This series of studies includes the Introduction and Part I through Part VIII.
Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VII - Part VIII

Part VII

It was very serious business for the Galatians to be removed from Paul’s gospel by those who insisted that all believers should keep the Law.

Paul said of the Galatians, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Galatians 5:7). The hinderers were the Extremist Christian Jews. How could the Galatians turn to “weak and beggarly elements” (i.e. the Law) which would bring them into bondage (Galatians 4:9)?

Paul uses an allegory to teach a truth concerning the Justified Ones and the Born Again Ones. When a speaker or writer uses an allegory an exact similitude is not employed, but rather, one thing is written or said, but something different is meant. The Companion Bible notes, “Allegory; or, Continued Comparison by Representation (Metaphor) and Implication. Teaching one thing by substituting another for it which is unlike it.”

Notice what Paul says:

“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:21-26).

The two covenants are: The Law given at Mount Sinai, illustrated by Hagar, the bondwoman, and the new Covenant, illustrated by Sarah, the freewoman. The old Covenant makes those living under it in bondage to it. It is after the flesh. The new Covenant did away with the old and its’ shackles of bondage.

The “Jerusalem which is above” refers allegorically to the Kingdom of God [ i ]as being the mother-city in which her children are free and not slaves of the Jewish Law. This is not a reference to “New Jerusalem” as found in the Book of Revelation. We thought it was, for many years, but have since concluded since this is an allegory, Paul is simply saying our [the Justified Ones] mother is free.

This is Paul’s way of saying the Justified Ones could be a continued comparison by representation and implication as Isaac, whose mother was a freewoman, in contrast to the Born Again Ones, whose mother was a bondwoman. The implications are very interesting. The Justified Ones are outnumbered by the Born Again Ones.

“For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband” (Galatians 4:27).

We have pointed out in this series that the Justified Ones had a higher, or more noble, calling than the Born Again Ones. This is in harmony with what the Lord Jesus taught.

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16). See also, Matthew 22:14.

The Justified Ones were the ekletos (the chosen or elect). The Born Again Ones were the kletos (the called). You can note the difference by comparing Strong’s number 1588 for “chosen,” and his number 2822 for “called.”

A good illustration of this is found after the Lord Jesus spent all night praying;

“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples [the many]: and of them he chose [the few] twelve, whom also he named apostles;” (Luke 6:13).

In Christian terms, they were all “saved.” But, out of the many who were saved, He chose certain ones to be His elect. The elect, or chosen ones, in any dispensation were marked out for special service in relation to the administration at the time. That’s why we’ve used the expression of “a higher calling.”

“Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now” (Galatians 4:28-29).

Those “born after the flesh” [the Born Again Ones] persecuted him [the Justified Ones] who was born after the Spirit. Even so it is now!

The Apostle concludes the allegory with the remedy:

“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:30-31).

This is very caustic language which Paul used as he, under inspiration, quoted Genesis 21:9-10.

As Bible Mountaineers, we should not be surprised, as we trek upward, that those who stay behind may very well be the many who are “called” and are not part of those who are “chosen.”




                [ i ] During the Acts of the Apostles, beginning at Acts 2 through Acts 28, believers experienced a foretaste of the Kingdom of God: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” (Hebrews 6:4-5).

Tom L. Ballinger


Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V - Part VI - Part VII - Part VIII