Gal 4:29-31 “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
It seems that some things never change. Ishmael, born to Abraham of the bondwoman Hagar, persecuted Isaac, who was born to Abraham of the freewoman, Sarah. The bondwoman is figurative of legalistic Jerusalem, and the freewoman is figurative of Jerusalem which is above (the service of gospel liberty). The children of the one are born into bondage as slaves, and the children of the other are born into liberty as citizens. Those that were under bondage in physical Jerusalem wanted the churches of Galatia to be under that same bondage.
In order to try and bring this to pass, they persecuted the Galatian brethren. The word translated as “persecute” means “to pursue” according to Strong’s. Persecution is not a “one and done” process. The Jews who had come from Jerusalem were an ever-present source of irritation, constantly threatening the Galatians with exclusion if they did not come around (Gal 4:17).
Most of us have, at one time or another, dealt with a bully. If a bully were content to only threaten, belittle, or annoy us one time and then go away it would not be a really big deal. We know this is not the case: bullies lie in wait for us and torment us at every opportunity. Even if we are not actually harmed physically, the constant torment and stress can still do us a lot of damage. We might even give in to something that we know in our heart is not right.
The flesh is a bully, a persecutor of the highest degree. Our flesh (following after the law) will always tell us that we are not good enough. It will always threaten us with being shut out from the fellowship of God. We will be badgered daily with our short-comings, and we will know that there is truth in it. We can never be good enough, we don’t deserve God’s fellowship, and we fall short of keeping the law to perfection every day. But what does the scripture say?
Stop trusting in the flesh. Get rid of the bondwoman and her son. Look up to Jerusalem which is above, and in so doing, cast your eyes (and your cares) on Jesus. We are not good enough, but Jesus is. We might not deserve God’s fellowship, but Jesus does. We might not be able to keep the law, but Jesus did. Through the finished work of Jesus Christ, we can cast out the bondwoman and her son; he will not be heir with us who are born of the freewoman.
May we rejoice every day in the truth of God through Jesus Christ that we are children of the freewoman!