What’s it all about? Paul is pleading with the Galatian Christians to flee from the bondage that characterized their previous lives and to walk in the freedom of grace. To illustrate the difference between the bondage of the Mosaic Law and the freedom of grace, Paul uses the story of Sarah and Hagar.
So what? Metaphorically, those who rely upon God’s grace for salvation are the children of the free woman. Conversely, those who rely upon their own perceived merit or alleged ability to adhere to the Mosaic Law are, in this analogy, the children of the slave woman. Christians are free in Christ, therefore, we must resist the temptation to trust in our deeds or actions as a means of either earning grace.
Questions from the Text:
1. What covenants do Sarah and Hagar represent (4:24-26)?
2. Who are the children of grace (4:28-31)?
3. How has Christ set us free from the bondage of the Mosaic Law (5:1)?
4. How does legalism correspond to slavery (5:1)?
5. What does it mean to “stand firm” and “not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (5:1)?
Now what? First, we must stand firm in our faith and fully trust in God’s grace alone for salvation. Second, we must not yield to the temptation to believe that we can somehow earn our salvation.
Small Group Questions – Scripture: Jeremiah 31:31-37; Joel 2:28-32
1. What is the New Covenant?
2. What promises did God make in relation to the New Covenant?
3. Why was it necessary for God to provide a New Covenant?
4. What was wrong with the Old Covenant?
5. What signs would accompany the inauguration of the New Covenant?
6. What are the benefits of the New Covenant?
 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.  But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise.  Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.  Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; 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 who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”
 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.  But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.  But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
[5:1] For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 4:21-5:1 ESV)