Daily Devotional Saturday 24th October 2020

by William Moody

Galatians 4:21–31

Example of Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;1 she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 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.”

28 Now you,2 brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 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. 30 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.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.


[1] 4:25 Some manuscripts For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia
[2] 4:28 Some manuscripts we


Paul uses the picture of Abraham’s two sons Ishmael and Isaac to contrast those who advocate living according to the law to those who live in the freedom of faith (v21-23).

The picture here is of a son in a poor position as a child of a slave, which speaks of those under the law and a son in a much greater position as a child of the promise, which speaks of those who have come to Christ in faith in God’s promises (v24-28). Going back to a focus on the ceremonial law may appear more religious and spiritual, but Paul saw it as a step back to slavery.

The problem Paul sees here is like how Ishmael the son of a slave persecuted Isaac the son of the promise, so too do those going back to the ceremonial law persecute those who seek to live in freedom as the children of the promise (v29-31). This continues to happen today.

In Christianity there are rules, the Ten Commandments still apply, but our primary focus has to be on our relationship with Christ which is through grace. Sadly there are those who prefer to focus on rules, who lose sight of grace and lose the joy of their relationship with Christ. Sadly they can become like Pharisees, always pointing out the faults of others and adding additional rules that must be followed. Beware of such people, there are plenty about.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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