I would venture to guess that all would say Sarah and Isaac, yet many choose to live like Hagar and Ishmael. Sarah and Isaac were representative of the new covenant and living by the spirit, while Hagar and Ishmael represented the old covenant of the law and works of the flesh. Let me show you from scripture what I mean.
Galatians 4:21 says, “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?” Before I continue with the rest of the scriptures I just have to interject and say that I love the sarcasm of Paul with this verse. I’ve wanted to say this to many people — why are you fighting to be under the law, don’t you understand what it was like?
Verses 22-26 go on to say, “For it is written that Abraham had two sons; the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar — for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children — but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.”
There are a lot of deep truths packed into those few verses. The first thing we need to take from this is that the two women represented the two covenants: Hagar the old covenant of the law that brought forth bondage and Sarah the new covenant of grace that brings freedom through the Spirit. Whenever you see Mount Sinai mentioned, you need to remember what happened there, and that was the giving of the Ten Commandments, which is when the law actually started. The Jerusalem above is referring to the heavenly Jerusalem, which is free and pure, and represents all those who are trusting in the new covenant of grace which came through Jesus.
Now the law produces self-effort, which is what Abraham did when he took it upon himself to make things happen in his own strength, resulting in the birth of Ishmael. But Isaac wasn’t born out of self-effort but rather out of a promise of the spirit, which represents the fruit of the new covenant. We who trust in Jesus as our savior and quit our self-effort of trying to be right with God through our own works are children of promise like Isaac (verse 28).
This next verse is one of my favorites because I have definitely seen the truth of it come to pass in my own life. Galatians 4:29 states: “But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.” This verse is saying that those who are still living under the old covenant law will persecute those who are living under the new covenant of grace. That is a scriptural promise. We can even look back to the life of Jesus to see that, as the Pharisees of the law were persecuting Him for the new covenant of grace that He was ushering in. So be leery of those who do not receive the new covenant of grace and try to put down those who do live under it. The old covenant people will always try to diminish what Jesus did and put the emphasis back on performance and self-effort.
That is not what God wants, and we can see this by verse 30 which says, “Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.’”
Cast out the bondwoman and her son. Who do they represent again? The law and the self-effort that is the fruit of the law. God says to cast it out. Cast out that old performance based way of approaching God. Cast it out, because that approach will not make you an heir of the Kingdom of God. Only the children of the freewoman (new covenant) are heirs of the Kingdom — the ones who put their trust in Jesus as their Savior. I pray for you all to cast out the bondwoman and become a true child of the free woman and an heir of the Kingdom of God!
Amber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her AmberRiceMiller Facebook page.
Published: May 10, 2016