Galatians 4:28
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
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(28) We.—The better reading appears to be Ye. Children of promise.—Children born in accomplishment of the promise. (See Romans 9:8, and Note.)

Galatians 4:28-30. Now — That I may apply what has just been advanced to ourselves; we, brethren — Who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles; as Isaac was — Κατα Ισαακ, after the manner of Isaac; are children of promise — Are children of God, being children of Abraham and Sarah, by the promise which made him the father, and her the mother, of nations. In other words, we are children, not born in a natural way, but by the supernatural power of God; and as such, we are heirs of the promise made to believing Abraham. And, “if believers, after the manner of Isaac, are children begotten to Abraham by the divine power accompanying the promise, can it be doubted that they were typified by Isaac, and that his procreation was deferred till the bodies of his parents were dead as to these things, that being supernaturally begotten, he might be a fit type of those who by divine power become the seed of Abraham, through faith.” But — Indeed the parallel holds further still; for as then, he that was born after the flesh — That is, Ishmael, in whose production there was nothing beyond the common course of nature, and who was related to Abraham by natural descent only; persecuted him who was born after the Spirit — That is, Isaac, who was produced by the special energy of God’s miraculous power; even so it is now — The carnal Jews, who are the seed of Abraham after the flesh, abuse and persecute us who believe in Christ, and are therefore Abraham’s seed after the Spirit. Ishmael’s persecution of Isaac consisted in his mocking at the feast of his weaning, Genesis 21:9. “No doubt he pretended that by right of primogeniture he was his father’s heir, and therefore he ridiculed the feast made in honour of Isaac as the heir, together with Sarah’s laying claim to the whole of the inheritance for her son. This action was typical of the contempt with which the Jews, Abraham’s natural posterity, would treat his spiritual seed, and their hopes of salvation through faith; typical also of the claim which the natural seed would set up, of being the only heirs of God, because they were first his people.” But what saith the Scripture — Showing the consequence of this? Cast out the bond-woman and her son — Who mocked Isaac. Which sentence, however grievous it might be to Abraham, when pronounced by Sarah, God confirmed, and they were cast out of Abraham’s family. And so, as the apostle’s discourse implies, shall all who reject Christ, and seek justification and salvation by the law of Moses, notwithstanding their boasted descent from Abraham, be cast out of the church and family of God, and rejected from being his people; especially if they persecute them who are his children by faith; and they shall not be permitted to be heirs of his promise with them. So that, as in his birth and condition, his character and actions; so likewise in his being cast out of his father’s house, Ishmael was a fit type of the unbelieving and disobedient Jews. So then — To sum up all; we — Who believe; are not the children of the bond-woman — Are not under subjection to the servile dispensation of the law, nor have any thing to do with it; but we are children of the free-woman — And have the privilege of being called into a state of liberty under the spiritual covenant of the gospel, being free from the curse and bond of the law, and from the power of sin and Satan.

4:28-31 The history thus explained is applied. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond-woman, but of the free. If the privileges of all believers were so great, according to the new covenant, how absurd for the Gentile converts to be under that law, which could not deliver the unbelieving Jews from bondage or condemnation! We should not have found out this allegory in the history of Sarah and Hagar, if it had not been shown to us, yet we cannot doubt it was intended by the Holy Spirit. It is an explanation of the subject, not an argument in proof of it. The two covenants of works and grace, and legal and evangelical professors, are shadowed forth. Works and fruits brought forth in a man's own strength, are legal. But if arising from faith in Christ, they are evangelical. The first covenant spirit is of bondage unto sin and death. The second covenant spirit is of liberty and freedom; not liberty to sin, but in and unto duty. The first is a spirit of persecution; the second is a spirit of love. Let those professors look to it, who have a violent, harsh, imposing spirit, towards the people of God. Yet as Abraham turned aside to Hagar, so it is possible a believer may turn aside in some things to the covenant of works, when through unbelief and neglect of the promise he acts according to the law, in his own strength; or in a way of violence, not of love, towards the brethren. Yet it is not his way, not his spirit to do so; hence he is never at rest, till he returns to his dependence on Christ again. Let us rest our souls on the Scriptures, and by a gospel hope and cheerful obedience, show that our conversation and treasure are indeed in heaven.Now we, brethren - We who are Christians.

