by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2 October 28, 2012 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(217)Thesis:The message of "Law" is set in the specific context of "freedom" and "bondage".
Introduction:In our study last week, we looked into the question Paul raised in the final paragraph of the second unit of Galatians. The question has to do with whether or not the Galatians really understand the message of "Law" in particular respect to their "desire" to be subject to it. We saw that "desire" is a rather complicated concept in that we live in a constant state of multiple desires, many of which are in direct conflict with each other. And we saw that there are only two basic reasons for wishing to be "under law". One of those reasons is the "desire" to please God. The other is the "desire" to exalt oneself over others. Thus the reality is that the "desire" to be "under law" is a "servant desire" to the larger "desire" to be able to do something other than submit to Law.
This evening we are going to press on into Paul's final paragraph on this subject. We are going to do so with the understanding that his question, "...do ye not hear the Law?", is the basic framework for the paragraph and that its point is that "law" has a "message" that needs to be heard.
I. The Focus of the Message of the Law.
A. The most basic issue of "focus" is upon the fundamental nature of the two women involved in Paul's "allegory".
1. The decision to pull an "allegory" into play is crucial.
a. First, the word "allegory" is not a translation, but a transliteration.
b. Second, the meaning of "allegory" is found in the text to be this: the use of actual historical realities to make our grasp of truth more likely.
1) This is a major issue in that it rests upon a most fundamental reality: "truth" works in history; "lies" only appear to work until their deceptions can no longer be concealed.
2) "Theology" that does not produce its corresponding fruit in historical reality is false theology.
3) According to Paul's own words in this context, "false theology" has a disastrous down-line consequence that usually does not appear until it is too late.
2. The "allegory" has its focus specifically upon the identities of the women involved; one is a "bondmaid", and the other is a "freewoman".
B. The message of "law", then, has this backdrop: it will either "work" in the context of "bondage", or it will "work" in the context of "freedom".
II. The Message of "Law" Concerns Its Impact in Terms of "Bondage/Freedom".
A. What does it mean to be "bound"?
1. The description of Hagar as the "bondmaid" who produced a "son" depends upon Paul's choice to identify her as a "paidiskay"; not the typical term for someone in "bondage".
a. In the New Testament, a "paidiskay" is a highly valued subordinate in the household.
1) Acts 3:13 uses this word to describe Jesus in specific respect to the fathers' God Who "glorified" Him against the backdrop of the nation's rejection before Pilate.
2) Acts 3:26 continues to refer to Jesus in the manner in respect to God's resurrection of Him so that He could "bless" people by getting them to turn from their iniquities.
3) Acts 4:27 and 30 continue the use of this word in reference to Jesus.
4) All of the feminine forms of this noun in the New Testament refer to women in a household who have certain duties under the lordship of the master of the house.
b. This indicates that Paul is not attempting to emphasize "slavery", but is attempting to make us understand that Hagar was a valued servant in the household.
2. Thus, in our search for understanding regarding being "bound", we need to set our "antipathy" toward "slavery" aside so we can see just what the issues really are.
3. In our look into the biblical concept of "bondage" we will find one bottom line with certain other side-bar issues.
a. The bottom line of any consideration of being "bound" is this: anyone who is "bound" is subject to the decisions of someone else without recourse.
b. The side-bar issues are four.
1) At the top of the secondary issues is the issue of "desire".
a) This is what makes "bondage" a positive or negative matter.
b) If a person "desires" to do what is required, "bondage" is not seen in a bad light, but if the requirement is "hateful" to the one "bound", "bondage" becomes a dreaded thing.
2) Next is the issue of "ability".
a) If a person has the ability to do what is required, the "service" is possible even if it is hateful to the one of whom it is required.
b. If a person does not have the ability to do what is required, the "service" becomes an onerous burden.
3) Then is the issue of "consequences"
a) There are good consequences for the performance of the required service.
b) There are bad consequences for failure.
4) Then is the final issue: the character of the overlord.
a) If his character is "righteous", the consequences will follow according to the performance.
b) If his character is "a-righteous" or "unrighteous", the consequences may not follow (Hagar never expected to be cast out of the household because she was the mother of Abraham's son).
B. The application of "bound" and "free" in respect to Hagar and Sarah.
1. Both were "women" in the household of a "man": neither were "free" in many respects.
2. The focus area of "bondage/freedom" has to do with the "sons".
a. This is the contextual issue and boundary of the terms.
b. In Hagar's case, she was "bound" by the root issue of being subject to the agenda of another and by the side-bar issue of "desire" (there is no revelation of which I am aware that identifies Hagar's "attitude" in the situation, but because she is subject to Abraham's sexual activity without regard for her own choice(s) and she is subject to both Abraham's and Sarah's intense intent that she bear a son, her "desire" made no difference).
c. In Sarah's case, she is "free" in that she is a direct part of the "overlord" authority and shared Abraham's desire for a son.
1) Sarah was also "free" in that she had no "requirement" upon her to produce a son (she was not the one who had to produce that son).
2) She was also "free" in that she had no ability to fulfill any requirement and that made no difference to the overlord reality.
3) She was also "free" because if she did not fulfill the desire of the overlord, he would do nothing of consequence to her.