This isn’t about two women fighting for the same thing. Both were wives of Abraham. In Genesis God had promised Abraham an heir. The impatience of Abraham is revealed when years have passed and no child. Abraham tried to claim Eliezer as his heir, but that was not God’s Promise. [Genesis 15 & 16]
Sarah finds a possible solution, in that she cannot have a child, but her young handmaid could, offers Abraham Hagar to make the Promise come true. However, the One who makes the Promise is responsible for the fulfillment. The story goes that Hagar has a son by Abraham named Ishmael. [Man’s solution to God’s promise]
When Sarah and Abraham finally have a child – Isaac 25 years after the Promise; there begin a war of sorts between Sarah and Hagar. At stake in the family is either Ishmael or Isaac will receive the Blessing, Birthright and Promise, but not both. The conflict mounts to a point where, Sarah tells Abraham to get rid of Hagar! [Hagar’s lineage becomes the Arab nations] God was good to Ishmael is that he became great in his own right. However, Isaac was the Son of Promise. God did not recognize Ishmael as a legitimate heir. [See Genesis 22]
The nations of Israel and Arabs have been continually fighting for Inheritance Rights.
I have said all this to lead up to what Paul describes in Galatians 4-6. Legitimate heirs of the Promise. Paul illustrates metaphorically that Hagar is Mount Sinai and Sarah is Mount Zion. Sinai is representative of the Law given to Moses. But Zion is representative of the freedom from the Law. Now the Law does have its place within our lives, it is our schoolmaster to teach us; a tutor of sorts that reveals to us the failings as sinners. Without the Law there is no transgression. We cannot keep the Law and is holds us under its power. But when salvation through Grace occurs, by receiving the “Son of Promise” Jesus was are set free. Another way of looking at this is Hagar is man’s answer as a result of “Man’s” decision; but Sarah is the “grace” decision of God.
Paul uses these illustrations to show that if a person is under the Law, then they are trying to gain inheritance through man’s works. But is a person is living in the liberty of God’s provision to the Promise – Grace, then there is no need to keep the Law. The Law has done its work. Through the Promise of Christ we have become heirs and joint-heirs with Christ – we are free. If we are free from the requirements of the Law, why then would we go back under the Law to gain sanctification?
In chapter 5 and 6 we are confronted with the Fruit of the Spirit versus the Works of the Flesh. There is warfare between the two. [Galatians 5:16-17] Each produces its own kind of results. The flesh is always at war with the Spirit and vise-a-verse.
As Believers we can either live in the Liberty of Christ, or allow ourselves to be re-shackled to performance oriented Christianity. If we have died with Christ at Calvary, we should also live in the Life of Jesus because of the resurrection.[Galatians 2:20] We do not live the Christian life by doing what we think God wants [our effort in trying to provide what God promised] but by living the life of Christ that has been received by faith in Jesus. We have “come of age” – lets us go on living in the power of being the Heir of Salvation!