuratively) anyone sharing the same nature as their Father. For the believer, becoming a son of God begins with being reborn (adopted) by the heavenly Father – through Christ (the work of the eternal Son). In the NT, 5207 /hyiós (“son”) equally refers to female believers (Gal 3:28).
5207 /hyiós (“son”) emphasizes likeness of the believer to the heavenly Father, i.e. resembling His character more and more by living in faith (“God’s inwrought persuasons,” see 4102 /pístis).
5207 /hyiós (“son”) highlights the (legal) right to the Father’s inheritance, i.e. as the believer lives in conformity with the Father’s nature (purpose).

4:1–7 Paul expands on the analogy of a child’s coming of age (3:24–26), contrasting believers’ lives before salvation (as children and servants), with their lives after salvation (as adults and sons). Both Paul’s Jewish and Gentile readers readily understood this imagery, since the Jews, Greeks, and Romans all had a ceremony to mark a child’s coming of age.

4:1 child. The Gr. word refers to a child too young to talk; a minor, spiritually and intellectually immature and not ready for the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood.

4:2 guardians and stewards. “Guardians” were slaves entrusted with the care of underage boys, while “stewards” managed their property for them until they came of age. Along with the tutor (3:24), they had almost complete charge of the child—so that, for all practical purposes, a child under their care did not differ from a slave.

4:3 when we were children…in bondage. Before our “coming of age” when we came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. the elements of the world. “Elements” is from a Gr. word meaning “row,” or “rank,” and was used to speak of basic, foundational things like the letters of the alphabet. In light of its use in v. 9, it is best to see it here as a reference to the basic elements and rituals of human religion (see note on Col. 2:8). Paul describes both Jewish and Gentile religions as elemental because they are merely human, never rising to the level of the divine. Both Jewish religion and Gentile religion centered on man-made systems of works. They were filled with laws and ceremonies to be performed so as to achieve divine acceptance. All such rudimentary elements are immature, like behaviors of children under bondage to a guardian.

4:4 the fullness of the time. In God’s timetable, when the exact religious, cultural, and political conditions demanded by His perfect plan were in place, Jesus came into the world. God sent forth His Son. As a father set the time for the ceremony of his son becoming of age and being released from the guardians, stewards, and tutors, so God sent His Son at the precise moment to bring all who believe out from under bondage to the law—a truth Jesus repeatedly affirmed (John 5:30, 36, 37; 6:39, 44, 57; 8:16, 18, 42; 12:49; 17:21, 25; 20:21). That the Father sent Jesus into the world teaches His pre-existence as the eternal second member of the Trinity. See notes on Phil. 2:6, 7; Heb. 1:3–5; cf. Rom. 8:3, 4. born of a woman. This emphasizes Jesus’ full humanity, not merely His virgin birth (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:20–25). Jesus had to be fully God for His sacrifice to be of the infinite worth needed to atone for sin. But, He also had to be fully man so He could take upon Himself the penalty of sin as the substitute for man. See Luke 1:32, 35; John 1:1, 14, 18. under the law. Like all men, Jesus was obligated to obey God’s law. Unlike anyone else, however, He perfectly obeyed that law (John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5). His sinlessness made Him the unblemished sacrifice for sins, who “fulfilled all righteousness,” i.e., perfectly obeyed God in everything. That perfect righteousness is what is imputed to those who believe in Him.

4:5 to redeem. See note on 3:13. those…under the law. Guilty sinners who are under the law’s demands and its curses (see notes on 3:10, 13) and in need of a savior (see note on 3:23). the adoption as sons. “Adoption” is the act of bringing someone who is the offspring of another into one’s own family. Since unregenerate people are by nature children of the devil (see note on 3:26), the only way they can become God’s children is by spiritual adoption (Rom. 8:15, 23; Eph. 1:5).

4:6 Spirit of His Son. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to confirm to believers their adoption as God’s children (see note on Rom. 8:15). Assurance of salvation is a gracious work of the Holy Spirit and does not come from any human source. Abba. An Aram. term of endearment, used by young children to speak to their fathers; the equivalent of the word “Daddy” (see note on Rom. 8:15).

4:8–11 While salvation is the free gift of God (Rom. 5:15, 16, 18; 6:23; Eph. 2:8), it brings with it serious responsibility (cf. Luke 12:48). God requires believers to live a holy life because they are children of a holy God and desire to love and worship Him (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:15–18). That obligation was to the unchanging moral and spiritual principles that forever reflect the nature of God; however, it did not include the rituals and ceremonies unique to Israel under Mosaic law as the Judaizers falsely claimed.

