The Children Of Promise

Monday, July 28, 2014, 6:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Praise Be Told.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Galatians 1-4 (NIV).

Correcting Error
Summary of Chapters 1:1-4:20

There was a certain group of people called “the circumcision group,” who may have been the Judaizers of that time, who were trying to convince Gentile Christians that they had to follow certain Jewish customs, and that they had to obey certain Old Testament Laws in order to be saved. They were especially pushing circumcision as a necessary requirement for salvation. So, Paul was writing to correct this error, and to bring the Christians back to the knowledge of the truth. “We are not justified by observing the law,” he said. “Righteousness cannot be gained through the law. If it could, Christ died for nothing,” he exclaimed. He asked the Christians, “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal (of salvation) by human effort?”

So, Paul sought to correct this error by teaching them the truth about Abraham and the promised seed. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are the children of Abraham, he told them. In fact, the gospel was announced in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So, those who have faith in Jesus Christ are blessed along with Abraham. “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse.” God “redeemed us in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” The blessing of Abraham is Christ and his gospel for all who would believe on Jesus Christ. All who are under the law are under a curse. Unbelieving Jews are under a curse. They are not the children of promise.

The promises of God were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. “The scripture does not say, ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ. The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God, and thus do away with the promise.” You see, the promise to Abraham was always the promise of Jesus Christ and the gospel of our salvation. The Jews of old were saved by faith in that promise, and we are saved by faith in the promise fulfilled. So, anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ as the promised seed of Abraham is not of God, is not a child of God, and is not heir of the promise of God. They are under a curse.

Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. ~ 1 Jn. 2:22

“The scripture declares the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” We are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. There is not Jew or Gentile – all are one in Christ. Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection, did away with the barrier of hostility between Jew and Gentile and he made one new human out of the two so that we are no longer divided by Jew and Gentile, but we are divided by saved and unsaved (See Eph. 2:14-18). We are either prisoners to sin and under a curse, or we are free in Christ through faith in Jesus. These are the two people groups on the earth, not Jew and Gentile. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”

God sent Jesus Christ to redeem those under the law. If we go back to the law, we are being enslaved all over again. The Judaizers, or their equivalent today, are zealous to win us over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate us from Christ and his gospel so that we might be zealous for them. And, that is why Paul was perplexed about the Christians.

Slave or Free?

Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.

These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. ~ Gal. 4:21-31

Paul used the illustration of Abraham’s two sons – one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman – in a figurative sense, in order to teach us the relationships now between God and the Israel of old, who rejected his Son, Jesus Christ, and between God and true Israel, true believers in and followers of Jesus Christ. Ishmael, the son born in the ordinary way, was of Hagar, the slave woman. Isaac, the son born as the result of a promise, was of Sarah, the free woman. The two women represent two covenants.

Physical Jerusalem, formerly the Holy City, is now associated with Hagar, the slave woman, for she is in slavery (to sin) with her children. She is no longer associated with Isaac, the son born as the result of promise, and the son of the free woman, unless she believes in Jesus Christ. She is, in essence, among the unsaved of the world, so no different from any other unsaved people group as far as the gospel is concerned presently, though a remnant will be saved in due time, I believe. In association with Hagar, she will no longer share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son. As well, in association with Hagar, now the son of the slave woman, physical Jerusalem is also characterized as being a persecutor of Christians, those born of the Spirit of God. The Jews were the ones to crucify Jesus Christ.

Believers in Jesus Christ, nonetheless, are associated with Sarah, the free woman. They are the Jerusalem that is from above. We, like Isaac, are children of promise. We are not the children of the slave woman, so we should not return to slavery to the requirements of the law or to living in sin, because Jesus Christ, by his death on the cross for our sins, put our sins to death so that we might be set free, not only from the penalty of sin – eternal damnation – and not only so we could go to heaven one day, but so we would be free from slavery to sin, changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and so we would be free to love and honor our Lord Jesus, and to walk in all of his ways. [See: Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1-5; Ro. 9:6b-8; Ro. 11; & Matt. 12:30.]

Praise Be Told! / An Original Work / December 28, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

He was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for all our sin.
Our chastisement was upon Him.
By His stripes, we now are healed.

He has witnessed all our trials,
And the sins we choose to wear.
Yet, while we were dead in our sin,
Jesus died, our sins to bear.

He himself bore all of our sins
In His body on a cross,
So that we might die to our sin,
And live for His righteousness.

By faith in the pow’r of Jesus
And His blood shed for our sins,
We can be forgiven our sin,
And have life with God in heav’n.

He will lead us and He’ll guide us
In the way that we should go.
He will comfort and protect us,
Because Jesus, we do know.

Though He disciplines for our good,
He will heal us – Praise be told!
Do not fear, your Lord is with you.
Just have faith in Christ your Lord.