Let’s set the stage for this passage of Scripture … Galatians 4:21 – 5:1
Quick overview … God promised Abraham offspring in his old age … when he and Sarah became impatient with God’s timing; Sarah gave Abraham her slave Hagar that the offspring might come through her. And the child Ishmael was born. Unfortunately, that was the work of the flesh and not the work of God through His promise to Abraham. Later in fulfillment of His promise, Abraham’s wife Sarah gave birth to their son Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah 90 years old at the time of Isaac’s birth. Read all about it in Genesis 12 through 22.
In the Galatians passage below, here is the cast of characters and their allegorical correlations to the two covenants (according to Paul):
- Mount Sinai or Mosaic covenant which embraces the law
- Represented by the work of the flesh between Abraham and the slave woman Hagar resulting in the birth of Ishmael …
- Born according to the flesh
- Children under law are enslaved
- Persecute those born according to the Holy Spirit
- Represents a yoke of slavery
- Unto earthly temporal Jerusalem
- Abrahamic covenant or promise that embraces faith
- Represented by the work of the promise between Abraham and his wife the free woman Sarah resulting in the birth of Isaac …
- Born according to the Holy Spirit and the promise
- Children of the promise are set free from the law
- Persecuted by those born according to the flesh
- Represent freedom IN Christ Jesus
- Unto eternal Jerusalem above
Writing out the above and reading this passage of Scripture a number of times reveals not only significant truths regarding our faith but also significant truths regarding history and current events as well … read, meditate and consider:
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Powerful and insightful Lord … powerful and insightful!