4:8 when you did not know God. Before coming to saving faith in Christ, no unsaved person knows God. See notes on Eph. 4:17–19; 2 Cor. 4:3–6. by nature are not gods. The Greco-Roman pantheon of non-existent deities the Galatians had imagined they worshiped before their conversion (cf. Rom. 1:23; 1 Cor. 8:4; 10:19, 20; 12:2; 1 Thess. 1:9).

4:9 known by God. We can know God only because He first knew us, just as we choose Him only because He first chose us (John 6:44; 15:16), and we love Him only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). turn again. See notes on 3:1–3. weak…elements…again… bondage. See note on v. 3.

KEY VERSE COMMENT 4:10 Consider the Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their opinions of holidays. (Mine)

4:10 days…years. The rituals, ceremonies, and festivals of the Jewish religious calendar which God had given, but were never required for the church. Paul warns the Galatians, as he did the Colossians (see notes on Rom. 14:1–6; Col. 2:16, 17), against legalistically observing them as if they were required by God or could earn favor with Him.

4:11 labored…in vain. Paul feared that his effort in establishing and building the Galatian churches might prove to be futile if they fell back into legalism (cf. 3:4; 1 Thess. 3:5).

4:12–20 Having sternly rebuked the Galatians, Paul changes his approach and makes an appeal based on his strong affection for them.

4:12 become like me, for I became like you. Paul had been a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, trusting in his own righteousness to save him (cf. Phil. 3:4–6). But when he came to Christ, he abandoned all efforts to save himself, trusting wholly in God’s grace (Phil. 3:7–9). He urged the Galatians to follow his example and avoid the legalism of the Judaizers. You have not injured me. Though the Jews persecuted him when he first went to Galatia, the Galatian believers had not harmed Paul, but had enthusiastically received him when he preached the gospel to them (cf. Acts 13:42–50; 14:19). How, he asked, could they reject him now?

4:13 physical infirmity. Some think the illness Paul refers to was malaria, possibly contracted in the coastal lowlands of Pamphylia. That could explain why Paul and Barnabas apparently did not preach at Perga, a city in Pamphylia (cf. Acts 13:13, 14). The cooler and healthier weather in Galatia and especially at Pisidian Antioch (3,600 ft. above sea level), where Paul went when he left Perga, would have brought some relief to the fever caused by malaria. Although malaria is a serious, debilitating disease, its attacks are not continuous; Paul could have ministered between bouts with fever.

4:14 you received me. The Galatians welcomed Paul in spite of his illness, which in no way was a barrier to his credibility or acceptance. as Christ Jesus. See notes on Matt. 18:5–10.

4:15 blessing you enjoyed. “Blessing” can also be translated “happiness,” or “satisfaction.” Paul points out that the Galatians had been happy and content with his gospel preaching (cf. Acts 13:48) and wonders why they had turned against him. plucked out your own eyes. This may be a figure of speech (cf. Matt. 5:29; 18:9), or an indication that Paul’s bodily illness (see note on v. 13) had somehow affected his eyes (cf. 6:11). In either case, it reflects the great love the Galatians had initially expressed for the apostle.

4:16 your enemy. The Galatians had become so confused that, in spite of their previous affection for Paul, some had come to regard him as their enemy. The apostle reminds them that he had not harmed them, but merely told them the truth—a truth that had once brought them great joy (see note on v. 15).

4:17 They. The Judaizers (see Introduction: Background and Setting). zealously. With a serious concern, or warm interest (the same word is used in 1:14 to describe Paul’s former zeal for Judaism). The Judaizers appeared to have a genuine interest in the Galatians, but their true motive was to exclude the Galatians from God’s gracious salvation and win recognition for themselves.

4:18 not only when I am present. Paul encouraged the Galatians to have the same zeal for the true gospel of grace that they had had when he was with them.

4:19 My little children. Paul’s only use of this affectionate phrase, which John uses frequently (1 John 2:1, 18, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21). until Christ is formed in you. In contrast to the evil motives of the Judaizers (see note on 3:1), Paul sought to bring the Galatians to Christlikeness. This is the goal of salvation (see notes on Rom. 8:29).

4:20 doubts. The verb means “to be at wits end.” Cf. v. 6.

4:21—5:1 Paul, continuing to contrast grace and law, faith and works, employs an OT story as an analogy or illustration of what he has been teaching.

4:21 under the law. See note on 3:10.

4:22 two sons. Ishmael, son of Sarah’s Egyptian maid Hagar (Gen. 16:1–16), and Isaac, Sarah’s son (Gen 21:1–7).

