"For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the bondwoman and one by the free woman. But the son by the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and the son by the free woman through the promise. This is allegorically speaking, for these women are two covenants: one proceeding from Mount Sinai bearing children who are to be slaves; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother... And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. But what does the Scripture say? ... So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman." (Galatians 4:22-31)I was amazed the first time I read this scripture. In a few short scriptures, Paul makes the leap from two sons, to two mothers, to two mountains, to two covenants, to two destinies. As a western man, my mind is trained in logic, historical realities, and sequential reasoning. I read the scriptures and receive what they say in their literal and historical context. However, not all the world thinks the same way that western men and women do. The Oriental mind, especially in Paul's day, thought differently and was much more given to speculation and allegorical reasoning and understanding. This is perhaps the greatest example of allegorical reasoning we have in the scriptures.
Paul is saying that our present lives and our destiny are determined by our births, Some are born into bondage; to live a life of bondage to sin and a fruitless attempt to obey the Law as the remedy to that sin. However, others are born free; free from the power of sin and free from any Law necessary to make them free. The difference in these two groups of people are a great as the differences between Issac and Ishmael. One born into freedom and the inheritor of all his father possessed. The other born into servitude and left to himself to make his own way and fortune. These differences are also as great as the difference between the covenant to the Israelites and the New Covenant Jesus came to bring, One serving in bondage to Law; a Law that is holy but never able to make one holy themselves. The other born into freedom that flows from the grace of God in their lives.
So great are the differences between those born into bondage and those born into freedom that we must choose which life we will live. The one born into bondage cannot choose to live in freedom except they first be born again according to the will of God and those born in freedom cannot live a life of slavery without falling from their elevated place of freedom and grace. So what does the scripture say to do? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son. For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman." (Galatians 4:30) To become free we must make a radical departure from our old life and the things that held us in bondage. To remain free we must hold tight to the things that brought us our freedom. It is incumbent upon us to examine our lives; to identify the remaining vestiges of bondage and to free ourselves from them by the power and grace of God. As long as we live like slaves, we will never know freedom or properly understand and inherit the live of freedom that Jesus came to bring us. Therefore let us be done with all bondage and the things of the old covenant and learn to become children of promise; children of freedom.