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Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Week 9, Sonship Born of the Spirit Galatians 3:19-5:1

3:19-26 Galatians 3:19 - What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made;... The law was temporary, and it was deliberately chosen by the nation of Israel. The law was given only until the Seed, Jesus, would come. It was designed to govern them until Jesus came, and they accepted the New Covenant. The coming of Christ was a realization of the hope of the Abrahamic covenant that that they had been under before the law was given, and it terminated the covenant of law and its reign over them. [See Romans 4:13-24] The law has no place in God’s dealings with His people under grace. It is amazing that the body of Christ has embraced the law when Jesus has fulfilled it. Even in the early church, Paul and the other apostles who had been Jews declared that their bondage under the law had ended. Why would we as Gentiles ever embrace the law? It wasn’t even intended for the Gentiles to begin with! Yes, it is true that by the law is the knowledge of sin, and it is true that Paul said, “I would not have known sin except through the law” (Romans 7:7), but the law was a temporary covenant that Israel was under for about 1500 years and then it was no longer in effect. Today a child can be born without his parents ever putting him under the law of Moses. He can grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord as his parents teach him about the extravagant love of the Father for him and the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus who gave His life for us while we were still in our sin. Romans 16:19 - I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. God does not need evil to bring forth good. The covenants that God recognizes are the Abrahamic covenant and the New Covenant: John 1:16 - And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. The word “for” in this verse means that Jesus brought grace “instead of, in exchange for grace, in the place of” grace! The New Covenant came to heap grace upon grace! When the Seed came, His purpose was to close every door of access to God, but One. It was proven through the failure of the flesh of man that no one could get to God without God. Galatians 3:19, cont. - and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. The Message explains this phrase well: Galatians 3:19-20 - Obviously this law was not a firsthand encounter with God. It was arranged by angelic messengers through a middleman, Moses. But if there is a middleman as there was at Sinai, then the people are not dealing directly with God, are they? In the Old Covenant of law, Moses was a mediator for the people who came into agreement with the covenant. But when God gave His promise to Abraham, He didn’t use a mediator. God Himself mediated the covenant with Himself. Galatians 3:20 - Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

God Himself stood between sinful man and Himself. He went through the death of His Son to protect the sacredness of His righteous standards. He enacted the covenant within the infallibility of the Trinity to protect His holiness. And He did all of this for the offenders: each one of us. The very ones that deserved the judgment are the recipients of the blessing! OH HOW HE LOVE US! There is no greater love! Through the cross of Jesus, Psalm 85:10 - Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed. Jesus is the one and only meeting ground between God and man. It takes revelation to understand that Christ has done it all for us and continues to mediate the New Covenant on our behalf (1 Timothy 2:5). The mixture of law and grace is so appealing because it is easy to preach and easy to understand. “You are saved by faith, and the good news is that you now have your part to play! You will be so fulfilled as you keep your end of the bargain. And you’ll find you purpose in life!” Sounds like a great deal! But it’s man-centered and it will wear you out... Galatians 3:22 - But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. All of us were prisoners of sin. The only way to freedom is through Jesus Christ. There is no other escape from the bondage of the law and the curse than grace. Galatians 3:23-25 - But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our TUTOR to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25   But after faith has come, we are NO LONGER UNDER THE TUTOR. A tutor tells the student all the rules, rules, rules. But the Bible says that once faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Other translations say we are no longer under a “schoolmaster.” Who is the schoolmaster? The law, the 10 commandments! Before Jesus came, the people were under the schoolmaster of the law. But we are no longer under the law because righteousness by faith has come. If your kindergarten teacher came and told you write your ABC’s, you would tell her you have graduated from college and you are no longer under her supervision.

3:27-29 Galatians 3:27 - For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. As we learned in our study of Romans 6, we were co-crucified, co-buried, co-raised, co-ascended, coseated with Jesus in heaven, and you are co-equal heir with Him and an heir of God. You are not trying to get there one day. You are there. Romans 6:3-4 - Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Notice that these verses in Romans 6 and Galatians 3 are in past tense. It has already happened. Grace says we are complete in Christ. This newness of life is the new creation that was birthed in the resurrection. We are a new creation in Christ, nothing like the old. In fact, every aspect of the old creation is in our past. 111

Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

The old creation was buried in the grave of Christ, and we are no longer obligated to anything regarding it. The old creation was in bondage to the law which was nailed with Jesus to the cross. Colossians 2:9-16 - For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11   In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12   buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. When we were co-crucified, co-buried, and co-raised with Christ, the old creation with all it’s sinful passions was cut away and we were “circumcised.” Paul used this language because circumcision was a shadow of the substance which was to come: Christ. The Jewish child was circumcised on the eighth day, which was the first day of a new week following the passing of a completed week. “Eight” is the number of new beginnings and signifies our new life in Christ. The circumcision on the eighth day symbolized our deliverance from the old creation. In His death, Jesus bore the curse of the old creation which was doomed by the law. Believers under grace are not to celebrate any aspect of the old creation: Galatians 5:2-3 -   Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. Paul was referring to being circumcised as an exercise of religion: doing something to become righteous before God. This belief is Old Covenant and old creation. The Substance has come and we have been forever circumcised: sinful flesh has been severed from our identity in Him.

