The biggest put you on the edge of your seat movies have them. The most drama filled novels are replete with them. And those situations can actually pale in comparison to what happens in real life! What is it? It’s the twist that changes how everything up to a certain point gets viewed. And such a twist gets revealed in Galatians 4.
While talking to the church(es) in the Galatia region about the damage that had been inflicted by false Jewish teachers upon the believer’s faith in Jesus’ work, Paul drops a twist in the plot line of the age-old story concerning God’s promise to Abraham in more ways than one.
The Jewish people prided themselves upon their physical heritage in Abraham (rightly so, but wrongly done), and they used that heritage to “lay claim” to the path that leads to salvation; a path that wrongly included various adherences to the Law of Moses after the Law of Christ had been given by God.
So to make his point clear when it came to the difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ, Paul uses two different mountains, two different women and two different children to show how the people who prided themselves on being the sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were in reality more like the sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Nebajoth because of their attitude toward the faith delivered by God through Jesus. Paul says those who boast of Abraham and Sarah outside of Christ find themselves sitting in bondage at the foot of Sinai instead of enjoying the freedom that flows from Mount Jerusalem. At the end of the of day their circumcision had actually cut them out of the promise to Abraham through Isaac. Paul says that the false teachers were children of Abraham alright – but they were the wrong child.
What a twist in the story!
“Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” (Galatians 4:21-28)