Brian Reagan

Brian Reagan is minister of North Oak Church of Christ in Mineral Wells.

What does it mean to talk about the free woman? In Galatians 4:21-31,Paul, the apostle, explains a great theological truth about Jesus, the Old Law of Moses, and our lives in Christ – and even by extension the Islamic faith.

The lesson is based upon symbols – symbols that were also literal people, but from these symbols we can learn a great eternal truth.

First, Mount Sinai is not a place of freedom. Mount Sinai corresponds to bondage, to physical Jerusalem, to Hagar, to Ishmael – even though it was the mountain of Moses, the Ten Commandments, and the Law overall.

There is no freedom in Mount Sinai, whether you see it as the place of Moses and his Torah (Law), or if you see it as our passage describes it, of the bondage of the slave woman Hagar.

Second, the free woman corresponds to Heavenly Jerusalem, to Sarah, and to Isaac. Isaac was the son of the promise of God by faith, whereas Ishmael was the son of flesh and doubt. The son of the promise is seen being opposed by the son of flesh. This free son who came by the grace of God through faith is ultimately of Heaven, the true Jerusalem.

Third, the origin of the two ways come from one father, physically speaking. Ishmael and Isaac were both the sons of Abraham. Almost sixty percent of the world claims a faith connected to Abraham, some go to Ishmael, some go and stop at Isaac, and others flow through Isaac unto Christ. Yet, as the passage shows if you fail to come all the way to Christ, and the Heavenly Jerusalem, you are in bondage.

Paul, by the Spirit, teaches us the danger of thinking there is freedom with Moses and the Ten Commandments at Sinai. He even calls the Ten Commandments the ministry of death in 2 Corinthians 3:7. Granted, when the Law of Moses was given it was elevating and freeing on many levels. Nevertheless, Sinai will not give us freedom, neither will physical Jerusalem, these things only lead to bondage of the soul.

Also, recognize that you cannot go to Ishmael, Hagar, or the children of bondage in order to find freedom. I respect the devotion and commitment of those who are diligent in their five prayers, fasting, etc., yet they are not free because there is no sacrifice applied to their faith to free them from sin. This also extends to the Jews who have not had a valid sacrifice for their sins for 1940 years.

Christ Jesus, of the lineage of the free woman Sarah, through His mother Mary, is the perfect fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham. Jesus the eternal Word manifest in the flesh, is the eternal and only begotten Son of freedom from the Heavenly Jerusalem.

In a world of competing claims, and of controversy around one person, it is in our eternal interest to make sure we know where we stand in and with Christ. The choice is the bondage of Sinai, Jerusalem, and Hagar, or we can be of the free woman in Sarah, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and Christ the Son of promise.

Brian Reagan is pastor of North Oak Church of Christ.

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