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Children of Promise

Children of Promise

Words of Faith 6-7-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 4

     [24] These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. [25] Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. [26] But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. [27] For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband." [28] Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.


        Just what is the difference between the Old and New covenants?  Having made the distinction between the birthright of freedom and that of slavery, Paul continued to draw the distinction in spiritual terms using the historical account of Isaac and Ishmael as an allegory of the two covenants.  

        Now hold on.  We need to be sure and understand that this is not a historical analysis... since the descendants of Ishmael actually became an entirely different religion that was not Judaism.  But Paul was talking in spiritual terms that describe the powerful spiritual difference between the way of Law and the way of Grace.

        In Paul's allegory, Hagar, the slave woman, stands for the old covenant enacted at Sinai.  Her son, Ishmael, stands for Judaism centered at earthly Jerusalem. This is one form of religion.  

       Contrast this with Sarah the free woman who stands for the New Covenant that was enacted on Calvary through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Her son, Isaac, stands for all who have become part of the church of the heavenly Jerusalem through faith in Christ's sacrifice.

       Paul wants to be clear that it is only on the most superficial level that Isaac and Ishmael were alike, in that both were sons of Abraham. But on a more fundamental level, they were entirely different.  Paul argues that it is not enough merely to claim Abraham as one's father.  Both Christians and Jews did that.

        The question is: Who is our mother and in what way were we born? If Hagar, the Law, is our mother, then we were born of purely human means and are still slaves. If our mother is Sarah, the way of Promise, then the birth was by promise, and we are free men.

        Paul then quoted Isaiah 54:1, which was a prophecy of Jerusalem's restoration following the years of Babylonian captivity.  This verse shares the thought that the blessing of the latter years will be greater than that enjoyed formerly.  The description of Jerusalem before and after the exile corresponds to Paul's distinction between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem.  The promise of blessing to Israel under the old covenant is contrasted with the greater benefits to the church under the new covenant.

         Paul's big point here is that all Christians are like Isaac, who had a supernatural birth, rather than like Ishmael, their experiences will be consistently similar to that of the younger son.  As believers, we are children of promise.

         At ground zero, for us, this is the most fundamental question of all: Are we born again or born from above by the Spirit of God?  Am I a child of God because of the supernatural birth of the Spirit?  Am I enjoying the blessings of New Life because of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, or am I stuck in religion that is essentially Law?  Am I a child of Promise? This is not a small question.  This is huge.


         Father God, clarify in my own heart my relationship with You.  If I have been following the way of Hagar and only the birth of Ishmael, show me.  Give me the New birth that is the supernatural life-- like that of Isaac.  Make me all new by the new birth of Your Spirit. Make me a child of Promise.  In Jesus' Name.


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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