Gal 4:24 Two Covenants? 04/20/2013
#1. Which Things Are an Allegory (Gal 4:24, Rev 22:19)
#2. Jerusalem Which Now Is (Gal 4:25, Rev 22:19, Gal 3:21)
#3. We Are the Children of the Promise (Rom 9:8, Gal 3:29, 4:28-31, Col 2:14)
Please open your Bibles to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 4:21 (2X). Today we want to take a first look at “The Covenant” as it is found in the Bible. That is why I had you turn to the passage beginning in Gal 4:21, for here we find that there are two covenants. And thus I chose for the title of this sermon, “Two Covenants” (2X). Indeed God speaks about two covenants in the Bible. We find it here in Gal 4 and in Heb 8 and 9, and in Jer 31, and the plural word “covenants” is mentioned in Eph 2 and Rom 9. And so, we want to find out what God means by these two covenants. There are many misconceptions about The Covenant of Grace. It is important that we understand the language God uses, or else we are in danger of worshipping another God. God sounds a warning in Hos 4:6,
Hos 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” These are fearful words from God. Let us begin here in Gal 4:21-31,
Š Do Ye Not Hear the Law? (Gal 4:21-31)
Ga 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Who is God speaking to? He is addressing the Galatian churches that lend an ear to the Judaizers who want them to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses. And God says to them, “Do you not hear what the Law says?” And what is the Law? Some time ago we have seen that the Law is a symbol for the whole Bible. Paraphrased God says to them: Are you listening to the Judaizers or are you listening to the Bible? If you are truly saved you will be listening to the Bible, and you will find that you are in the New Covenant, and thus you need not be circumcised. And then God speaks about the history of Abraham. But these are things found in Genesis. In other words, God emphasized that Genesis is part of the Law because the Law is the whole Bible, or at least it is the entire OT. And then God says that Abraham had two sons. We must not take this in the absolute sense, for we know that Abraham had six more sons with Keturah. But for the present discussion only his first two sons are in view. As you know He is speaking about Ishmael, the son of the bondwoman Hagar, and Isaac, the son of the legitimate wife Sarah. This story of Isaac and Ishmael is spread over several chapters in Genesis, so we will not turn there. Abraham was already 85 years old and had no children. Then Sarah his wife suggested that he go into her slave girl Hagar so that he will have children who can inherit his possessions. In this way Ishmael was born according to the flesh. But God made a promise to Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son, and God fulfilled that promise. And so Isaac was born according to promise. These are the two wives and the two sons that God was talking about. And then God surprises us in Gal 4:24,
#1. Which Things Are an Allegory (Gal 4:24, Rev 22:19)
This is an amazing thing. It was utterly sinful of Abraham to go into Hagar. But God made her give birth to Abraham’s first son, Ishmael. And God used this sin to accomplish His goal, which was an allegory for the two covenants. This is just one example to show that God uses the acts of sinful men to accomplish His goals, and this shows also how God’s providence operates. Here we see that God uses the sin of Abraham to give the Galatian churches 2000 years later, and to give us 4000 years later, an allegory perfectly illustrating the principles of the two covenants. Is it not amazing how God’s wisdom and His providence operate in history? Nothing goes to waste to the Devil. Even the sins of mankind are used to fit into God’s purposes. Here in Gal 4:24 God wants us to know about two covenants. What are these two covenants? Let me first tell you what they are NOT. Many people believe that these two covenants are the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. They say, the Old Covenant is the OT time and the New Covenant is the NT time. They say, the OT time is the Covenant of the Law, and the NT is the Covenant of Grace. Then they say, “We are not under the Law but under grace”, and therefore we can do away with the OT, for that is only a history of the Jews. And thus, by abandoning the OT they have violated God’s commandment of Rev 22:19, which says that we may not take out anything from the words of the Book of this prophecy, the Bible. This is a wicked sin, so great that God said, whosoever does that shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. That this is the wrong interpretation can be seen clearly here in Gal 4:24 Hagar and Sarah were contemporaries, which means that the two covenants were in force at the same time. For example, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”, and thus Noah was under the Covenant of Grace. David also found grace in the eyes of the Lord, for God said through the prophet Nathan, “The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die”. And so David was under the Covenant of Grace. And thus, when we think of the two covenants as two consecutive periods of time we are sadly mistaken, for they do not represent two periods of time. What do these covenants then represent? Well, that is what we are going to find here in Gal 3 and 4. Let us first look at Hagar.
