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Children of the Promise

Words of Faith Final

Children of the Promise
Words of Faith 4-18-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 21
        [9] But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, [10] and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac."

          For what purpose did God preserve the line of Ishmael? The Apostle Paul revealed one reason in his letter to the Galatians thousands of years later. God had a massive lesson in mind that the Apostle did not explain until nearly 2000 years after Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael.
          In his letter to the Galatians (4:21-31), Paul described the contrast between Isaac and Ishmael figuratively. Isaac was born of the free woman and Ishmael to the slave woman. Isaac was born of a promise, but Ishmael of the flesh, man's efforts. Isaac was a gift of grace, while Ishmael resulted from human action and disobedience. Paul takes these to represent two covenants, Law and Grace.
          Ishmael represents the Covenant of Sinai in Arabia. This was a covenant of Law, not freedom. This was a covenant of works rather than grace. This was a covenant of the flesh. This is the covenant of the Old Jerusalem.
         Isaac represents the Covenant of Promise. This is the New Covenant in Christ. This is the covenant of freedom by which the Lord writes His will upon our hearts. This covenant can only be received by faith, not works. This is the covenant of the New Jerusalem that is in heaven and yet to come upon the earth.
          Paul points out that we cannot be under both covenants. "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share the inheritance with the free woman's son."  Through Christ, we are adopted into the New Covenant of the Promise. We are set free from an inheritance of bondage.
          Paul declares, furthermore, that in Christ, "We are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman" (Galatians 4:31). Yet just as Ishmael and Isaac were in conflict, the flesh and the Spirit do not harmonize. The flesh struggles against the Spirit, often mocking it (Gal. 5:16-18). This is why we are called as believers to "get rid of the slave woman and her son" (Gal. 4:30), that is, to remove the threat of the flesh and "live by the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16). We must not go back under the Law. We must not slip back into the religion of human effort.
          Please remember that all these images are symbolic. They do not represent an attitude we are to live out toward the literal descendants of Ishmael or even those who hold to the Old Covenant. But this helps us understand how the flesh wages war upon the Spirit. This allows us to understand the danger of going back under Law. We are to be people of the Promise.

         Thank You Jesus, for setting me free! Thank You for adopting me into the Covenant of the Promise. Thank You for the free offer of grace that You have provided. Set me free from the Law of sin and death. Set me free from the Law and human effort. Set me free in Your Spirit to serve You in joy. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, 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, 2022 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.