10 Dec Isaac VS Ishmael: Child of Promise VS Child of Flesh
Isaac VS Ishmael:
Child of Promise VS Child of Flesh
One key message of the Bible is God does not desire His people to rely on themselves but trust Him faithfully, for He will surely deliver His promises and prove His love for us ultimately. Anything in our lives which is incompatible with this gospel will have to go. Although the process of giving up human pride, sins and desires is distressing, it is still wise to obey God, for obedience will be rewarded but disobedience comes with an agonizing price. Moreover, in our faith journey, God’s ever-present grace is with us. However, unbelief often darkens our eyes and prevents us from seeing God. Yet, even in times when we cannot see God’s help, continue to cry out to Him, for He will certainly hear and act.
Verses to read:
1. Our “Ishmaels” must go!
1) We tend to prefer Ishmael, but it is not the best.
2) Isaac Vs Ishmael.
- Ishmael: Human efforts, lack of faith [above the line]
- Isaac: God’s power and faithfulness
<Gal 4> 23 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.
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.
30 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.”
31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Rivalry between “Isaac” and “Ishmael”
- “Grace/faith vs works”
- “God’s works vs human efforts”
- “Spiritual” vs “flesh”
Isaac: Son of the free woman >>> What is true freedom?
(1) Ability to do what we like [below line]
(2) Final outcome of perfect joy [below line]
- Ishmael: Son of slave woman [above line]
- Bound by humanism, not freed from sin’s curse [below line]
“Get rid of the slave woman and her son”:
- Get rid of all human dependency and pride.
- Do not add anything to the gospel of “salvation by faith alone in Christ”.
Instead, have the “heart of a son:
- Assurance of forgiveness and justification.
- Interpret and go through all things by God’s promises.
- Spirit of loving God and men.
- Heart of obedience.
*** Not every church-goer is true child of God.
*** When God’s time comes, the true and counterfeit believers will be distinguished.
2. Obey God despite our distress.
- Obedience to God is always rewarded.
- Sin has agonizing price.
- Merciful God defers punishment.
- In painfully sending away Ishmael, Abraham gained greater blessing in Isaac.
- Our distress in giving up sins will lead to greater joy from God.
3. God (Grace) is always present, just that we cannot see.
1) Unbelief dims our eyes.
2) Once eyes are opened, will know what to do without being pushed.
3) Even if cannot see, keep calling out to Him >>>He hears and acts!