Children of Freedom

Children of Freedom

Words of Faith 6-10-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 4

     [29] At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. [30] But what does the 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." [31] Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

 

        Okay.  So Paul wants us to understand that there is a stark difference between those who follow the old covenant of the Law and those who have received the new covenant of Grace.  Even more, he wants us to understand that this is a clash that will lead to persecution! 

        Paul followed the allegory of Isaac and Ishmael a little further.  The son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit.  Paul was referring to the time in Genesis 21 when Ishmael "laughed at" or "mocked" Isaac. The result was that Sarah asked that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away.  Paul saw this as parallel to the persecution that went on in the early church and even until today. True Christians will be persecuted and often by their "half-brothers."

         This should be no surprise.  Jesus predicted persecution.  "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).

      The Apostle wrote to the Philippians: It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him but also to suffer for him (1:29).  Paul considered it a privilege to suffer for Jesus should that situation arise.

      When Paul sent Timothy to the Thessalonians to strengthen and encourage them, he wrote: When we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know (1 Thess. 3:3-4).  In fact, Paul revealed to Timothy that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12 ).  He saw this as a privilege we would not escape.

       Peter wrote that persecution was reason for rejoicing-- Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange was happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12-13).

         The remarkable thing we see here is that persecution will not always be by the world.  Throughout history, persecution was often by "half-brothers"--the unbelieving but religious people in the nominal church. This is the lesson of history.  

         It was not pagan authorities or Judaism that burned believers at the stake for translating the Bible into English or preaching the Gospel.  It was most often the hierarchy of the unbelieving church.  Though we don't see that level of "church persecution" today, the greatest enemies of the believing church are still often found among the members of the unbelieving church.  The most significant opposition to the faith seems to emanate from pulpits and church hierarchies.

         The most crucial point here is to realize that when God considers our righteousness, He does not look at physical descent but on spiritual affinity. We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. The true sons of Abraham are those who are born of the Spirit and made righteous by faith.

 

          Father God, I give thanks for the birth of the Spirit that makes me a child of Abraham, but most importantly, a child of God.  Thank You for saving me by Your grace.  Give me the sustaining grace to deal with persecution-- even when it comes from within "the church."  I love You and surrender to You.  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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