Monday, May 6
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, don’t you hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman. 23 But the one by the slave was born as a result of the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born through promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery — this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and 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, childless woman,
unable to give birth.
Burst into song and shout,
you who are not in labor,
for the children of the desolate woman will be many,
more numerous than those
of the woman who has a husband.
28 Now you too, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as then the child born as a result of the flesh persecuted the one born as a result of the Spirit, so also now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never be a coheir with the son of the free woman.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of a slave but of the free woman.
In this passage Paul is drawing upon an example from the Old Testament. He is pointing us to the comparison and contrast of the two sons of Abraham. An important contrast Paul is pointing at is the difference between freedom and slavery. One son of Abraham was born of a free woman, while the other was born of a slave. One was born out of the promises and power of God, the other was born out of a human attempt to “help God out” when it seemed impossible for Abraham’s wife to have a child. The son born of the free woman represents freedom that comes in resting in God’s power, grace, and faithfulness. The son born of the slave represents what it looks like to live in unbelief and trying to make your own way before God. The real Christian life is one marked by freedom. A life with a diluted form of the gospel at it’s core, is one that leads us to take things into our own hands. That kind of life is marked by slavery, fear, and anxiety.
What Paul is really getting at here is the idea of legalism, or a behavior and works based gospel. Take note that holiness is Biblical, legalism is not and they are two very different things. Legalism is not setting spiritual standards, it’s worshiping the standards and your ability to keep them. Legalism also means judging, and often condemning others based on those standards. Legalism serves as a powerful tool of separation between people and the gospel. As people pursue Jesus, they end up looking more like Him by power of grace and the process of sanctification. That work and progress is up to God, not us. So ask yourself, are you implementing the gospel of grace, or the gospel of legalism in your own life?
Father forgive my self-righteous heart that worships cultural or societal standards over worshipping You. Open my eyes to see what it means to grow in grace, not to achieve moral success and believe I deserve your love more because of it.
Pick Four More Activities
Listen and Worship.
Pray a Psalm.
Read a Book.
Retell the Gospel to Yourself.
Take Some Notes on Today's Devotional.
Pray for Yourself, Your Family, Your Church, and the Lost.
Memorize a Verse.
List Five Things You're Thankful For.