(Previously posted at GGMagazine)
My daughter Jess pointed out this passage of scriptures a while back and at the time, while I understood these verses, it wasn’t until later that it really struck me. This is a beautiful explanation of how the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is a picture of Christ and His Church. It’s the message of grace which was given to us through Abraham so many years ago.
In this passage we see God unfolding this drama into a captivating lesson of God’s grace.
Old Covenant = Bondwoman = Hagar = Mt. Sinai = Torah/Law = Bondage = Works of the Flesh
New Covenant = Free woman= Sarah = Jerusalem = Christ= Freedom = Fruits of the Spirit
Galatians 4:21-31, “21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. (Genesis 16:1-2) The Bondwoman is Hagar and the free woman is Sarah.
23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. (Genesis 16:15 and Genesis 17:17:15-16) The son of the flesh is Ishmael and the son of the promise through Sarah is Isaac (Genesis 16:11 and 17:19)
24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. (Exodus 19:1, First Covenant at Sinai)
25For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (Genesis 16:6-9)
26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Genesis 16:1)
27For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. (Isaiah 54:1)
28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. (Genesis 17:19)
29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Genesis 21:9)
30Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. (Genesis 21:10)
31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Isaiah 61:1)
God shows us that the Old Testament Law kept us in bondage. We were kept under The Law, but when the Law of Christ came, we were set free. The results of living under The Law, (fulfilling the Lust of the Flesh), produce the Works of the flesh and the result of living in Christ, (walking in the Spirit), is the Fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-25, “16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit(Gal 4:29), and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.“
When I lived under The Law, I felt condemned. I felt as though I could never measure up. Yet that is true. We can’t measure up. We can’t live up to God’s standards, that’s why He allowed us to have His Son, Christ our Lord. The Old Covenant gave animal sacrifices until the Messiah would come. He HAS come and He lives today. We were given the Law to show us our need for Christ. When Christ came and died on the cross, He bore our sins an fulfilled The Law. We now live under the Law of Christ.
John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Romans 8:2, “For thelaw of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Romans 10:4, “ForChrist is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.“
Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of thelaw, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”
Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.“
Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
When we live under The Law it breeds boastfulness, arrogance, judgmental thoughts and words, and a lack of grace. Be cautious of trying to live up to Christ. There is not amount of righteousness we can do to please God. We must simply put our faith in Christ, “for without faith it is impossible to please him.”(Hebrews 11:6)
We are not, however, to use grace so that sin will abound. We must still live a holy life, but we can not do so without Christ. For Christ is our holiness, our righteousness, our only way to the Father. No amount of obeying the Law will ever get us a relationship with the Father. It must only come through Christ, His Son.
John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
This is the freedom, the liberty, that Christ offers us today. The story of Sarah was the beautifully written handiwork of God our Father, to show us the freedom we can have in His Son. To trust in Christ is not a bondage. To live in bondage under The Law is not freedom. Christ offers freedom. Sarah is the Freedom Factor for us today, given by Christ.