We continued with the study of Galatians this week. Chapter 4 v 16-31. In this part Paul explains to the Galatians that he has genuine pastoral care for them. Paul describes himself using a maternal image: he labours for them over and over again to see Christ formed in them (verse 19). We discussed what this means for those with a pastoral role and also considered the practical and spiritual help we can all give to others.
Paul then goes on to illustrate the difference between those who are under the law and those who are under grace and the New Covenant by referring to the children of Sarah and Hagar. Hagar's son, Ishmael (born of the flesh), was the son of a bondwoman; Sarah's son, Isaac (born of the Spirit), was the son of a free woman. Paul says that Ishmael corresponds to those under the old covenant and Isaac to those under the New Covenant: children of the promised Messiah (verses 21-31). Being children we therefore inherit the promises of God found in Christ Jesus: 'And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory' (Romans 8: 17).