“And you, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise, just like Isaac. But you are now being persecuted by those who want you to keep the law, just as Ishmael, the child born by human effort, persecuted Isaac, the child born by the power of the Spirit. But what do the Scriptures say about that? “Get rid of the slave and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” So, dear brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman; we are children of the free woman.” Galatians 4:28-31 NLT
Paul uses the comparison of Ishmael and Issac to draw the parallel of the law of Moses and Christ. Ishmael was a child of Abraham's own doing. Issac was a child of God's power and promise. The law could only make us slaves to its power over us. We could only strive to fulfill the laws demands but we could not meet its expectations. It was a never ending pursuit. Jesus set us free from the power of sin. Through Him we are accepted. By His perfect life and substitutionary death we are made complete. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the laws demands. In Him and Him alone is there the promise of everlasting life. Everything else we do is a fleshly attempt to achieve what we are incapable of fulfilling.
In Genesis 21, Abraham had to cast out the bond woman, Hagar, and her son Ishmael. Just as Ishmael persecuted Issac, so did the Judaizers (those who taught that believers had to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses to be saved) persecute the gospel of grace in Galatia. Just as Ishmael and Issac could not dwell together, neither can law and grace. Just as Ishmael brought to light the fleshly attempt of Abraham and Sarah to fulfill God's promise, Issac brought to light the ability of God to fulfill His promise in spite of Abraham and Sarah's inability to have a son. The law of Moses showed us God's Holiness and our inability to achieve It. Through Jesus we can be emancipated from the power and penalty of sin and its slavery. He can cast out the sin and bring forth our promise of sonship. We are children of God's promise, the Messiah (Jesus Christ). We are incapable of achieving God's righteousness but, Hallelujah, through Jesus Christ, we can receive it.
Prayer for today: Father, in Jesus name, I am your child through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have achieved. I have received.
Rev. Curtis Norris