The Sonship of the Believers Opposed to the Bondage of the Law. Gal. 4, 1-31.

The believers sons and heirs through Christ: V.1. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all, v.2. but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. V.3. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world; v.4. but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, v.5. to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. V.6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. V.7. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. The apostle here gives a further explanation as to the purpose of the Law in the Old Testament, namely, that it was not intended to give life and salvation to men, but to serve as a pedagog unto Christ: What I mean to say is this, For the length of time that the heir is a minor, he differs in nothing from a servant, although he is lord of all the possessions. This principle, or rule, holds true universally, with only slight modifications. A child, a son, not having reached the legal age is a minor and is not permitted to have charge of the property, either the will of the father or the decree of the probate court providing a guardian or trustee for that purpose. At the time of Paul the minor was legally about in the same position as the slave. No act of his had the sanction of the law, unless it was performed through his legal representative. He was under guardians, or tutors, and stewards, or trustees, until the time appointed of the father, who might even make a provision to limit the heir’s right to his property beyond the age of legal majority. The men named by the father had charge of the property, counseled the boy, defended and directed him. “An infant was under a tutor until he reached the age of fourteen;... thereafter he is able to make a will and dispose of his own property. But the practical management of the property remains in the hands of a curator till the ward reaches the age of twenty-five. This is exactly the state of things which Paul speaks of.” 22) It is plain, of course, that a father is not acting foolishly, or for the purpose of punishing his son, in imposing such restrictions upon him, but for the minor’s benefit, lest he spend and squander his money foolishly. Thus the apostle takes an example from daily life, one with which his readers were familiar, in order to illustrate the relation of the Old Testament believers to the Law, in order to show what object God had in imposing such restrictions upon His children.

The apostle now makes the application: Even so we, when we were minors, were in bondage under the rudiments of this world. Paul here includes himself with the believing Jews, with those that placed their faith in the Messiah. These believers were indeed children of God and heirs of the promise, chap. 3, 15. By their faith in the promised salvation they were actually in possession of all heavenly gifts and blessings, of full salvation. But spiritually they were minors; they had not yet come to a mature understanding of God’s counsels and plans; they were restricted under tutors and curators. And among these were the elements, the rudiments, of this world. The word “element” really signifies a peg or stylus standing in a row, from which was derived the meaning “letter,” and finally “elementary teaching,” 2 Pet. 3, 10. 12; Heb. 5, 12. It is here most probably used in the meaning of “letter” or “statute,” for such the Law was to the Old Testament believers, a letter written on stones and on paper, governing their actions, but unable to renew their hearts. As Luther writes: “‘Elements’ is here taken according to the peculiar diction of Paul and according to the grammar for the letters of the Law themselves, of which the Law consists, as he also calls it 2 Cor. 3, 6 and elsewhere, Rom. 2, 27. 29, ‘the letter,’ the conclusion being that elements in the plural is the Scripture or the written Law.” 23) And as for the term “rudiments of the world,” Luther explains: “He thus calls the Law ‘elements of the world,’ that means, external letters, or statutes, that are written in a certain book. For although the Law in civil matters restrains from evil and insists upon doing good, yet, when it is fulfilled in this manner, it does not liberate from sins, it does not justify, it does not prepare the way to heaven, but leaves the people in this world. For I do not obtain righteousness and eternal life in this way, that I do not kill, that I do not commit adultery, that I do not become guilty of stealing, etc. These external virtues and honest conduct are not the righteousness of Christ or of heaven, but are a righteousness of the flesh and of the world.... Therefore he [Paul] rejects and condemns with this little word, ‘elements of the world,’ the entire righteousness of the Law which lay in these external ceremonies, although they were ordained and commanded by God to be kept for a time, and designates them with the most contemptible name ‘elements of the world.’” 24) Cp. Col. 2, 8. 20.