4:23 according to the flesh. Ishmael’s birth was motivated by Abraham and Sarah’s lack of faith in God’s promise and fulfilled by sinful human means. through promise. God miraculously enabled Abraham and Sarah to have Isaac when Sarah was well past childbearing age and had been barren her entire life.

4:24 symbolic. The Gr. word was used of a story that conveyed a meaning beyond the literal sense of the words. In this passage, Paul uses historical people and places from the OT to illustrate spiritual truth. This is not an allegory, nor are there any allegories in Scripture. An allegory is a fictional story where real truth is the secret, mysterious, hidden meaning. The story of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, and Isaac is actual history and has no secret or hidden meaning. Paul uses it only as an illustration to support his contrast between law and grace. two covenants. Paul uses the two mothers, their two sons, and two locations as a further illustration of two covenants. Hagar, Ishmael, and Mt. Sinai (earthly Jerusalem) represent the covenant of law; Sarah, Isaac and the heavenly Jerusalem the covenant of promise. However, Paul cannot be contrasting these two covenants as different ways of salvation, one way for OT saints, another for NT saints—a premise he has already denied (2:16; 3:10–14, 21, 22). The purpose of the Mosaic Covenant was only to show all who were under its demands and condemnation their desperate need for salvation by grace alone (3:24)—it was never intended to portray the way of salvation. Paul’s point is that those, like the Judaizers, who attempt to earn righteousness by keeping the law receive only bondage and condemnation (3:10, 23). While those who partake of salvation by grace—the only way of salvation since Adam’s sin—are freed from the law’s bondage and condemnation. Mount Sinai. An appropriate symbol for the old covenant, since it was at Mt. Sinai that Moses received the law (Ex. 19). Hagar. Since she was Sarah’s slave (Gen. 16:1), Hagar is a fitting illustration of those under bondage to the law (cf. vv. 5, 21; 3:23). She was actually associated with Mt. Sinai through her son Ishmael, whose descendants settled in that region.

4:25 corresponds to Jerusalem. The law was given at Sinai and received its highest expression in the temple worship at Jerusalem. The Jewish people were still in bondage to the law.

4:26 Jerusalem above is free. Heaven (Heb. 12:18, 22). Those who are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) are free from the Mosaic law, works, bondage, and trying endlessly and futilely to please God by the flesh. the mother. Believers are children of the heavenly Jerusalem, the “mother-city” of heaven. In contrast to the slavery of Hagar’s children, believers in Christ are free (5:1; Is. 61:1; Luke 4:18; John 8:36; Rom. 6:18, 22; 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17).

4:27 Paul applies the passage from Is. 54:1 to the Jerusalem above.

4:28 children of promise. Just as Isaac inherited the promises made to Abraham (Gen. 26:1–3), so also are believers the recipients of God’s redemptive promises (1 Cor. 3:21–23; Eph. 1:3), because they are spiritual heirs of Abraham (see note on 3:29).

4:29 he who was born according to the flesh. Ishmael. See note on v. 23. persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit. Isaac, whom Ishmael mocked at the feast celebrating Isaac’s weaning (see Gen. 21:8, 9). even so it is now. Ishmael’s descendants (Arabs) have always persecuted Isaac’s (Jews). So unbelievers have always persecuted believers (cf. Matt. 5:11; 10:22–25; Mark 10:30; John 15:19, 20; 16:2, 33; 17:14; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12; Heb. 11:32–37; 1 Pet. 2:20, 21; 3:14; 4:12–14).

4:30 Cast out the bondwoman. Quoted from Gen. 21:10 to illustrate that those who are attempting to be justified on the basis of keeping the law will be cast out of God’s presence forever (Matt. 8:12; 22:12, 13; 25:30; Luke 13:28; 2 Thess. 1:9).

4:31 we are not children of the bondwoman. See notes on 4:24, 26.

Comments related to this post.

Scriptures are from Biblegateway.com. Study notes are from MacArthur Study Bible notes, unless otherwise noted.

This post is one of others that you can find in the blog under the category of “Law.” There, you will be able to locate the Law posts, which will appear in the order of their being published. If you click onto the following link you will be able to follow the blog and receive future posts automatically. Such an option is important for people who receive posts directly from me because, from time to time, email addresses are dropped from my list of contacts. Please follow this blog.


If you want to make a comment, please place that comment on this blog in the appropriate space at the bottom of this page. If you do not want your comment to be shown, please let me know. I moderate all comments, and will not violate anybody’s trust.

%d bloggers like this: