Monday, April 14, 2008

Galatians: the child of freedom

Hagar, the servant girl of Sarah, was young and healthy. When she bore a son to Abraham, it was in the ordinary way out of human effort and plans. Sarah knew child-bearing was not a problem for the young woman.

It was impossible for Sarah to bear Isaac, but she did because God had promised she would. Sarah represented the freedom of grace while Hagar represented the slavery of human effort.

Using a familiar story, that of Hagar and Sarah, Paul tried to convince the new Galatian Christians that they had choices. Yes, they were children of Abraham, but Abraham had two sons: one born of human exertion and one born of God’s promise.

The Galatians were children of Abraham, all right, but grafted in because of God’s pledge, not their own efforts. Paul was upset that the Galatians as new believers would allow themselves to trust human endeavor rather than God’s assurance. He didn’t want them to give up the freedom of God’s grace and the blessings of his inheritance. The law was about human effort and Paul wanted the new believers to know freedom.

We sometimes stumble as the Galatians had, thinking that a set of rules might be simpler than a walk in the open air. Paul longed for freedom for the Galatians, not a return to slavery.

Read Galatians 4:21-31. Write in your journal about any impressions you have.

What benefits are there to following the way of Sarah (God’s promise)?

Is your faith based on God’s promises or on your own efforts?

What steps can you take today to walk in the way of Sarah?

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