Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 KJV
My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you. Galatians 4:19 AMP
Paul is speaking here about praying for the Galatians – interceding for them in the Holy Ghost – for Christ to be formed in them. That they would come to know Him in his fullness; that they would have a full revelation of what He had done in them and for them; and that they would experience the fullness of the freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. This is not just a prayer that applies to the Galatians alone – but it applies to each and every one of us. We all need for Christ to be formed in us – we all need to come to know Him in the fullest measure that is possible on this side of heaven – we all need Him to do, and to finish, His work in us, and to bring us progressively into experiencing true freedom.
Would that I were with you now and could coax you vocally, for I am fearful and perplexed about you! 21 Tell me, you who are bent on being under the Law, will you listen to what the Law [really] says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondmaid and one by the free woman. 23 But whereas the child of the slave woman was born according to the flesh and had an ordinary birth, the son of the free woman was born in fulfillment of the promise. Galatians 4:20-23
Hagar represents the slave woman and Sarah the freewoman. Genesis 16:15 says: “And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son whom Hagar bore Ishmael.” And Genesis 21:2-3 says: “For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had told him. Abraham named his son whom Sarah bore to him Isaac [laughter].”
Ishmael, the child of the slave woman, born after the flesh, or the will of man, represents the Law which was given by Moses. It was given because of the sin of the people, to bring correction and to punish wrong-doers. It was born according to the flesh – the efforts of man – and had an ordinary birth. On the other hand, the son of the free woman was born in fulfillment of the promise given by Almighty God.
There was nothing supernatural about Ishmael’s birth, but in the case of Isaac’s birth, it was totally supernatural! Both parents were past the age of childbearing and it was actually impossible in the natural for them to have a baby. Isaac was born ONLY because of the promise and the power and the will of God. Isaac represents the promise which is appropriated by faith and not by works. Isaac represents the freedom of the Gospel of Christ.
Now all this is an allegory; these [two women] represent two covenants. One covenant originated from Mount Sinai [where the Law was given] and bears [children destined] for slavery; this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is (stands for) Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to and belongs in the same category with the present Jerusalem, for she is in bondage together with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above (the Messianic kingdom of Christ) is free, and she is our mother. Galatians 4:24-26 AMP
Sarah and Hagar symbolize the Old and New Covenants. Hagar represents the Mosaic Law that produced bondage, and which has been cast out and abolished by the cross. Sarah represents the New Covenant that brings men to God, makes them children of His by the new birth and gives freedom from bondage.
There are all kinds of ways to be in bondage, but only one way to be free. You can be in the bondage of sin and deception, or you can be stuck in the bondage of a religious works program. They are both works of the flesh and require no faith. The “Jerusalem” – God’s Kingdom – which is above, is free and she is our mother. It is only the Kingdom of God – with its way in, which is faith in Jesus Christ – that brings true freedom. True freedom comes only by faith in God through Jesus Christ.
For it is written in the Scriptures, Rejoice, O barren woman, who has not given birth to children; break forth into a joyful shout, you who are not feeling birth pangs, for the desolate woman has many more children than she who has a husband. 28 But we, brethren, are children [not by physical descent, as was Ishmael, but] like Isaac, born in virtue of promise. Galatians 4:27-28 AMP
Just as Isaac was a child of promise, we, who are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, are children of promise. God promised beforehand that YOU would be born into His Kingdom and into His life and His freedom – and you ARE when you believe on Jesus Christ.
Yet [just] as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh despised and persecuted him [who was born remarkably] according to [the promise and the working of] the [Holy] Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Cast out and send away the slave woman and her son, for never shall the son of the slave woman be heir and share the inheritance with the son of the free woman. 31 So, brethren, we [who are born again] are not children of a slave woman [the natural], but of the free [the supernatural]. Galatians 4:29-31 AMP
Genesis 21:9-10 AMP says, “Now Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, mocking [Isaac]. 10 Therefore she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.” We, like Isaac, are children of promise. We do not fear death or hell or judgment, because the blood of Jesus keeps us safe and keeps us pure. We walk in freedom and liberty, safe in the knowledge that we are in right-standing with the Father. We stand firm in this liberty of Christ and we refuse to allow the bondage of sin OR of religious tradition to bind us up again!