GALATIANS‬ ‭4:21-31‬‬‬

“Tell me, you who want to live under the law, do you know what the law actually says? The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons, one from his slave wife and one from his freeborn wife. The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. These two women serve as an illustration of God’s two covenants. The first woman, Hagar, represents Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them. And now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia, because she and her children live in slavery to the law. But the other woman, Sarah, represents the heavenly Jerusalem. She is the free woman, and she is our mother. As Isaiah said, “Rejoice, O childless woman, you who have never given birth! Break into a joyful shout, you who have never been in labor! For the desolate woman now has more children than the woman who lives with her husband!” And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.”

Galatians‬ ‭4:21-31‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Modern Christians seem to be history averse, but as Paul demonstrates, a good use of historical knowledge can help to drive a point. In this passage, Paul uses the example of the Ishmael narrative to turn rhetorical tides. It must be noted that this move was particularly clever because of the allegiances it challenged. The Jewish nation was a product of the union between Abraham and Sarah, but also of Moses’ leadership with the law of God. Here Paul notes that to be associated with Sarah, one must eventually reject the law as the correct path. To continue associating with it is to reject Abraham and Sarah’s union in favor of his union with Hagar. For a law lover, this would be a difficult burden to accept as the law and Abraham were linked in Judaism. With a discerning mind and knowledge of history, Paul is able to cede the argument in such a way that the Judaizers own history argues against their points. Christian’s ought to follow his example. Understanding the past frees up the future.

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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