Š Hagar (Gal 4:24-25, Rom 7:12,16,22, 6:12-14, Gal 3:10)
The Greek spelling of the name Hagar is without the “H”, for in the Greek alphabet the H is missing. God says here in Gal 4:24 that Hagar represents, “the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Hagar”. What is so special about Mount Sinai? Well, that is where the Law was given to the children of Israel by the hand of Moses. Can we then call the Old Covenant the Covenant of the Law? We can, provided we understand what is meant thereby. God says here in Gal 4:24 that this covenant gendereth to bondage, which means it produces bondage, which means it produces people in bondage to Satan and as a consequence they will be condemned to Hell. And thus this covenant is not an alternate route to salvation, but those who are under this covenant are still under bondage to Satan and are on the way to Hell. Put a sticker here in Gal 4 and please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 7:12 (2X). God has here a few more things to say about the Law. Did God deceive people in believing that they should obey the Law and as a result they would be condemned to Hell? Absolutely not, God is not a deceiver, “for God cannot be tempted with evil neither tempteth he any man”. Moreover, we cannot say that the Law is evil, for we read in Rom 7:12 that the Law is good. We read in Rom 7:12 (2X), “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good”. And God says in Rom 7:16 (2X), “I consent unto the law that it is good”. And God says in Rom 7:22 (2X), “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man”. The Apostle Paul says this of himself. And this was not a condition before his salvation, but it refers to him after his salvation. “He delights in the law of God after the inward man”. In other words, we may not interpret the words of Gal 4:24 in such a way that obedience to the Law of God leads people to Hell. That is simply not true. That is a misinterpretation of the Old Covenant. Please turn one page back to Romans 6, Rom 6:12 (2X). Here in Rom 6 God addresses the question whether we may sin, that grace may abound. And the answer is “Of course not”. But why not? We find1 in Rom 6:12-14,
Rom 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” And note these words: “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14.)
Now the words of Rom 6:14 are seen in their context. Paraphrased the context says, “If we are saved we will not want to sin, for sin is a transgression of the Law of God. But if we are saved we will want to do those things that are pleasing in the sight of God, as if we are spiritually alive from the dead”. And now paraphrased the words of verse 14, “For, if we are saved, the power of sin shall not have dominion over us, for if we are saved we are under grace and not under the law, because the enslavement to sin has been broken. But if we are not saved we are still under the Law”. This is the interpretation of the Covenant of the Law in Gal 4:24. Please return to the epistle to the Galatians, Gal 4:24 (2X). We must harmonize our findings from Rom 7 and Rom 6 with the concept of the Covenant of the Law, which is the covenant “from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage”. Why is it that this covenant gendereth to bondage? It is because people who are still unsaved have never been out of the reach of the Law. They are born as servants of the Law, and at the same time servants of Satan for they continually sin, meaning they continually transgress the Law, and the Law commands that their penalty must be an eternity in Hell. People who are still unsaved also have an inherent desire to obey the Law for the purpose of neutralizing their bad behavior. And so, they seek to do something for their salvation. God demands that they must do everything for the purpose of pleasing Christ, but the unsaved will not submit to the Spirit of Christ as their Master. Therefore they seek to do something for their own salvation. This is why the works gospels are an insult to God and to Christ. We read in Gal 3:10 (2X), please turn there a moment,
Ga 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Therefore those who are under the Covenant that is represented by Hagar are all those who are still unsaved and are under the curse of the Law. They sin in everything; even in their seeking for God by the works of the Law they sin, because it is not done for Christ. Therefore they all are called children of Hagar. And then we read in Gal 4:25 a surprising statement:
#2. Jerusalem Which Now Is (Gal 4:25, Rev 22:19, Gal 3:21)
Gal 4:25 For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