That was the condition of the believers in the Old Testament: they were God’s dear children, heirs of the promise, and were saved through faith in Christ. But they were not yet in full enjoyment of their sonship and of their inheritance. God had laid a yoke upon their necks, the Law of Moses with its many statutes and commandments, with its priests, sacrifices, purifications, etc. Thus they did not yet have free access to the Father, but these statutes stood between them and God. This condition the people were to endure for a time, being under guardians and trustees until the time appointed by God.

And of this time St. Paul writes in a strain of exultant joy: But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, placed under the Law, in order that He might ransom those under the Law, that the sonship we might receive. In the figure used by the apostle, time is regarded as a measure, or vessel, which was filled up to the top. When the time of this present world-age had reached the point which had been determined by God, then His great counsel of love was put into execution. God sent forth His Son, who had been with Him, in His bosom, from eternity. “If He was to send Him, He must have been there before. He must have been in existence before He came and became a man.” 25) God sent forth His Son, begotten out of His own substance, equal with the Father in power and honor, of the same essence, and yet a different person. The Son of God came into the world in a miraculous manner, made or born of a woman, of the Virgin Mary, as a true, natural human being, with flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. Thereby He was placed under the Law, by an act of voluntary humiliation on His part. Unlike the ordinary human being, He was not subject to the demands of the Law, for He Himself was the Lawgiver. But God subjected Him to the Law, and Christ willingly submitted to this humiliation. His circumcision on the eighth day was a sign of this submission, whereby He openly declared that He took upon Himself the obligation to fulfill the Law, to bear the curse and the punishment of the Law. For His object in doing so was to pay the ransom for our deliverance from the power of the Law, which would have continued forever but for His coming. Although Paul refers especially to the believers of the Old Testament as being under the bondage of the Law, his words have a wider application and bring reassuring comfort to the believers of all times. This is brought out by the declaration that we, all believers, whether of the Jews or of the Gentiles, should receive the sonship of God. By fulfilling the Law, Christ has delivered us from the coercion, from the curse of the Law. We are no longer in its power, we are no longer its slaves. The price of our ransom has been paid, the Law no longer has any jurisdiction over us. From the most degrading slavery we have entered into the most honorable relationship to God: we are the children of God, not indeed by nature, but by adoption, by God’s deliberate acceptance of our unworthy selves, for the sake of His only begotten Son. How utterly the claims of the Judaizing teachers were refuted by this powerful Gospel-preaching!

What effect this action on the part of God has in our case, Paul shows in a triumphant conclusion: Because, then, you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So, then, you are no longer a servant, but a son, but if a son, then also an heir through God. The sonship is not confined to the believers among the Jews, but is expressly designed for the Gentile Christians as well; now that Christ has come, God accepts all that believe in Christ as His dear sons and daughters. And this sonship involves a relation of the most intimate confidence and love between the heavenly Father and His adopted children. To each individual one God has sent and given the Spirit of His Son into his heart. The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is active in the work of regeneration and sanctification: the Father sends the Son’s Spirit, but this same Spirit is incidentally the believers’ guarantee of sonship, through Him they attain to the consciousness of sons of God. Because He has taken possession of their hearts, therefore the believers are able to speak to God as their dear Father in full confidence, to cry to Him in the full assurance and strength of their faith’s persuasion: Abba, Father! The Aramaic and the Greek terms are set side by side, the equivalent expressions being intended to emphasize more strongly the idea of Father. So God sends the Spirit that lives in His Son, in order to make us sure that we are His brothers and coheirs; for just as He addresses God as His dear Father, so we also should have the conviction of the unspeakable goodness and grace of God and trust in Him as dear children will in their dear father. And in order to bring this truth home to each and every one of his readers, Paul says, in the singular, that every one of them is no longer a servant, a slave, but a son. God does not send His Spirit to slaves that are still bound with the shackles of the Law; it is to His sons that He gives the Spirit of sonship. The apostle reminds every member of the Galatian congregation and therefore every Christian of all times of the fact that he, by virtue of the indwelling of the Spirit, is a free child of God. What a disgrace, then, for Christ, our Savior, if we should voluntarily place ourselves under the Law and with this idea attempt to fulfill the Law, instead of showing the loving mind of obedient children! This emphasis becomes all the greater if we remember that children are also heirs of all the possessions of the father. The believing Christians are heirs of God; righteousness and salvation, eternal life with all its bliss, is theirs. All these gifts are theirs by virtue of their baptism and faith, and they will enter into the full enjoyment of these blessings when they leave this vale of tears behind them. Note that Paul has taken the last vestige of a foothold from the Judaizing teachers, for not by good works, by faithful and strict observance of the Law of God, but by God’s free grace and mercy, “through God,” as He gave evidence of His love in Jesus, the believers are assured of the inheritance of heaven. 26)

