Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Freedom #19: An Allegory of Salvation

Throughout Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, he has been warning the young churches in the area of Galatia of the dangers of the Judaizers who had been infiltrating these gentile believers,  attempting to bring them under the bondage of the Mosaic legal system; including the need to be circumcised and observe the Jewish feasts and sabbaths and all the other ceremonial laws.  All of this has been cancelled and done away with through the death and resurrection of Christ, as  Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians so clearly teaches, as well as the lessons we are learning in Galatians.


Here in Galatians, Paul is warning of this danger and teaching these Christians of the freedom that we have in Christ. In chapters 1 & 2 Paul defends his apostleship against the lies of the Judaizers who attempted to portray him as a false teacher. Paul, in these first two chapters shows that he is every bit a true apostle of Christ just as the original twelve.  Whereas the twelve spent the last  three years with Jesus before He was crucified and raised from the dead;  Paul, who was converted after Jesus arose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven, spent three years with the ascended, glorified Saviour alone with Him in the Arabian desert where he was given a concentrated, personal knowledge of Christ and doctrine for the Church which he wrote by inspiration of God in his New Testament Epistles.  


In chapters 3 & 4  Paul goes on to prove that  we are saved by trusting in Jesus,  just as Abraham was saved by trusting in God’s promise to him of a Promised Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would come through Abraham’s seed. Abraham was saved through faith in that promised Saviour, just as we are saved by faith in that Saviour who came two thousand years ago.


Now in Galatians 4:21-31, Paul uses an allegory to further teach us truths about this promised Saviour.


First of all, you are familiar with an allegory, are you not?  An allegory is a method of teaching truths through a story.  The best known allegory is Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, in which Bunyan teaches the only way to salvation and the Christian life.


In Galatians 3, we learned that salvation came through Abraham’s promised supernatural seed, Isaac, who was conceived when Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was 90.   Now in this allegory in ch 4, based on the true historical facts of Genesis,  it is emphasized that this promised Saviour came through Abraham and Sarah  and not  through Abraham and Sarah’s slave, Hagar.  You remember the story, do you not?  Read it in Genesis 15-18  and 21.


So in the passage before us, Galatians 4:21-31,  Paul contrasts the two unions.


The natural, sinful union was that of Abraham and the young slave girl, Hagar, with whom Abraham begat a son, Ishmael.  There was nothing supernatural about that birth.


The supernatural union was between Abraham and his aged wife, Sarah, who was barren,  far beyond the age of being able to become pregnant and bear a child. Through this union because of God’s promise came Isaac.  Isaac begat Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.  He became the father of the nation of Israel.  One of Jacob’s twelve sons was Judah, through whom the Lord Jesus, the promised Saviour of the world, was born.


So we see in this allegory two ways to attain salvation and Heaven.  One way does not work.  The other does.


The way that does not work is represented by Hagar and her son Ishmael,  Note the words associated with this way:  the flesh, Arabia, Sinai, bondage, earthly Jerusalem, and the vain attempts to be saved through our works.


In contrast, the true way to salvation is represented by Sarah and her promised son, Isaac, through whom came Jesus in the fullness of time. Note the words associated with this true way: freedom,  faith and the destination of those who are saved by faith,  the Heavenly Jerusalem which is from above.


Whereas, Ishmael was born a slave;  those of us who are born again by faith in the Promised Seed, Jesus, are born into a life of freedom.  We are born free to do right, to do the will of God from our hearts.


As Ishmael, the slave child, mocked and persecuted his young brother Isaac;  so the Christless religionist mocks and persecutes Christians.


But note also that the spiritual descendants of Ishmael will not share in the eternal Heavenly inheritance of Isaac, and his spiritual progeny, Christians.


In this allegory where are you?  Are you a slave to sin, and a  spiritual child of the bondwoman, struggling through your vain works to earn Heaven;  or are have you been born again through faith in the promised Seed of Abraham and Isaac, the Lord Jesus and been made a joint-heir with Christ, as taught in Romans 8?  Are you a citizen of the Heavenly Jerusalem described in the last two chapters of the Bible, Revelation 21 & 22?  Paul reminds us as Christians in Philippians 3:20-21 of our heavenly citizenship and the wonderful glory that awaits us.   


August 24, 2007 - Posted by | Freedom

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