Summary: Paul contrasts two sons, two mothers, two covenants and two Jerusalem’s between Legalism and faith.

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As Israeli tanks are advancing on Gaza and Hamas militants continue to fire rockets at Israel, both sides continue to ignore international calls to stop the conflict. Israel has even warned it would escalate its assault.

Since the present Israeli military advance on Gaza, the Palestinian death toll is at least 821, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza. Thirteen Israelis have been killed: 10 soldiers and three civilians hit in rocket fire.

Hamas wants any ceasefire deal to include the ending of Israel’s crippling economic blockade of the Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the territory, from which Israel withdrew in 2005 after a 38-year occupation. Israel’s key demands are for a complete halt to Hamas rocket fire and for international guarantees to stop the group rearming via smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt. (

This conflict is the longest between two groups of People. It origin points to fundamental spiritual truths.

In Galatians 4:21–5:1 Paul points to the origin to this conflict to contrast grace and law, faith and works. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he employs an Old Testament story as an analogy, which serves not so much as an argument as an illustration.

Paul contrasts two sons, two mothers, two covenants and two Jerusalem’s. I will stick with his illustrations of this situation so we can not only better understand the present conflict in the Middle East, how it can be solved, but understand how people have standing before God, period.

As Paul develops the analogy, he first gives its 1) Historical background, then its 2) Divine interpretation, and finally its 3) Personal application.


Galatians 4:21-23 [21]Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? [22]For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. [23]But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. (ESV)

Law in this verse is used in two different senses. The first refers to law as a means of attaining holiness, and the second to the OT books of the law (Genesis through Deuteronomy), particularly Genesis. Paul is saying, “Tell me, you who desire to obtain favor with God by law-keeping, do you not listen to the message of the book of the law?” (MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997, c1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Ga 4:21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.)

• As an introduction to the analogy, Paul suggests that the Judaizers, and the Jewish Christians who had been misled by them, look carefully at the very law they so highly touted.

• The point Paul makes by drawing an analogy from Moses’ writing is that the law cannot be a means of salvation but is instead the way of spiritual and moral bondage.

“Since you insist on living under law,” he was saying, “are you willing to listen to what the law really says?”

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