The foolishness of backsliding from this truth: V.8. Howbeit, then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. V.9. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? V.10. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. V.11. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain. The apostle here interrupts his doctrinal exposition to rebuke the Galatians for their strange conduct in turning back to a slavery of legal observance from which he had rescued them long ago: But at that time indeed, when you did not know God, you were in bondage to such as really are no gods. The Galatian Christians, Gentiles for the most part, had in the time before their conversion, before they had come to the knowledge of the true God, been in servitude to what they thought were gods, but which, as they now knew, were mere figments of their imagination. The thought implied in the apostle’s rebuke is: In the days of your ignorance there was some excuse for bondage to imaginary gods, to such as had no real existence. Now, however, the case is different: But now, having known God, having come to the knowledge of the true God by the grace of God in bringing them to such knowledge, how was it possible for them to turn back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, with the deliberate intention of serving them again, from the beginning, all over again? By being brought to the knowledge of God, by being converted, the Galatians had turned from their futile bondage, from their attempt to keep the Law, as they understood it, Rom. 2, 14. 15. That was a work of God’s mercy alone; the knowledge of God which is by faith comes without a man’s merit and desire. Having been saved on the one hand, however, they were backsliding on the other; they were turning their attention and themselves to the rudiments of which Paul had spoken in v.3, to the demands and statutes of the Law. Under the influence of the Judaizing teachers they were going so far as to believe that they could-merit something in the sight of God by observing the weak and beggarly statutes of the ceremonial law. Weak they were, because the Law cannot work righteousness and cannot even assist in obtaining it; and beggarly, empty, poor they were, because, instead of bringing true spiritual riches, they continually render a person poorer in true worth. The Galatians were thus beginning their heathenish life, with its futile efforts of appeasing a righteous and holy God, all over again. For in listening to the admonitions of the false teachers, “they were not only given to the celebration, but, precisely like the Jews, were already scrupulous also as to the correct reckoning of time for their holydays. Days, with reference to the Sabbath; months, probably with reference to the new moons; seasons, within the year, with reference to the feasts; years, with reference to the Sabbatical year.”

This situation filled the apostle with consternation and sorrow, for he cries out: I fear concerning you, lest I have done all my hard work for you in vain. Disappointment, bitterness, loving appeal: they all are expressed in these words. As Luther says: “These words breathe the tears of Paul.” It is not only their sin, their ingratitude, to which he has reference, but also the great danger in which they had placed themselves. And all the hard, assiduous labor of the apostle was coming to naught.

