Paul's Illustration Contrasting the
Law's Slavery and the Believer's Freedom
Galatians 4:21-31

You want to be under the Law? Well, look at how Abraham's kids turned out - one slave and one free! (Gal 4:21-22)

The story of Ishmael and Isaac is actual Old Testament history - one born by the flesh and one through promise (Gal 4:23)

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul makes an analogy using actual OT history (Gal 4:24)

Mount Sinai, the earthly Jerusalem, and the Mosaic Law illustrate the bondage of slavery to the Law (Gal 4:25)

The heavenly Jerusalem and the child of promise illustrate the freedom we have as sons of God through faith in Christ (Gal 4:26-28)

Legalists tend to be persecutors and opponents of spiritual freedom (Gal 4:29)

The children of promise are the ones who receive the inheritance - all the riches God gives by grace (Gal 4:30-31)

Illustrating The Contrast Between...
Hagar Sarah
Ishmael Isaac
Earthly Jerusalem Heavenly Jerusalem
The Law Faith
Works of human effort The work of Christ alone
The Flesh The Promise
Outcasts Heirs

Putting yourself under the law - trying in vain to obey a set of impossible rules - is like putting yourself under slavery or into prison. But God promises freedom when we see the hopelessness of our own efforts and put our faith in Christ alone for our justification before God.