Grace Is All You’ve Got

Paul gives an illustration from the Old Testament to demonstrate the difference between the slavery that comes from the law and the freedom that comes from grace.  The story is from Genesis 16 and Genesis 21.
Abraham had two sons – Ishmael and Isaac.  Ishmael was the son of Abraham’s slave, Hagar.  Isaac was the son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah.  Ishmael was born because Abraham did not trust God and tried to make things happen apart from God’s plan.  Isaac was the son God had promised to give Abraham by his wife, Sarah.
God’s people (the church) are spiritual children of His promise.  We have a promise of eternal life by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  We are not slaves to the law.  We have been set free from the law and from the consequences of failing to keep it perfectly.  When we try to earn our way into Heaven by following rules, we become like slaves.  The law is a slave master which holds us in bondage to in unattainable righteousness by works.  We simply cannot be saved by our ability to follow the law because we cannot possibly follow the law perfectly.  If we could, Jesus would not have had to die.  Since Jesus did have to die, we know that it is impossible for us to keep the law.  Instead, we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus expressed in belief, repentance, confession and baptism.
Do not settle for slavery.  Instead, trust His grace to save you.  Grace is all you’ve really got and the good news is that grace is all you really need.

Galatians 4:21-31 (NIV)

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.27 For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30 But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.


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