A personal appeal for the truth against the false teachers: V.12. Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are; ye have not injured me at all. V.13. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you at the first. V.14. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected, but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. V.15. Where is, then, the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes and have given them to me. V.16. Am I, therefore, become your enemy because I tell you the truth? V.17. They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you that ye might affect them. V.18. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. Having struck a personal note, the apostle here continues in the same strain, with all the eager kindness of his loving heart: Deal with me as I dealt with you, brethren, I beg of you. He holds up his conduct as an example to them, and refers to particular occasions when the relation between them was one of unstudied cordiality. They should put themselves in his place for a moment, and try to feel as he did when he became all things to all men in order to gain them for the Gospel. Incidentally he implies that they should try to understand his position as their teacher, knowing from past experience that his instruction had always been for their benefit. He wants them to do this without the least hesitation; for, as he assures them: In nothing have you injured me. They had, on the contrary, received the Gospel message with all eagerness. The situation had been so: You know that on account of infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel to you at first. It seems that some sort of illness or weakness prevented Paul from continuing his journey as he may have intended, when he came to the regions of Galatia; so he remained there for a time and was prevailed upon to perform the work of his ministerial calling in these cities.

At that time the attachment of the Galatians to the apostle had been intimate and sincere: And your test in my flesh you did not despise nor spurn, but as an angel of God you accepted me, as Christ Jesus. On account of Paul’s bodily infirmity, on account of the fact that he was severely handicapped in his evangelical activity, the Galatians were put to the test as to whether they would think unfavorably of their teacher. But there had not been the slightest indication of rejecting him, of spurning his person and his message, there had been no show of contempt or disgust on account of his diseased state. Overlooking or tactfully ignoring his infirmity, they had rather accepted him with every mark of esteem, as an angel of God, as Christ Himself. Could it be possible that their behavior at that time had been a mere passing fancy? Paul asks: Where is the happiness which you exhibited at that time? What has become of that feeling now? For I bear witness concerning you that, if it had been possible, you would have torn out your very eyes and given them to me. So great had been their loving affection for their teacher that they would have been willing to sacrifice the most indispensable organs of their body, if by so doing they could have brought him relief. Note: This is a splendid example of the love which a Christian congregation should show towards its pastor in case he becomes afflicted with bodily infirmity or illness when engaged in serving them.

The apostle now brings out the contrast as indicated by their apparent estrangement: Pour enemy have I thus become by my telling you the truth? In some way and at some time, probably at his last visit or through reports which had reached him, Paul had found out about the estrangement, the coldness, which was gradually taking the place of their fervent affection towards him. Upon the occasion of his last visit and probably before, he had told them the truth with all frankness; he had rebuked their errors and shortcomings; he had warned them against Jewish leaven. And these warnings had now been so manipulated by the Judaizing teachers as to argue enmity on his part and to turn the Galatians from him. But Paul analyzes the situation frankly: They take an active interest in you in no honest way, but they desire to estrange you, that you should show affectionate zeal for them. The false teachers were affecting a loving interest in the Galatians with only one object in mind, to alienate their affections from Paul and his sound Gospel-teaching and to win them for their own side. Here all personal courting, all sycophancy between preachers and hearers is condemned, and rightly so, since the desire to serve the Lord with sound Gospel-preaching, on the one hand, and the simple acceptance of the truth, on the other, should characterize the relation between pastor and parishioner. In that sense Paul writes: It is a good thing that zeal be shown in a good thing at all times, and not only when I am present with you. To be filled with zeal and eagerness for the cause of Christ and the Gospel, for the growth of the kingdom of God, is a fine and laudable thing. Under such circumstances the zeal will not relax in the absence of any particular persons, no matter how important their contributions may have been in the first place. Paul does not want his person exalted, but desires only that the honor of Christ and of the Gospel be secure.

An urgent appeal to an Old Testament example: V.19. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. V.20. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. V.21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the Law? V.22. For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. V.23. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. The love of the apostle for his deluded Galatians here flashes forth in a passage in which he, for once, uses the endearing designation of a mother for the children which she has born. He once more feels the pangs for the spiritual birth of Christ within them, until Christ be formed in them, until the new spiritual life be shaped anew in the image of Christ. In this eager love the apostle states: I would fain be with you now and change my form of communication, for I am perplexed about you. Instead of expressing himself to them by means of writing, which is necessarily formal, unpliable, unsatisfactory, not so well suited to make an impression upon the heart and mind, he would much prefer to be with them personally, to speak to them face to face. For he does not know what to make of them; he cannot understand their coldness, their defection from the truth, and therefore he feels that a personal interview with them may enable him to find the right arguments to make them change their minds and to accept the truth once more.

