Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
God's Promises and Man's Desires
“Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband” (24)
Paul uses the story of Hagar and Sarah found in Genesis as the background for this passage in Galatians Chapter 4:21-31.Paul defends the Gospel of Free Grace by using the concept of Sonship - Sons of Abraham; Ishmael and Isaac. Paul contrasts between two sons in terms of their social status (v.23) and the manner of their birth (v.23).Hagar was Abraham's slave and Sarah was Abraham's wife, a free woman. The social status of the mothers determined the social status of their sons. Ishmael was the son of flesh whereas Isaac was the son of promise. But what a dramatic contrast Paul's simple summary sets forth. Slavery by natural birth and freedom by supernatural birth. The message is simple. If you have only experienced natural birth, you are by nature a slave. But if you have experienced supernatural birth by the fulfillment of God's promise, you are set free by God's Grace.
Life is filled with contrasts, especially the contrasts between the choices we have before us and the consequences of what we actually choose. In Galatians Chapter 4, Paul provides us with the contrasts between being the children of the bond woman, of man and his work, and the children of the free woman, of God and His promises. Abraham in his life, had a choice to make, and he himself presents a contrast of choices. God had promised Abraham a son, but he could not wait. Abraham tried to bless himself, and Ishmael was the consequences. Later Abraham chose to let God bless him, the result was a miracle and the son of promise being born through Sarah, as promised by God. Abraham had to go through the agony of pain for using the human choice rather than waiting for the fulfillment of God's promise.
Here, the women and children are representative of the choice we have before us, on which Paul has spent nearly the entire letter of Galatians; the bondage of law or the liberty of Christ. We can choose to follow the bondwoman and a life of slavery, or a free woman and a life of liberty. As Christians, we are born of the free woman and in Christ, therefore, we are the born again children of promise. God promised Abraham a son and he received Isaac. But to us God has given His own Son, Jesus Christ. God promised Abraham a promised land on earth, but to us God has given the true promised land of heaven and a share of everlasting eternity. God expects us to exercise faith by following His laws and ways, not the nation's law that may be detrimental to our faith and Christian life. Follow Abraham's faithful examples, not his faltering example protected by the law of the nation, to enjoy friendship and ever closer relationship Prayer: Eternal God, Thank you lord for the privilege of being your children through the re birth with Jesus Christ, Amen.
Thought for the day: We are free in Christ when we take birth in Christ.
Dr. George K. Varghese, MTC Greater Washington