By Brooke Holt
“Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? ‘Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.’ Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:28-31 NIV)
Here, Paul reiterates his understanding of Abraham’s children. Contrary to what the Judaizers have been teaching, these Galatian believers are the children of Sarah; they are like Isaac, the child of promise. Just as Ishmael (the son of Hagar) persecuted (or bullied) Isaac, so the Judaizers were persecuting (or bullying) the Galatians. History does have a way of repeating itself, doesn’t it?
Paul is wrapping up his final argument to the Galatians and his history lesson from the Old Testament. In doing these things, he is also equipping these Galatians to stand their ground against those persecuting them for their faith in Jesus Christ and insisting they adopt the Old Testament practices in the law of Moses.
With this new knowledge and enlightenment, Paul would call these Gentile believers to stand their ground against anyone who preached a Gospel other than Jesus Christ. They were to set their hearts on Christ alone, stand firmly on their identity in Christ, and receive the righteousness bestowed upon them and the promises of their inheritance. God had made the way for these people to come to himself through his Son. The Holy Spirit had been poured out on these people giving them the power of God, the presence of God, and the ability to understand and appropriate the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Paul would repeat the message to them and you—you are free! You are the children of promise. You are worthy of being in fellowship with God and his people, to be fully accepted and loved through Jesus Christ.
Receive—believe—release. Receive this Gospel truth, continue to believe in the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf, and then release all those worldly expectations, the condemnation, and the need to please people. As God’s chosen people, you are loved and accepted, free from the judgment of God and others, and called to live as his beloved sons and daughters, reflecting his glory throughout the world.
Are you living as God’s beloved child? Believe who you are in his Son, then receive all his precious gifts for you! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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