The word “answereth” in this verse has the meaning:” to march in the same row”. Let us have this truth sink into our memory. God is speaking about “Jerusalem which now is”. Historically that was the city Jerusalem before it was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. But it was also the seat of all the Jewry worldwide. That city of Jerusalem represented all the people in the nation of the Jews, for there was their temple, and there was the place where they went three times each year to worship their god. After Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70 that situation changed somewhat, and eventually Jerusalem became a place where Moslems, and Christians, and Jews intermingled. But after AD 1948, when the nation of Israel rose again from the ashes of their destruction, the city of Jerusalem again represents the seat of the Jews worldwide. This city of bricks and mortar is again the center of their religion. And now the words of Gal 4:25 ring loud and clear: “Jerusalem which now is, is in bondage with her children”. “Jerusalem which now is”, is representing all those who follow the religion of Judaism. They and their children are still in bondage to sin and Satan. God does not have two salvation plans, one for the Christians and one for the Jews. If God says here that the Jews are still in bondage, it means that they are in that condition because they worship another God than the God of the Bible. They think that they are worshipping the God of the Bible, but God made further revelation in the NT, which they ignore, and thus they are not worshipping the same God as we worship. They believe that they are children of Sarah, but God declared here in Gal 4:25 that “Jerusalem which now is” is marching in the same row as Hagar, the Covenant of the Law. God declares here that they are children of Hagar. They are worshipping an idol that is not the God of the Bible, for God said in Rev 22:19 that all those who take away from the words of the prophecy of this Book shall inherit damnation. But if that is the case, then God is not going to make this nation of idolaters His servants for a glorious 1000 years. The entire Premillennial theory falls apart in the face of Gal 4:25. The truth of Gal 4:25 must prevail, not only now, but also tomorrow, and next year and all the way to the end of time, for God cannot be called a liar in even one verse. Next year and to the end of time this truth prevails: Jerusalem that now is, is in bondage with her children. But let us not focus on just the Jews. Gal 4 states that there are only two covenants. The entire world population falls under the one or the other covenant, either the covenant of the law, or the Covenant of Grace. It means that all those who are still unsaved are presently under the covenant of the law. They are in bondage to the law of God. Some of them desire to be under the law like some of the Galatians demonstrated to be by having themselves circumcised, which means they seek to be just in the eyes of God by the works of the law. Gal 3:21 states, please turn there a moment, Gal 3:21 (2X),
Ga 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
You see, if there was one law that we must have obeyed to be called just in the sight of God, then God would have made that Law the way to salvation, instead of by grace through faith in Christ crucified. And many people who read the Bible superficially miss this, for they have heard from their pastor: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”. They believe that if they obey this command then they shall be saved because they have been obedient to this command. But Gal 3:21 denies them that privilege. Gal 3:21 says that most likely they are still unsaved because they sought to be justified by obeying the Law. But there is more. Please turn again to Gal 4:25, where we read: Gal 4:25, “For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia.”
Is Mount Sinai in Arabia? I thought Mount Sinai is on the Sinai Peninsula. No! God says here that Mount Sinai is not on the Sinai Peninsula. The mountain where Moses saw the burning bush, and where Moses received the Law from God, is in Arabia. This is logical, for Moses married the daughter of a priest of Midian. And where did the Midianites live? They lived in Arabia. Do not believe the maps in the back of your Bibles which were produced by ignorant editors. They are not inspired by God. But this verse Gal 4:25 was inspired by God, and this is what we should believe. Here in Gal 4:25-26 God contrasts “the Jerusalem which now is” with “the Jerusalem which is above”, represented by Hagar and Sarah. This contrast is the main theme of this passage. Let us now return to Gal 4:26,
Š Jerusalem that Is Above (Gal 4:26, Isa 65:17-19, Matt 27:52-53, Heb 12:22-24, Rev 21:1-3)
Ga 4:26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Now God turns our attention to Sarah, who represents the Covenant of Grace. And God equates her with “Jerusalem which is above”. What is this “Jerusalem which is above”? Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 65:17 (2X). God describes two kingdoms in the Bible that are frequently portrayed as two cities, the city of Satan and the city of God. The city of Satan is shown on earth, for example, as the city of Sodom, or the city Babylon. The city of God is frequently called “The New Jerusalem”, & is represented by a symbolic city in heaven. For example, we read in Isa 65:17-19
Isa 65:17, For behold I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. 19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.
