Slave or Free?…
The choice is ours: be a slave to the flesh or accept the promise of freedom offered to us through Christ:
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise. –Galatians 4:22-23, NAB
The choice seems simple – doesn’t it? But how many people choose the ways of the flesh over the promise of Christ? The numbers are staggering.
The verse continues:
Now this is an allegory: these two 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… So, brethren, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. –Galatians 4:24-31, NAB
St. Paul draws a parallel between the story of Isaac and Ishmael with Christians and Jews of the time. Like Ishmael, we can live according to the flesh and be slaves to the Law. Or we can be free like Isaac and accept the New Covenant in Jesus Christ.
The choice seems simple. Why, then, do so many struggle with it? Because they cannot let go of the flesh – the ways of man. They would rather be a slave to sin than give up the things that they hold so dear.
For the Galatians, they were choosing the laws and rules of man over God. They were trying to find salvation through their own means. At its most basic level, this is the sin of pride. Their pride led them to believe that they could earn their way to Heaven by their own actions.
The flesh can keep us from being free in other ways, as well. Pride, envy, greed, lust, and the other deadly sins can fool us into making the wrong choice. We choose to follow what satisfies us here on Earth, instead of the path that will lead us to Heaven. We become slaves by our own shackles.
The good news is that we can be freed from our shackles. We can accept the way of Christ and the freedom offered through His death on the cross. If we let go of our earthly wants and desires, we will see the road to Heaven open up before us.
Our sins come at a price, making us a slave to the world, but Christ has paid the price for us. We need only to accept it.