Are the children of the promise - We so far resemble Isaac, that there are great and precious promises made to us. We are not in the condition of Ishmael, to whom no promise was made.

28. we—The oldest manuscripts and versions are divided between "we" and "ye." "We" better accords with Ga 4:26, "mother of us."

children of promise—not children after the flesh, but through the promise (Ga 4:23, 29, 31). "We are" so, and ought to wish to continue so.

Isaac was the promised seed, Genesis 21:12 Romans 9:7: the apostle tells the Galatians that the believing Gentiles were (as Isaac) the children of the promise. Isaac being born, not by virtue of any procreative virtue in his parents, which was now dead in them, Romans 4:19, but by virtue of the promise, and by a power above nature, was a type of the believing Gentiles, who are a spiritual seed, and that seed to whom the promise was made, being the members of Christ by faith: so as the Jews had no reason so much to glory as they did, that Abraham was their father, for those amongst them that believed not were but his carnal seed, believers only were the spiritual seed,

the children of the promise; to which the believing Gentiles had the same claim with the believing Jews, and a much better than those of them that believed not in Christ.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was,.... The Ethiopic version reads, "you, brethren"; and so one of Stephens's copies. As the two women, Hagar and Sarah, might be, and are allegorized; so likewise their respective offspring. Isaac signified, and was a type and figure of Abraham's spiritual seed, whether Jews or Gentiles, under the Gospel dispensation: and as he was, so they are,

the children of promise; as Isaac was promised unto Abraham, so were this spiritual seed, when it was said unto him, that he should be the father of many nations, as he is the father of us all, even of all them that believe, be they of what nation soever; and as Isaac was born by virtue, and in consequence of a promise made to Abraham of God's free good will and pleasure, and his generation and conception were beyond the strength and course of nature, were the effects of a divine power, and were something supernatural; so this spiritual seed are born again, by virtue, and in consequence of a promise, not only made to Abraham, but to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the covenant, that he should see his seed, enjoy a numerous offspring, and which should endure for ever; and also to the church, of whom it is said, that this and that man should be born in her; and particularly in consequence of the promise cited in the foregoing verse, from whence these words are an inference, deduction, or illustration: and these children of the promise, so called from hence, are born again, above and beyond the strength of nature; not through the power and free will of man, but through the abundant mercy and sovereign will of God, by his powerful and efficacious grace, and by the word of promise, the Gospel, as a means. Moreover, to these children, or spiritual seed of Abraham, signified by Isaac, do all the promises belong, as that of God, as a covenant God gave unto them; of Christ, as a Saviour and Redeemer; of the Holy Spirit, as a sanctifier and comforter; and of all good things, of temporal mercies, so far as are for their real good; and of all spiritual blessings, as righteousness, peace, pardon, comfort, all supplies of grace, and eternal life: and these likewise receive these promises; the Holy Spirit, as a spirit of promise, opens and applies them to them, puts them into the hand of faith, and enables them to plead them with God, and to believe the performance of them; so that this character in all respects agrees with them.

Now we, brethren, {g} as Isaac was, are the children of {h} promise.

(g) After the manner of Isaac, who is the first begotten of the heavenly Jerusalem, as Israel is of the slavish synagogue.

(h) That seed to which the promise belongs.

Galatians 4:28. It is not till Galatians 4:29 that a new thought is entered on; hence Galatians 4:28 is to be regarded as a remark explaining the fulfilment of the prophetic utterance, which has its actual realization in the case of Christians, and is to be annexed to Galatians 4:27 (by a semicolon). So correctly, in opposition to the usual separation from Galatians 4:27, Hofmann, Ewald, Wieseler.