This is a prophecy that God gave to Isaiah to show what He is going to do on the Last Day, when He will take all His saints in their glorified bodies into the New Heaven and the New Earth. And God calls the body of believers “New Jerusalem”. Presently New Jerusalem already exists in heaven. For example, when Christ was raised from the tomb we read in Matt 27:52-53, “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many”. At this point in time many of the saints rose from their graves with new glorified bodies, like that of Moses and Elijah who were already in heaven. What holy city did they go into? It was not the city of Jerusalem of bricks and mortar, for after the death of Christ the temple was no longer the temple of God, and the city of Jerusalem was no longer the city of God. This holy city that the saints went into was the New Jerusalem which is in heaven. It is the city that we are citizens of, already now. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 12:22 (2X). In this passage of Heb 12:22-24 God speaks about this wonderful city that we are already citizens of, and God speaks about us as the firstborn, which are written in heaven. In other words, we are named “firstborn” after Christ, who is called the Firstborn from the dead. And since we are called the “firstborn” we also will receive a double inheritance. Can you see that mercy and grace are the double inheritance that we received? Mercy means that we do not have to pay for our sins, because Christ already paid for those sins; this takes our debt from minus infinity to ground zero; that is already a great blessing, for we have escaped hell. But then God gives us the blessing of being His children; this takes us from ground zero to plus infinity, and that is grace. It is the blessing of eternal life with Christ in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Read Heb 12:22-24,
Heb 12:22, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Here is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, which is also called Mount Sion. We want to keep this in mind, for in God’s eyes this Mount Sion is greater and more important than any other Mount Zion that we find in the Bible. Already now we belong to this great Mount Sion, and we belong to this heavenly Jerusalem, and we belong to the church of the firstborn which are written in heaven. We rejoice that our names are written in heaven, and they were written before God created the first speck of dust. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 21:1 (2X). Is it not glorious that God has given us this great honor, already now, to be citizens of this great city of God? But on the Last Day God will translate this glorious city out of the present heaven and into the New Heaven and the New Earth, which is even more glorious than the present heaven. We cannot imagine a more glorious universe than the present heaven, but that is what the New Heaven and the New Earth is. We read here in Rev 21:1-3,
Rev 21:1-3 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
This is the future abode of the saints. This is the universe where God shall give us all things that He has, and God shall even give Himself, and He calls it “our exceeding great reward”. We should not understand it as if it were a reward for something we have done, but it is a free gift. All this glorious news is implied when we read in Gal 4:26 about “Jerusalem which is above”. And she is:
Š The Mother of Us All (Gal 4:26, John 8:36, Gal 3:13, 4:5, Gen 17:16)
Please turn again to the epistle to the Galatians, Gal 4:26 (2X). Like Hagar leads us to Mount Sinai in Arabia, so Sarah leads us to Mount Sion in heaven. Like Hagar represents the Covenant of the Law, so Sarah represents the Covenant of Grace. Like Hagar represents bondage to the Law and to sin and Satan, so Sarah represents freedom from bondage to the Law and to sin and Satan. God says in Gal 4:26, “Jerusalem which is above is free”. It is a basic principle of the Gospel that at the time of our salvation we are set free. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. What did the Lord Jesus mean thereby? The example that I always like to bring up is contained in the Greek word “Exagorazo”, which has always been translated “to redeem”, or “redeemed”. The Greek word “Exagorazo” is a compound word derived in three steps. First the “Agora” means the marketplace. Secondly, “Agorazo” means to buy from the marketplace, or simply to buy. Thirdly, “Exagorazo” means to buy a slave out of the marketplace and set him free. That is what Christ has done when He redeemed us by His atoning death on the cross. For example this word is shown in Gal 3:13, as well as in Gal 4:5. Christ bought us, body and soul, and set us free; free from the law, for we can no longer accumulate the guilt of any sin, for all our sins have already been paid. And in our gratitude we want to serve Him forever as His servant, but Christ lifted us up from the dunghill to make us become His Bride. What a glorious grace, and what a glorious gift. Right now we cannot even imagine all the consequences of his immense gift of grace. That is what it means when we are set free. We are not only set free from our bondage to the Law and to sin, we are not only set free from the consequences of our sins, but we are set free so that we can serve our Lord Jesus Christ with a heart that is truly grateful for Him buying us out of the kingdom of Satan and setting us free. And then we read in Gal 4:26, “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all”. This verse concludes that Sarah, who represents the Covenant that leads us into the Kingdom of God, is the Mother of us all. Who is she the mother of? Who all is represented by “us all”? Certainly not the entire population of the world is represented by “us all”, for not everyone is saved, and not everyone is a citizen of the Jerusalem that is above. But the saints are. And thus we see here that like as Abraham is called the father of all believers, so in like manner Sarah is called the mother of all believers. And thus, when we read in Gen 17:16, “she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her”, it is meant that like Abraham she will be the mother of many Jews and Gentiles who will become believers. Let us now move on to the next verse, Gal 4:27,
Š Rejoice Thou Barren (Gal 4:27, Isa 54:1, Rom 3:11, Matt 7:13-14)
