Let’s pick up our study in Galatians 4:19-20 where it says, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.” Paul is once again expressing doubt as to their salvation.
He goes on to say in v.21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Now Paul begins to make a comparison of Law and Grace yet again. Why so much comparison? Because they didn’t get it! Even today, many still don’t get it. They tell you that they are not trusting in their good works to take them to Heaven, but then you turn around and their doing something that they think will better their chances of getting there!
In v.22, “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.” Now Paul is going to compare Law and Grace with Hagar and Sara. He is going to compare Hagar to the Law (the bondmaid) and Sara to Grace (the freewoman).
He goes on and says in v.23, “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.” This is a comparison between Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was born to Hagar and was a child of the flesh. Why? – Because Abraham’s faith had lapsed. God had told him and Sara that He would indeed give them a child in their old age. However, after waiting for awhile, they decided to take matters into their own hands and Abraham went in to Hagar (Sara’s handmaid) to have this promised son. That was the wrong answer because later Sara did conceive as promised, and had Isaac, the promised son. Thus, Ishmael is compared to the flesh and Isaac to the promise.
Many do not realize today the gravity of this mistake that Abraham and Sara made. The descendants of Ishmael are the Arabic people (Muslims) and the descendants of Isaac are the Jews. They despise each other. As a matter of fact, the entire Middle East is in constant turmoil because of these two brothers! Have you watched the nightly news lately?