Children of Promise

Hello, my friends!

As we delve into the profound truths about covenants in today's blog, I can't help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. You see, our great God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping Deity. Throughout the Scriptures, we see Him establishing solemn agreements that reveal His unwavering commitment to an eternal plan of redemption for humanity. At the epicentre of it all stands the unshakable Promise Covenant made with our father Abraham – the very same covenant that birthed the New Covenant we now embrace through the blood of Christ Jesus.

In Galatians 3:5-9, Paul takes us right to the heart of this covenant reality. He asks the Galatians a pivotal question: “Does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” The obvious answer is faith! It has always been through faith that the blessings have flowed, not by human striving and religious boasting. As Paul clarifies, the true sons of Abraham are “those who are of faith” – not those vainly attempting to earn their righteousness through law-keeping.

You see, friends, the Promise Covenant established with Abraham pointed directly toward the coming of Jesus Christ as the Seed through whom all nations would be redeemed and blessed (Galatians 3:8,16). This was the foundation upon which the New Covenant of grace would ultimately be built. Both covenants exalt the truth that righteousness comes by faith alone, not by our feeble deeds (Galatians 3:6-7). The only difference is that we have the glorious privilege of receiving the promise's fulfilment through the crucified and risen Saviour! The New Covenant is between the Father and His Son Jesus. As we are in Christ, so we are the beneficiaries of that Covenant!

So why, then, was the Law of Moses given all those centuries later? Didn't it conflict with or nullify the Promise Covenant? Absolutely not, Paul insists (Galatians 3:15-17)! The Mosaic Covenant, with its laws and regulations, could never modify or annul the unconditional Promise authored by God Himself for all who believe. Once ratified, an unalterable divine covenant stands firm, unable to be tweaked or scrapped by the decisions of mere men.

In fact, the Law was never intended to be an alternative path to righteousness through our own efforts. Paul is clear: “For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has gratuitously given it to Abraham through a promise” (Galatians 3:18). The very notion that we could somehow earn our salvation through rule-keeping opposes the entire gospel! As he bluntly states, “For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law” (Galatians 3:21). But no such law exists – only the life-giving promise received through faith in Christ.

So, what was the Law's purpose then? Paul reveals that it was an interim measure, given “because of transgressions” to mark out Israel as God's distinct covenant people (Galatians 3:19). The Law, with all its commandments, served to guard and support the overarching Promise until the Messiah arrived (Galatians 3:23-25). Yet even in this role, the Law could only imprison and condemn; it lacked the power to impart true spiritual life and freedom.

This leads us to the crucial contrast between the two covenants: While the Mosaic system tended toward curse and bondage, the New Covenant through Christ ushers us into promised blessing and liberty! Under the Law's unforgiving terms, even the smallest infraction resulted in a curse. But through the cross, Jesus Himself was made a curse on our behalf so that we could receive Abraham's promised blessing of righteousness by faith (Galatians 3:10,13-14).

Christ's own gruesome death exposed Him to the Law's most severe condemnation. As Deuteronomy 21:23 decreed, “He who is hanged on a tree is accursed of God.” Yet our magnificent Lord willingly endured that curse-laden death to exhaust the Law's demands over us forever. When He cried “It is finished,” both the Law and its curse were satisfied in full (Colossians 2:14). Now liberated from its reign, we inherit the blessed abundance of a New Covenant not based on our flawed obedience but established by Christ's flawless obedience alone!

This stark contrast is powerfully illustrated through the story of Sarah and Hagar, the two wives of Abraham (Galatians 4:21-31). Hagar, the bondwoman, represented the old covenant of law originating from Mount Sinai. Her son Ishmael was birthed through human striving, being “born according to the flesh.” Sarah, the freewoman, embodied the New Covenant of grace and promise. Through her miraculous womb, Isaac was supernaturally birthed as a “child of promise.”

In essence, Paul asks the Galatians, “Who is your mother? Are you children of the slave woman or the free woman?” (Galatians 4:21-31). His resounding conclusion? We, like Isaac, are CHILDREN OF PROMISE, born of grace through faith in Christ! Any attempt to revert back under the bondage of law-based living is akin to returning to Hagar's enslaved status. As the apostle boldly declares, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son!” (Galatians 4:30). Separate yourselves from that which breeds spiritual slavery. Wear the glorious new garment of liberty, not clinging to the tattered rags of religious oppression.

Brothers and sisters, hear the passionate cry of grace resonating through Paul's words: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). We cannot afford to drift back into the futile cycle of trying to earn our righteousness through human effort and law-keeping. That approach can only lead to a cursed state of bondage, from which Christ so lovingly bled to deliver us!

My friends, we are called to “walk by the Spirit” and receive our righteousness as an outright gift through faith in the finished work of our precious Redeemer (Galatians 5:16,18). As we fix our gaze on Him, our status as children of the Promise and heirs of the New Covenant is gloriously cemented. Let this truth become the settled joy of your heart today – you are an irreversible son or daughter of the free woman, forever embraced in the promise-keeping love of your Heavenly Father!