The Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Galatians 4:21-31

Children of the Free Woman

Freedom is difficult for human beings; it really is.  From the very beginning, we couldn’t handle it.  Even in the Garden of Eden where we were unencumbered with sin, “originally righteous” the old theologians used to say…even there, we misused our freedom and from thence fell into our state of depravity.  So how worse off are we now?  Much, I’m afraid.  Indeed, without rebirth from above of the Spirit, we have no freedom at all, lest we call freedom to sin “freedom,” which is the only “freedom” an unregenerate person knows.  But having come to saving faith in Christ, the believer experiences a true liberation, not of the kind the world favors—freedom to do whatever one wants, which is again only that freedom to sin of which we already spoke, which is really only slavery—but freedom from sin, which is the only true freedom there really is. 

But even this freedom is hard to maintain, which is exactly what we are seeing here in Paul’s letter to these Galatian churches.  These were people who had experienced salvation, come to repentance and saving faith, were reborn of the Holy Spirit and ready to walk in the freedom of service to God, growing in grace and joyously rooting sin out of their lives.  What could be easier?  But it’s not easy; it’s hard.  Growing in grace is hard; crucifying sinful desires is excruciating; walking in love can sometimes leave us with more questions than answers when confronted by thorny human predicaments and uncontrollable circumstances.  It’s easier in those times to seek a set of rules and regulations, something that will provide easy answers, a written code that provides us with all the particulars, and ceremonies that make us feel better about ourselves.  And no doubt Scripture certainly provides us with more direction than we will ever use.  But that is different from seeking a code that enslaves us, that provides us with a false sense of security through empty rituals or diets.  God has called us to more than this.  He has given us His Spirit to live within us, empowering us, transforming us after the image of His dear Son.  In such a way, love becomes obedience and obedience becomes love.

Paul illustrates this truth typologically with the account in Genesis of Hagar and Sarah, Ishmael and Isaac, the old Jerusalem and New Jerusalem.  We are of the latter.  Cast out the slave woman and her son—the old nature, the elementary principles of the world and even the law.  Those born of the Spirit have no need of these.  Let us be brave and live as free men and women, citizens of a heavenly Kingdom, children of the promise.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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