This is the story of Hagar as taught by Paul. The church is likened to the people in this story. Consider how blessed we are as God’s people.
Galatians 4:28 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 freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Motherhood is about a bond to children by mothers and children to parents. In our generation there was respect for parents. We had respect for our friends’ mothers. That respect was brought into the church. It’s a scary time to be young today. Kids who are trying to do right are surrounded by mixed up people and chaos. No wonder it’s hard for them. They are children of the bondwoman and are bound by their hereditary nature of sin. We were that way until we were saved.
The Jewish people of the church in Galatia wanted to be saved but wanted to drag the old The laws and ceremonies into it. Before they were saved they knew they couldn’t keep the Law. The Law showed a person he or she couldn’t keep the commandments, ceremonies, and feasts. They always fell short. Paul is the one who told us all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The purpose of the Law was not to save people but to show them their sin.
Abraham was long before Moses and the Law. By faith people learned that it didn’t take works but a sacrifice of a life for a life. Abel offered a sheep to reach out to God, the innocent for the guilty. God accepted it. He did not accept Cain’s offering from the field. We have to be made free by the sacrifice of another. After Adam and Eve sinned, animals were sacrificed for them. It was a symbol of things to come. In time, One stepped in our place making us a child of the free, not of the bond.
Abraham’s day was a time of human government. Adam and Eve knew they had done wrong. Their conscience worked on them. In time, sin became so great that man’s conscience grew hard. They saw no sin, no wrong in what they were doing. Noah found grace. He didn’t earn it. He was trusting God. If Noah had not found grace we’d not be here. A lot of people are counting on us to continue trusting God.
Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees, the east end of the Middle East. God called him to leave for a land he’d not been to before. He promised a child to him and his wife Sara. The human government became the age of promise. Eventually they came to the Promised Land and Abraham was reminded many times the land belonged to him and his descendants to come. Through a nation the whole world would be blessed with a Savior. Paul said Abraham believed God and it was counted for righteousness.
Years went on. Abraham and Sara got impatient waiting on a child. Sara came up with the idea of Abraham going into her handmaid Hagar. He did and she had a son who was named Ishmael. He was Abraham’s first-born son but he was not the son of Abraham and Sara, not the son of promise. They had been told the heir was through the two of them; it was not through Hagar and Abraham.
Eventually Abraham and Sara did have a son. Because Sara had laughed at the news he was named Isaac, which means laughter. Ishmael had a right to an inheritance as Abraham’s son. What would Abraham do? Ishmael was older than Isaac and teased him a lot. Hagar made fun of Sara and the whole thing was a mess. What needed to happen? The bondwoman had to go with her son. Did God forsake them? No. He sent an angel and spared their lives. Look what has happened. There has been nothing but trouble from their efforts to try to do it themselves instead of waiting on the grace and mercy of God to provide.
Some will tell you to keep climbing to the top of the mountain. You’ll make a name for yourself and find what you need. That’s crazy. No pilgrimage to a mountain will save you. The only mountain we need to go to is the foot of Calvary and meet Jesus. He’s the one who gets us to the top.
Because we’re saved we are not children of the bondwoman. In a sense we were all children of the bond, not of Hagar but of Eve. Adam and Eve failed by their transgression and fell into bondage. Their act put us all there. Look what their mistake cost us all. God sent his Son to get us out of the bondage and to make us children of the free. It’s a sin to work your own way out. We must trust and serve the Lord. God doesn’t need our input to make it come about. We need his. We’re children of God because of HIS righteousness not our own.
God looked down at Mary. She was given the message about conception of the Savior. She submitted herself to God and the Holy Spirit conceived in her a son. His name was Jesus. He took our bondage and we can be free. Don’t try to do it yourself. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works.
Ishmael was the child of the bondwoman. He as a child of Abraham’s mess up. Isaac was the child of promise. You and I are saved because we trust in the One promised to us: Jesus Christ our Savior. We bear the title children of the promise through grace.
Isaac understood the mercy of God and what it meant to be free. That’s the result of what God does. As we live for God, the less sin we allow in our lives the happier we’ll be. Don’t waste your Christianity trying to be children of the bond. We’re children of the God who made us free!