We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Swimmer Maya DiRado, a gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, said her athletic pursuits are rooted in her faith: “Knowing that I’m a child of God and that his love for me is determined by nothing I can achieve or do on my own has given me a quiet confidence. . . . Jesus’ love for me and all humanity is something that always helps me better love people around me when things get difficult.”
Being a child of God is an incomparable privilege! In today’s reading, Paul took the parable or analogy from yesterday and applied it to the Galatians’ situation. Their identity as believers in Christ aligned them with Sarah and Isaac and the promise God made to Abraham (v. 28). They should not “switch sides,” as it were. To go back to the Law and try to live by merit would actually work against the gospel in their lives. The legalists were tempting the Galatians to choose the wrong mother, along with slavery and immaturity. No doubt the Judaizers were stunned to find themselves assigned to the line of Ishmael.
Historically, Ishmael had persecuted Isaac, and now history was repeating itself (v. 29). Salvation by works is the enemy of salvation by faith, and confidence in the flesh is utterly opposed to confidence in the Spirit. The solution is the same now as it was then, to “get rid of the slave woman” (v. 30; Gen. 21:9–14). There can be no compromise. Legalism must be rejected!
Followers of Christ are children of the free woman (v. 31). God’s promise to Abraham has been fulfilled in Christ, and as a result we’ve come by grace into our spiritual inheritance of salvation. Only one path leads to freedom and redemption: justification by faith alone in Christ alone.
Apply the Word
Our status as God’s children should be a daily cause for amazement and rejoicing! Memorizing Scripture helps us remember and reflect on this truth. John 1:12–13, 1 John 3:1–2, or 1 John 5:1–2 are all excellent choices to memorize so we can marinate in these blessings. God’s words have the power to transform us to be more like Christ!