Archive for August 26, 2009


Continuing on with our passage from Galatians 4, Paul gives us a closer look at the law and what we choose when we decide to go the way of the law.

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Two choices. There are only two. You come to a fork in the road of life and have to choose which way to go. These two sons or two ways of going forth are like signposts.

First there is the sign marked "Son of the bondwoman". This is the way that the clan that is born into bondage go. Every one from this household is held fast by the leash of another. Sometimes this leash is rather long and lets you roam with apparent freedom but if you get too close to the boundaries set by that master there is a quick tug and reality strikes. You can not go there. You are bound.
You are in covenant with the flesh and the flesh has certain rules and set principles.


The other sign is marked "Son of the freewoman". Now the freewoman is not in bondage and thus you are born into freedom when you choose this way. There are guideposts along the way to tell you which way you should go. There are the words of those who have gone before you, other children of the freewoman. To be sure there are boundaries but these are enforced by the loving hand of a Friend not a cruel taskmaster. There are principles that govern this way too, but they are not cruel and unforgiving but rather beckon and plead and encourage you by the Love of the Way Maker to stay the course you have begun on.

24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants;…

When you choose the way you will go, and you in fact must choose, you are agreeing to the terms of that way. Choose well. You are making a covenant, an agreement to the terms. The two Covenants are the Law (self-righteousness) or Grace (the righteousness or Christ).

… the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

Again, Paul wants you to see a picture of two ways of going, you have been given a free will and contrary to the cute little saying, "the devil made me do it", you (and no one else or no other thing) are held wholly accountable for your choice here. You can not say, "I didn’t understand the question", or "I didn’t understand how important it was". Ignorance is not excuse. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:19,20.

We are born under the shadow of Mt Sinai, which is represented by Hagar, the bondwoman. There is an interesting and convenient study of the name Hagar which serves well to illustrate our point. Hagar in Hebrew means "ensnare" in Arabic it means "handmaid". Wow! So with a little imagination and spiritual guidance you can see how easily this Mt. Sinai, the representation of the Law can be seen in Hagar.

Here is Hagar, the handmaid, convenient, useful, always faithful to serve, close at hand and willing. She is the close companion of your wife. She is like one of the family for she is always with you, helping and assisting. Now you come across one of your greatest needs. I need to have children so that God’s promises may become realized in my life. God has said that I will have a nation and that many will be blessed through me. I believe God and yet see that He may need my help to accomplish this task. What can I do? My wife Sarah is barren and I see that God can not do this through her. I must make a choice. Wait to see what God can do (though I doubt that he can use an old, barren woman to produce sons) or take matters into my own hands.

Right here was the choice that Abram was faced with. Trust God or "get ‘er done" in my own strength. You can not wait on God AND sleep with Hagar. You are either waiting on God or you are sleeping with Hagar. Again Hagar is the representation of the law and self-effort and self-righteousness. Hagar is there conveniently on the side looking healthy, useful and vibrant. There is no doubt in your mind that she can do this. On the other hand is a barren woman, the opportunity of faith, and the urgency of my soul to have what God has shown me and promised.

Hagar, like the meaning of her name says, is there to ensnare. There is always this human reasoning and human effort (e.g. Self) right there to show you how to do this. Now God is not tempting you. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:13-15

Tempting, but not of God.
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I want us to look together at a passage of profound importance in Galatians 4. Here is that passage:

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For 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. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless 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 free woman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Gal. 4:21-31.

Paul, sets out an amazing picture that shows us the difference between 2 women, 2 covenants, 2 sons.

First notice that Abraham is a type, a representation, of God. We can only take this so far but it is helpful to understand this point for the sake of the allegory. Don’t take this too far, it will break down. There is only One God, and Abraham is not Him. But Abraham does have two tychildren — those of the Word and the Promise and those born of the flesh apart from tpes of he Word and promise — and so does God. Also, the children of Abraham, though bound to different destinies, come from his seed, they are all his children yet all are not of the Promise.

First Paul sets up the proposition, the point he wants to make in verse 21. He asks, "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" Guess what Paul is asking the experts of the law? Don’t you hear what the law is saying? This is your territory of expertise and you do not understand this? Listen. Here again is the call to have ears that hear (e.g. listen). Putting words into your head without understanding them is pointless. Pray for understanding and wisdom. Listen!

So, you want to live by the law? That’s a tough row to hoe. It can not produce fruit unto salvation. For the first rock you hit (or should I say hits you) that you can not get around, you are through, undone,  your row will be crooked, imperfect, unacceptable. Don’t go there. No one can make his path straight by his own. There are too many real obstacles that you can not make that row straight. Has anyone ever gone through the field of life and kept their path perfectly straight? No, never. Why do you insist that you can. Listen to the law. It is woefully unforgiving. The first bump and your out.
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