The apostle, therefore, uses another line of argument. in the hope of convincing the Galatians in this way, with the intention of showing them that not the religion of the Law, but that of the Gospel alone teaches the way of salvation. in doing so, he meets the Judaizing teachers on their own ground: Tell me, you that want to be under the Law, do you not pay any attention to the Law? He addresses himself to men that make their boast of upholding the authority of the Mosaic Law in all it s particulars, that acknowledge the Law as the supreme master, that expect salvation through its fulfillment. He accuses them outright of being indifferent to the lessons which are found in the book of the Law, in the books of Moses; for these were designated by the one word “Law.” Cp. Luke 24, 44; Acts 13, 15; Rom. 3, 21. If their zeal for the Law is of the right kind, Paul means to say, then they would soon find in it that which ought to convince them how unsound and dangerous it is to follow the false teachers.

Paul does not quote verbally, but refers to facts as recorded in the Book of Genesis: For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one from the slave and one from the freewoman. Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the bondwoman, and Isaac was the son of Sarah, the mistress, the freewoman, Gen. 16, 15; 21, 2. Both bops were Abraham’s sons; however, they had not only entirely different mothers, but mothers also of entirely different conditions. Paul purposely chose the example of Abraham, since it was this patriarch of whom the Jews loved to boast. The chief point of difference in the two sons of Abraham was that the one, Ishmael, was born according to the flesh, according to the usual course of nature, Abraham having taken Hagar as his concubine, and the other, Isaac, through the promise, by virtue of the divine promise, according to which God restored to Sarah the ability to bear this son, Gen. 17, 16. 19; 18, 18; Heb. 11, 11.

The explanation of the story: V.24. which things are an allegory; for these are the two covenants; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. V.25. For this Agar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. V.26. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. V.27. 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. Paul here, by the inspiration of God, gives a figurative or allegorical explanation of the story of Hagar and Sarah. In addition to the historical truth of the story of Ishmael and Isaac he finds here a spiritual truth which typifies the permanent relation between those that are under the Law and those that are under the promise. For these two women, he says, are two covenants; they represent the two religions, that of the Law and that of the Gospel. This distinction holds true for all times. For although there are many races and nations in the world, they can still be divided into but two parties, namely, such as attempt to be justified before God by their own works and merits, and such as place their trust in the merits and righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. The first class is represented by the bondwoman Hagar, the covenant which originates from, that is, on, Mount Sinai, and bears children unto bondage; for every one that still hopes to earn salvation by the works of the Law is a spiritual offspring of Hagar, the slave, and is by virtue of that fact in bondage.

The apostle continues his explanation: For Mount Sinai is in Arabia, The mountain on which the Law was given is in the same country which became the home of Hagar’s descendants, those that were children of bondage. And there is a further likeness in the fact that Hagar, as a bondswoman and the mother of a race in bondage, corresponded to, was in the same category with, the city of Jerusalem as it was when Paul wrote. Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish race, if not of the Jewish nation; there dwelt the leaders of the people that continued to teach the necessity of keeping the Law in order to obtain salvation. As Hagar was thus in the state of bondage, so Jerusalem, the Jewish race, all that believed in the way of works and merits, are in the state of slavery, of spiritual bondage, knowing nothing of the liberty of the sons of God.

