The two covenants represent two different ways of relating to God—one like Cain (who relied on his own obedience) and one like Abel (who relied on God’s grace).
Play-Doh Party Pack Tube, wax paper, writing paper, pens
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- How did you figure out that Santa Claus is not real? Did someone tell you or did you figure it out on your own? Did this change your perception of your parents or others who perpetuated this myth?
- What do you think of the idea that God has a list and is checking it twice—gonna find out who’s naughty or nice? Do you ever find yourself trying to impress God with your good deeds?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Divide the class into five groups. Have each group take two mini-cans of Play-Doh from the Party Pack. On the wax paper provided, create two different objects that are polar opposites—as dissimilar as possible. When your facilitator calls time, have each group display its creations so the others can try to guess what they are. Briefly discuss the differences between your objects.
- Thought Questions
What do you believe is the biggest difference between the two children mentioned in Galatians 4:21-31
- One is born in slavery; the other is born in freedom.
- One represents Jerusalem on earth; one represents Jerusalem above.
- One is the result of an ordinary birth; the other is a miracle.
- One shares in the inheritance; the other is disowned.
- We are children of the promise—the miracle, not of slavery.
Who or what is the enmity identified in 3:15?
- It is Christ, who sealed Satan’s fate at the cross.
- It is the plan of salvation that makes it possible for us to escape Satan’s venom.
- It is the grace of Christ which trumps merit-based religious systems.
- It is we who work to free those who are enslaved by Satan’s counterfeit plan of salvation (see Romans 16:20).
- It is the decision we make to follow Christ instead of Satan.
The hardest thing for Abram to grasp in his encounter with God in 15:1-6 was:
- “I’m really going to have as many kids as there are stars in the sky?”
- “I’m really going to have kids at my age?”
- “If God wants to reward me, why don’t I already have children?”
- “You mean all I have to do is trust God? That’s it?”
- “I don’t have a good track record at trusting. How am I going to be able to do that?”
The Sinai covenant doesn’t sound so bad when you read 19:3-6. Why not?
- We like checklists of things to do to receive God’s reward; it makes us feel worthy when we achieve something.
- These words are directly from God; they are not the inventions of legalists.
- The promise is so great that the thought of keeping the covenant doesn’t seem so daunting.
- We understand that we don’t keep the covenant to be saved; this is how one lives who is already saved.
- Grace is not absent here—saving grace brought them out of Egypt before they ever heard of the covenant.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Look at all the Play-Doh creations. Is there a pair that can be combined into a third object that is a viable mixture of both—having the traits of both yet new and different? Let the group guess what your new sculpture is and explain its relationship to the two covenants.
- Option 2: Pretend you are the pastor, and you are preparing a sermon series on the two covenants. How many messages would you plan to do? What would the topics be? What texts would you use? Write your outline for this series and designate someone to share this idea with your pastor. (Don’t be offended if the pastor doesn’t jump right in to preach this series—just ask him or her if you’ve outlined a good treatment of the topic.)
- Option 3: Often we demonstrate God’s grace in our deeds and actions. What could you do in your community which would exhibit that grace? What steps would you take to perform this service? Who would you talk to? Where would you start?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- For the next three minutes, reflect on this thought: When people look at me, which covenant do they see? Do I treat people according to the covenant of slavery or the covenant of freedom?
- At the end of three minutes, those who choose to may share their thoughts. Conclude with prayer.