Let’s do think about it.
FEBRUARY 15, 2021
Let’s do think about it on this edition of Key Life.
Being adopted into the family of God is not about doing more or trying harder. It’s about being welcomed by God, because of his radical grace, free from the penalties of sin and never alone in your suffering. That grace is what Key Life is all about.
Thank you Matthew. Hope you had a great weekend and I hope your pastor’s sermon was as good as my pastor sermon. If you’re just joining us, we’re in the middle or actually getting toward the end of a very long series on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. And we’re up to the fourth chapter and we’re looking at verses 21 through 31. That’s where Paul writes as follows.
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, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of this slave was born according to the flesh, and the son of the free woman through promise. Now this is an allegory, these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery, she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one that does not bear; break forth and shout, thou who art in travail! For the desolate have more children than she who have a husband.” Now we, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit, so it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
Now alright. Let’s pray. And then we’ll get down. Father, we come into your presence and we remember that we’re free. It’s so easy to forget. And there are so many people that would put us in bondage. Bondage to their guilt, bondage to their plans, bondage to the empires that they build. Father remind us that we are the children of the free woman, that are our freedom or bought and paid for by the blood of Christ that we don’t have to live in bondage anymore. Father, you know the people who are listening to this broadcast and,you know, the hard places and the soft places, the laughter and the tears, the sorrow and the joy. Father, all of it is from your hand and in every place and in every way you guide your children home and we praise you for that. Remind us to come to you first. Remind us that you’re sufficient for every need. Remind us again of your love. Remind us again of your freedom. Father, as always, we pray for the one who teaches on this broadcast, that you would forgive him his sins, because they are many. We would see Jesus and him only. And we pray in Jesus name. Amen. Now, if you were listening last week, I think it was last week, we took the time to examine the kind of obtuse allegory, that the at least Gentile hearers who live in the 21st century. The kind of difficult allegory that Paul uses when he talks about Hagar and Sarah. And I took the time to explain that, and you can go to the archives if you want to, and you can review that if you want to. I trust that you took notes, you will be tested on this material, but what Paul is saying, and it’s a great argument, but he’s using it in a rabbinic way. He’s using it for Jews in the first century, who got it and understood what he was saying. And we don’t always, so we got to dig a little bit deeper to find out what he was saying. But what he was saying was all good news. You’re either going to live as a slave or you’re going to live as a free person. And because we are the children of promise, the promise was given to Isaac. The promise was given to God’s covenant people, and we are the recipients of the fulfillment of that promise and because we are free. And I mean, we are really free and that’s what Paul is saying. And when he does the quote from the Older Testament, he starts with the rejoice, the mark of the Christian ought to be joy. I think I’ve told you a, probably repeatedly that I’m working on a book, titled, Laughter and Lament: The Touchstones of Christian Freedom. I have never been to a Christian funeral where I didn’t hear laughter. I’ve never stood beside a death bed where I didn’t hear laughter. I have never been through tragedy and I’ve been through a lot of it, I’m old, with a lot of people over a lot of years, when I didn’t hear the laughter. Paul is saying you’re free, laugh and dance, and in our time you might have to wear a mask while you’re doing it, but laugh and dance before the throne, because you’re free. Now, last week, as we dug into this text, we saw that our freedom has to do with our roots, where we are planted. The place that is our resource, the definition of who we are, and Paul refers to Hagar the slave woman. And then he refers to Sarah the free woman. And we are children of the free woman, because of our roots, that go way back and way deep. And when the roots are that deep and they go back that far, you can’t change them. So you’re free, deal with it. Now, let me show you something else. And this is new. The freedom that you have is not only related to the roots that you’ve been given. It is discerned in reflection on those roots, Galatians 4:24.
Now this is an allegory, these women are two covenants.
Now, if you’ve been with us, you are aware that Paul is talking about the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. The old covenant was one of the law and the new covenant was the one of grace and promise and freedom. And both of those are important. Too often Christians say, well we’re not under the law anymore and we’re not. But that often means in some people’s minds that you get out some scissors and you cut out the Old Testament and throw it away because it’s no longer relevant. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, God has never changed his mind. There isn’t a place in the Old Testament where he says, you know, I had such high hopes for my people, but they kept messing it up. So I’m going to have to do something. Let me see what I can do. Oh, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t I send my son? That’ll fix it. And he can die on a cross and his blood will be sufficient for the sins of my people. Then they can go out and mess up all they want. Are you kidding? Where in the world did you get that? That’s from the pit of hell, and it smells like smoke. The law of God, the Psalmist says is perfect. It reflects a Holy God. And in fact, the mind of that God. And as we confront that, we are convicted of who we are, what we’ve done and how sinful we’ve been. And then what do you do you, you say I’m lost? No, you don’t. You run to Jesus. You run to the throne of grace. You reach out in the same way Abraham did, faith counted as righteousness. You reach out in the same way Jeremiah did, faith counted as righteousness. You reach out to Jesus and you’re forgiven and not only forgiven, you’re given power to live out a life to which you have been called. And so, it has to do with reflection on that and understanding of it. At the beginning of the broadcast, we talked about, you think about that. And that’s what Paul is saying. Don’t back away from it. Think about it, start it in your head and let it drop to your heart and then to your vocal chords, into your hands and feet. And rejoice as the text says, so the world can hear the laughter of the redeemed. And you think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. That was Steve Brown, setting the table on what we’re going to dig into all this week in Galatians. Again, that text is Galatians chapter four, verses 21 through 31. More to discover tomorrow, hope you’ll join us then.
‘Knowing’ makes me feel important and smart and in control. Certainty is a heck of a drug.
That’s a small snippet from an article called You’re Probably Wrong by Chad West. In the piece, he points out the dangers of placing too much importance on knowledge. Really thought provoking stuff. And you can find that article and the new 2021 edition of Key Life Magazine along with other great articles by Robin DeMurga, Chris Wachter and of course, Steve. Grab your free copy right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also email Steve@keylife.org and ask for the magazine. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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