“For it is written, ‘Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.’ Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.” (Gal. 4:27, 28)
The brethren here are the Galatian Christians, both Jew, and Gentile. With this new way of looking at the two primary descendants of Abraham, there are people of slavery and people of promise. Of course, we know that the Jewish nation or people were descendants of Isaac but Paul is not talking literally here about lineage. He is discussing it in the sense of the allegory only. This view makes the followers of the law children of the slave woman and those who live by faith, children of the free woman.
The Christians then are children of Abraham through Sarah which is the route of the promise. It would be foolish of them to want to become children of the slave, Hagar. But, that is precisely what the Judaizers are suggesting. Rather than living by faith in the grace of God, the Galatians are thinking about living by the system of law.
Many of us have that same problem today. Like the Judaizers of Galatia, many followers of Jesus believe that salvation lies in a system of law. They are caught up in the dos and don’ts and thus fail to rely on grace. The Judaizers taught that Christians began with grace by making Jesus their Lord but one saved they needed to do something to stay saved. Many Christians today make that same mistake. They believe in Jesus, repent and are baptized and accept the fact that their past sins have been washed away, but they are not sure about what to do with their new sins they are committing day by day.
Modern-day Galatians feel they must do something to remain saved. Something besides grace. They may believe they must attend every church service, never miss communion, be a daily Bible reader, visit the sick or feed the poor in order to stay saved or earn heaven. That is not grace; that is a system of law (rules and regulations). Perhaps it is not The Law but a system of self-imposed rules which become the system of salvation.
There are but two systems of salvation. One is law and one is grace. To be saved by the system of law every law must be kept every time. One sin nullifies this system’s effectiveness. To be saved by the system of grace no laws have to be kept. No rules have to be followed every time. Those who are saved by the system of grace are saved by God not by doing something (anything) themselves.
Does this mean you can’t do good works? No. You should. Because you can and it’s the right thing. But, you cannot do good works for the works’ sake. You cannot do them as a system of salvation. If you do then you have to be perfect in doing them.
Task for Today: If you have begun your walk with Christ by faith which brought you grace then continue to live in the grace. Do not try to do one single thing to save yourself. You can be circumcised if you want to but never because you have to (to be saved). You can go to church if you want to but never because you have to (to be saved).