Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
The images in Galatians are vivid, to say the least. In this week’s reading from Galatians 4:21-31 the apostle Paul draws a night and day distinction. The children of Hagar, the slave woman, are altogether different from the children of Sarah, the free woman. The children of the flesh are different from the children of promise. The children of the Law are different from the children of the Gospel.
The apostle describes those who would wish to keep the law as children of slavery and bondage. Rather than depending on God’s promise, they strive to reach redemption by their own efforts. The efforts to earn salvation are going to be utterly fruitless. We are only able to achieve the level of our sinful, fallen nature.
This idea explains the possibly cryptic remark of verse 27. The one who is barren is Sarah. She is unable to give birth except for God’s promise. Her nature is to have no offspring. It is God who gives the increase. Although it didn’t appear that Sarah would have children, God’s promise was fulfilled. Her offspring cannot be counted. In this offspring all nations of the earth are blessed. God brings his promise to all the world.
So with Paul we ask whether you want to be children of the flesh or children of the promise. The promise of eternal life in Christ is free for all. That’s the kind of promise we need.
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