Monday, August 16, 2010

Child of Freedom

“Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.” (Galatians 4:31)

In a witnessing encounter, a young Buddhist man said, “I am Buddhist because I was born a Buddhist. If you had been born in Japan, you would be a Buddhist, too.”

There is at least some truth in what he said. A lot of people tend to become religious adherents to the religion that is dominant in a given locale. That doesn’t mean they are committed necessarily; only that they are adherents.

Paul suggested a similar idea in his discussion with the Galatians about law and freedom. He asked them to think about Abraham, who had two sons, one by a slave woman named Hagar, and the other by his wife, Sarah, a free woman. Paul says that one is born into slavery and the other into freedom. He uses this as an “illustration” to make a point. It looks like more of an allegorical use of this example, but he calls their example a “tupos,” which is Greek for “type.” Literally, the word means “shadow.” Still, it’s basically just an illustration.

Paul suggests that Hagar corresponds to Mount Sinai and to the current Jerusalem, both of which were law-related. He says that Hagar’s children are thus those who are still in bondage to the Law. He goes on to say that the children of Sarah are those who are born in freedom as part of “the Jerusalem above.” He seems to be referring to a heavenly Jerusalem. Is it possible he saw the “New Jerusalem” John saw in Revelation? Whether that is true or not, Paul’s point is that Christians are not children of slavery but children of freedom.

That foundation laid, Paul challenges us then to stand firm in our freedom and never again submit to a yoke of slavery, either to the Law or to sin or to anything that would keep us for walking in the Spirit and by the Spirit.

Lord, We thank You today for the freedom we have in Christ. Help us to walk in this freedom in the ways that most glorify You. Amen.

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