No longer a slave, but a son!
Scripture reading for September 18th: Galatians 3:23-4:31
Paul likened those under the law to slaves and prisoners. “But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:22-24) In fact, the Bible declares that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are justified. We can never be made righteous by our works. The law actually imprisons us because we cannot keep it.
But thanks be to God that through faith we are now adopted into God’s family! “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all who were baptized into Christ have clothed themselves with Christ. Therefore there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29) Paul is telling these Galatians that they are no longer under the law or slaves of sin. They are now sons of God, and clothed with Christ. Their past identities no now longer are relevant. In Christ all are one new family. Christ is Abraham’s promised ‘Seed’ and from faith in Him, all are now heirs of God’s promises to Abraham.
Abraham had two sons. Ishmael was born of the slave woman, Hagar. Isaac was his child through Sarah by divine promise. These two sons were types of two covenants. One covenant, the law, was given at Mt. Sinai and brought slavery. Hagar stands for Mt. Sinai and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But Isaac was a child of promise, conceived by faith in God’s promise. We who trust in Christ are children of this free woman and born of the Spirit! There is conflict between the two even today! The main point of this teaching is that faith brings freedom and adoption while the law brings bondage and slavery. What an easy choice!