When it comes to serving Christ, why do some choose rules over a relationship? I believe that, just like in a family, good relationships are harder to maintain. This is the very thing that Paul talks about in his letter to the Galatian church.
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?
Many people are under the assumption that following a set of rules is the best way to serve God. They think that as long as they try to do good things and keep away from the evil things, then they’ll be okay. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking shows a basic misunderstanding of how God operates through His people.
The Apostle Paul, an expert in the law, explains this important truth to the church.
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
When we talk about a relationship, especially in the spirit, it has nothing to do with the works you’ve done. The important thing is how you entered the relationship. How do you begin to relate to God?
Paul says that there are two ways. He uses the example of Abraham’s two children. He tells us that one was born according to the flesh, the other by an announcement from God. So the two ways of relating to God are by natural means; or by the Word of God.
Many people try the natural method. They look at their lives and say, “It’s about time that I grow up. I need to start taking more responsibility and act in a more mature way.” They say that they’ve “turned over a new leaf.”
They start to read the Bible and think about how they can live like the good people described in its pages. There’s no spiritual change, it’s all done in the flesh. They use self-discipline and drive to accomplish their goal to live better.
Please understand – the desire to walk in maturity is a commendable thing. The problem is that it’s nearly impossible in the natural. Ask anyone who attends an AA meeting. It only takes one weak moment to knock you back to the start of the whole process.
That’s what Paul’s talking about here.
These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
Paul talks about two covenants. But if you remember, he already told the Galatian church that the law was not really a covenant, but an addendum to the true covenant. (Click here to review it.)
What he’s saying is that if you want to view the Law as another covenant, then you’re headed for slavery. And I can tell you plainly that this is not God’s will for you. The Lord wants a family, not slaves.
Christ went to the cross so that His people could walk in total freedom. As we continue to go through Galatians in future posts, we’ll see how this freedom is supposed to work in us.
Question: What are the similarities and differences between the family and slavery relationships?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017