Grace to the Barren (Part 2) – Gospel in Life

Grace to the Barren (Part 2)

Tim Keller |  March 15, 1998

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  • Creation
Galatians 4:21-31
RS 288-20

Understanding Galatians 4:21–31

Galatians helps us understand the difference between living by rules (the law) and living by God’s love (grace). This is shown through the story of Abraham’s two sons. It’s important to understand the deeper meanings in this story and not just take it at face value. We must be careful when we interpret the Bible, making sure we’re not just following our own ideas but are truly understanding God’s words.

1. The story of two sons

Christianity has made big changes in how women and families are treated, especially compared to the harsh ways of the past. The story of Abraham’s sons, Ishmael and Isaac, shows us two different ways to create a family – one through human effort and the other through God’s help. This is a metaphor for two ways of relating to God.

2. Two ways to relate to God

The sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, represent two different ways of relating to God. When we try to do things on our own, like Abraham did, it often leads to problems. If we try to handle our feelings of shame and weakness alone, we can end up trapped by anger and the need to prove ourselves. But when we trust in Jesus and rely on His love, we find true freedom and don’t have to keep trying to prove our worth.

3. Applying this to our lives

Isaiah 54 tells a story of a woman who couldn’t have children but ended up with many, showing that when we rely on God, we can achieve more than we can on our own, no matter what our past is like. A real-life example of this is the Bethel Gospel Church in Harlem, which grew and prospered because a woman trusted in God’s promises, even though she was single and could have been shamed by others. This shows us that when we’re humble and trust in God’s goodness, we can see great results in our lives, no matter where we come from or what we’ve done before.



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