But the Christians (ὑμεῖς individualizing; see the critical notes) are the many children of that spiritual Sarah, the heavenly Jerusalem!

κατὰ Ἰσαάκ] After the manner of Isaac; comp. 1 Peter 1:15; and see Wetstein and Kypke, also Heindorf, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 225 f.

ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα] ἐπαγγ. is emphatically prefixed: children of Abraham, who are not so by carnal descent like Ishmael, but by promise. So, namely, as Isaac was born to Abraham in virtue of the promise (Galatians 4:23), are Christians by means of divine promise also children of Abraham, in virtue of the fact that they were promised by God to Abraham as τέκνα; without which promise, having reference to them, they would not stand in the relation of sonship to Abraham. Comp. Romans 9:8. We must not on account of Galatians 4:23 explain the expression here, any more than in Romans 9:8 (see in loc.), as liberi promissi (Winer and others).

28. The previous verse is introduced parenthetically. The connexion is, ‘Jerusalem from above is our mother … and we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children, not according to the flesh, but of promise’. The same conclusion as that arrived at ch. Galatians 3:29.

Galatians 4:28. Κατὰ Ἰσαὰκ, [as] after the similitude of Isaac).—ἐπαγγελίας, of the promise) Galatians 4:23.—ἐσμὲν) we are, and ought to wish to be so, Galatians 4:31.

Verse 28. - Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (ἡμεῖς δέ, ἀδελφοί κατὰ Ἰσαακ ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα ἐσμέν [or, ὑμεῖς δέ... ἐστέ]); now we (or, now ye), brethren, after the mariner of Isaac, are children of promise. In the Greek text it is uncertain whether we should read ἡμεῖς... ἐσμέν or ὑμεῖς.., ἐστέ, "we are" or "ye are." The only difference is that "ye are" would more directly thrust upon the attention of the Galatians the conclusion, which "we are" would express in a more general form. "After the manner of Isaac;" κατὰ as in Ephesians 4:24, τὸν κατὰ Θεὸν κτισθέντα: 1 Peter 1:15, Κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα: Lamentations 1:12, Septuagint, Ἄλγος κατὰ τὸ ἄλγος μοῦ. The apostle is viewing Isaac as in the manner of his being brought into being, the type, to which the children of the mystic freewoman were in after ages to be assimilated. In both cases the children are born or begotten through a promise which God of his own free grace hath given, and which, by an accepting faith, is appropriated and made effectual. Thus Isaac was born (see ver. 23 and Romans 9:8, 9). The children of the supernal Jerusalem are begotten through the gospel, which in effect is a promise of adoption through Christ to be children of God held out to all who will accept it. Obviously the cases differ in this - that in one it was the faith of the parents which made the promise effectual; in the other, the faith of those who in consequence of believing become children. But none the less is it true that the result is due to an announcement proceeding out of God's own free grace - "Not of works but of him that calleth" (Romans 9:7-13; comp. John 1:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 4:15; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23). The "promise" is not the parent of the children; this, in the imagery now present to the apostle's mind, is in the antitypal case the mystic Freewoman. The genitive "of promise" is a genitive of qualification, pointing here to the means through which the children are begotten. Compare a somewhat similarly loose use of the genitive in Romans 9:8, "Not the children of the flesh.., but the children of the promise." The case of baptized infants is not in the apostle's view. Galatians 4:28As Isaac was (κατὰ Ἱσαὰκ)

Lit. after the manner of Isaac. See Romans 9:7-9, and, for this use of κατὰ, 1 Peter 1:15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10.

Children of promise (ἐπαγγελίας τέκνα)

Not promised children, nor children that have God's promise, but children who are not such by mere fleshly descent, as was Ishmael, but by promise, as was Isaac: children of the Jerusalem above, belonging to it in virtue of God's promise, even as Isaac was the child of Sarah in virtue of God's promise.

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