Ga 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Who is the one that was barren? Sarah was barren until she was 90 years old, and then she bore Isaac. And who is the desolate one? That must then be Hagar. This word ‘the desolate” means a desert, or a wilderness. Or if it is a person, it is someone who is abandoned by others, or deprived of the protection of others. This is Hagar. But Gal 4:27 is literally quoted from Isa 54:1. The entire chapter 54 from Isaiah is devoted to lift up Sarah, who will be the mother of all believers. For now, let us remain with just this one verse, for this verse already gives birth to many questions. The verse begins with “For”, meaning that Sarah, who will be the mother of many nations, has reason to rejoice. What is she rejoicing about? She rejoices that Hagar shall have many more children than she has. At first blush, this seems to be a strange reason to rejoice. But when we take all the other Gospel information together, we realize that this is not such a strange reason to rejoice. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matt 7:13 (2X). The Lord Jesus tells us here that the number of people who will be saved is very small compared to the number of people who will remain unsaved and are on the way to Hell. God, in His wisdom decided that it must be so, and we do not want to argue with God. That is why the saints are called “a remnant, saved by grace”. The number of saints must necessarily be much smaller than the unsaved. We read here in Matt 7:13-14,
Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
In fact, if God had not interfered in the affairs of man there would be no one on the narrow way, for God says in Rom 3:11, There is NONE that seeketh after God. Initially there is NONE that seeketh after God. Only by God’s grace will there be some who do seek after God, but only because God’s irresistible grace makes them seek for Him. What we then see here in Matt 7:13-14 is that Sarah, who is the mother of all believers, has far fewer children than Hagar. In fact, if she would have many more children than Hagar then the roles must be reversed, for it is only a remnant that will be saved. And so, let us rejoice with Sarah that the desolate, which is Hagar, has many more children than she, Sarah, which has a husband. Let us then rejoice with Isaac that we are the children of the promise.
#3. We Are the Children of the Promise (Rom 9:8, Gal 3:29, 4:28-31, Col 2:14)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:8 (2X). Who are the children of the promise? Whose children are in view here? Are these children of Abraham? Yes, these are children of Abraham. In Rom 4 God called Abraham the father of all believers, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. This is God’s definition of who are the children of Abraham. We read here in Rom 9:8,
Ro 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Who are the children of the promise? Not the physical descendants of Abraham are counted as the seed of Abraham, but only those who are in Christ. For in the first place Christ is called the Seed of Abraham, and in the second place all those who are in Christ are also called Abraham’s seed. Here in Rom 9 God gives 6 examples of those who are, and who are not counted as children of the promise. Only those who are counted as the children of God are counted as Abraham’s seed, and children of the promise. And it is very clear from these examples that only those whom God elected unto salvation from before the foundation of the world are indeed counted as the children of Abraham.
Please return to the Epistle to the Galatians, Gal 3:29 (2X). Here in Gal 3:29 God says,
Ga 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
And thus if we are saved, we are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. What promise is this? These included all the promises to Abraham, which were all the promises relating to Messiah, or Christ, as the descendant of Abraham and the promise that God would raise up a great multitude as children of Abraham. But of the children of Abraham according to the flesh only a remnant shall be saved, just like only a remnant of the Gentiles shall be saved. Please turn one page to your right, to Gal 4:28 (2X). We then who are saved can see the works of God in our lives, and we can see the faith that God has given us, and we can rejoice that we are children of Sarah. God says in Gal 4:28-31
Ga 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Ga 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
So again we can see, from verse 28, that all those who are in Christ are children of the promise. And this also means, from verse 31, that we are called children of Sarah and Abraham. But let us not forget verse 29, where God speaks about persecution, “even so it is now”. God says here that it is certain that the children of Hagar shall persecute those who are the children of Sarah. Can we see this persecution go on today? O yes! For example, in countries where the Moslem religion prevails Christians are being persecuted for their faith. If the Moslem religion continues to spread in this country we can expect the same. Moreover, in countries where the Jewish religion prevails Christians are also persecuted. If you try to hand out Christian tracts anywhere on the streets in Israel you are immediately picked up by the police and be put in Jail. But let us not forget our own government, and Canada, and many countries in Europe where the gay-movement has taken a foothold. When we openly declare the plain truth from the Bible in these countries, and we declare that God condemns homosexuality, it does not take long before we will be arrested and sentenced for spreading hate literature. Yes indeed, the Bible will be declared hate literature. But when that comes to pass, and we will have to spend time in jail as if we were great criminals, let us rejoice that our names are written in heaven. Let us rejoice in this, for it means that Christ is coming soon.
Let me summarize what I have just said. If we are saved we have been delivered from the law. Christ has set us free from the law. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross (Col 2:14). What a joyous deliverance already in this life. And His promise is that He will take us to Him in the rapture on the Last Day, and then He will translate us into the New Heaven and the New Earth forever. What a glorious future we will enjoy in the life hereafter. And to think of it, it is all a free gift.
AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.