What a wonderful contrast, then: But the Jerusalem which is above is free, she is our mother. The apostle here speaks of the spiritual Jerusalem, or Zion, of the Church of Jesus Christ, that is, the total number of all believers that are scattered throughout the earth, who have the same Gospel, the same faith in Christ, the same Holy Spirit, and the same Sacraments, as Luther writes. This Church is the true mother of all believers; in her they have been regenerated unto new life, by her they are daily nourished; for God has given to His Church on earth the means of grace, to be used by all believers and dispensed to them day by day. In support of this apparently daring explanation the apostle cites Is. 54, 1: Rejoice, thou barren one that bearest not; break forth and shout, thou that travailest not; for far more are the children of the desolate woman than of her that has a husband. This is a prophetic promise given to the Church of the New Covenant, to be fulfilled in the time of the Messiah. The contrast brought out by the prophet is that between the church of the Law, which was fertile and had many children, that is, that had the opinion that she alone was the real bride of the Lord, that her children alone were God’s peculiar people, and the Church of the Gospel, of the evangelical promise, which, as the true bride of Christ, has brought forth a great number of descendants of every people, nation, and tongue; that is, the communion of believers and saints. It is a prophecy which will remain in power until the end of time; for so long the Gospel will be preached, by the power of which people are born in a spiritual manner.

The application of the lesson: V.28. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. V.29. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. V.30. 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. V.31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. What the prophet had foretold found its realization in the Church of the New Testament. We Christians, we believers, who by virtue of the Gospel-promise are spiritual descendants of Abraham, are, after the manner of Isaac, children of the promise. Cp. 1 Pet. 1, 15. As Isaac was born to Abraham by virtue of the promise of God, so we, through faith in the promise of the Gospel, have been born anew, by the Spirit of God, as His true children, Rom. 9, 8.

History, however, repeats itself: Just as then he that was born after the flesh made it a practice to persecute the one after the Spirit, thus it is also now. In addition to the fact that Ishmael, Gen. 21, 9, is called a scoffer, we here have the information that his attitude toward Isaac was that of continual nagging, boasting, and despising, a persecution all the more diabolical since it left little tangible cause for which one could call the lad to account. Isaac had been born according to the Spirit; the Spirit of God through His creative power had restored the atrophied organs of Sarah, Isaac’s birth thus being a miracle. Undoubtedly this fact had much to do with the attitude of Ishmael. But the very same disposition, the apostle says, we find in the world to-day; those that are in bondage under the Law and are firmly convinced that they can earn the inheritance of heaven by their works are full of hatred and enmity against those that rely upon the gracious promise of God; the self-righteous and hypocrites despise and persecute the true Christians.

But the confidence and supercilious attitude of the self-righteous will not be of long duration. For what does the Scripture say? Cast out the slave and her son; for the son of the slave shall not be heir together with the son of the freewoman. Gen. 21, 10. That was Sarah’s decision with reference to Hagar and Ishmael, the bondwoman and her offspring. And such is God’s sentence upon all those that are the spiritual descendants of Ishmael, that attempt to get to heaven by the works of the Law. In spite of the persecution to which the believers in the Gospel-promises are subjected, they have on their side the divine assurance that the plans of their enemies will be unsuccessful in the end, that they have no part in the blessings of the Kingdom of Grace and the Kingdom of Glory, for they cannot be heirs together with the children of the Spirit.

So Paul concludes triumphantly: Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. We Christians that believe in Christ and hope by such faith to be justified before God and obtain eternal life, are not among those who, like Hagar and Ishmael, were expelled from the home of Sarah and Abraham, but by the grace of God belong to those that are typified by Isaac, the son of promise; we are true children of God and heirs of eternal life. Thus the fact which Paul intended to set forth in this allegory stands out beyond contradiction over against the Judaizing teachers: The religion of the Law brings into bondage and thus to final condemnation; only the Gospel liberates and brings salvation, and therefore the religion of the Gospel is the only true religion.

Summary. Paul reminds the Galatians that they are children of God, and that they should therefore not return to the bondage of the Law; he rebukes them for falling may from their former loving relation toward him, which, he says, is due to the sordid methods of the false teachers; he shows in an allegory that only the children of the promise will obtain salvation.