3:28-4:5 Galatians 3:28-29 - There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. We are all one in Christ. We are all children of Abraham. We are all co-heirs with Christ according to the promise that God gave Abraham. (Romans 4:13, 8:17) An heir inherits right now. Contrast this with the “heir-apparent,” for example, Prince Charles. One day he will be the heir, but not until his mother dies. Christ has died and risen again, making us heirs with Him right now! Paul uses the symbolism of being a child verses being a mature son in Galatians 4. Here are a few words that he uses: A full mature son is called “huios” in the Greek. A baby or an infant is “nepios.” The generic term for children is “teknon.” 112

Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Galatians 4:1 - Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child [nepios], does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all... A child, as long as he is a child - even if he is the richest little kid in the country and heir to the greatest estate or company - because of his age, he is no more privileged than the employees. It doesn’t matter how many cars the dad has, the baby can’t drive any of them. The dad might give the keys to the Rolls Royce to one of his employees to run an errand for him, but his son cannot. But when the father dies and he leaves his inheritance, does he leave it to an employee who is smart and hard working? No, he leaves it to his child. Even if the child is less educated or less experienced, he still gets the inheritance. Galatians 4:2 - ...but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. So as long as he’s an infant, even though he’s heir and master of all, the child can’t enjoy his position. He can’t run a board meeting, he can’t write a check, he can’t drive his father’s car, he can’t do things that adults can do because he’s a child. He’s under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by his father. This passage in Galatians 4 has been taught as if Paul was giving instruction about character development or different levels of growth in your Christian life. That’s not what this passage is teaching. It’s referring to the children of Israel when they were under law in the Old Testament and they were “nepios” (infants) until the time appointed by the Father when Jesus would come to bring them - and us - into sonship, “huios” (full, mature sons). It has nothing to do with character development. It’s talking about our inheritance in Christ. It’s talking about law and grace. Galatians 4:3 - Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. The word “elements” is the Greek word, “stoicheion,” which means the “ABC’s of God’s teaching.” In other words, the law is the “ABC’s.” When they came out of Egypt and to the foot of Mount Sinai, God taught them the 10 Commandments because they were babies. This is the “stoicheion”, the “elements of the world” - the elementary things. Jesus would come one day and bring grace so that they could graduate. John 1:17 - For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Grace is higher than law. The law is for babies, not for sons who are ready to inherit. Galatians 4:4-5 - But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5   to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. The word “adoption” doesn’t appear in the Greek. Many of us think of adoption as taking in someone else’s child as your own. That means the genetics is from another set of parents, not our genetics. But that is not what this passage is saying in the Greek. We are born of God! We are a new creation with His very DNA. We have God’s genetic make up. What is translated “adoption as sons” is one Greek word “huiothesia” from the word “huios” which means full grown, mature son. When Jesus came, He came to give us sonship. In other words, IMMEDIATE INHERITANCE. The moment you receive Jesus Christ, you are a “huois,” a full grown son. Your morals may need development, but the moment you are saved, you inherit. There is an increase in understanding of sonship and character transformation, but more than a son you cannot be.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

There is no better story to illustrate this truth of sonship than the Prodigal Son.

Prodigal Son When you think of the Prodigal Son story, you immediately think of the son, don’t you? But actually this story is not about the son. This story is about the Father. Maybe it should have been called, “The Gracious and Loving Father.” Luke 15:11-17 - A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” The son had a noble reason for wanting to come home: he was hungry! Notice in this story that the son did NOTHING right! We try to make this story about the son “taking a step towards the father”, but that is a huge stretch. Listen to his rehearsed speech: Luke 15:18-20 - “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. His father was watching for him! Waiting day after day!! He ran toward him and fell on his neck and kissed him! This word “fell” is a beautiful word. We see it in Acts 10 when Peter preached in Cornelius’ house and the Holy Spirit fell. Acts 10:43-44 - “whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit FELL upon all those who heard the word. The word “fell” here is “epipipto” which means to fall into one’s embrace. The Holy Spirit embraced the people when they heard that their sins were forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. Just like the embrace of the Holy Spirit, the father fell on his son’s neck and forgave the son. Luke 15:21 - And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But his father ran towards him and hugged him, and he only got the first part of his speech out. He never got to the part, “Make me like one of your hired servants” because God is a God of grace and His gifts are free. This story is not a reflection of the son, but of the father’s goodness. Luke 15:22 - “Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.” The word “best” robe is “protos” which means “first in rank.” This robe would have actually belonged to his older brother. No wonder the older brother was jealous!


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Think of the robe that we wear today: our Elder Brother’s robe. Jesus, the first born among many brethren, willingly gave us the robe of His righteousness, the robe of right standing before our Gracious and Loving Father. And then the Father said, “Put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.” God told His servant (not son), Moses to take off his shoes when he was in the Lord’s presence. Exodus 3:5 - “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” But the father said of his wayward son, in effect, “Put shoes on his feet. He has a right to stand in my presence.” Luke 15:23-24 - And bring the fatted calf HERE and kill it. 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they began to be merry. The “fatted calf” is Jesus and the father wanted his son to see the price of his redemption! He still called the boy “huios” - mature son, inheritor! The boy came with nothing to give, but everything to receive. Luke 15:25-31 - The older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.” But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.” Obviously this older brother is not like the younger brother who had nothing to give, but everything to receive. He was trying to earn his keep by keeping all the commands. He was serving to gain and trying to deserve what the father was willing to give freely. Luke 15:31 - And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” “Son, you are always with me…” This word “son” is actually the word “teknon” which is an affectionate term that means “child”, or “immature son”. The father did not call him “huios”! The father could not call him a “huios”, a mature son because he was not willing to receive. He was still under law trying to earn, therefore he was just a child. One had a spirit of sonship and was able to receive what the father gave freely. The other wanted to earn under the law what the father was willing to give freely. That’s the spirit of a slave. That’s a “spirit of bondage again to fear” and it produces resentment, bitterness, anger.

4:6-7 Back to Galatians: Galatians 4:6 - And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

The Holy Spirit left the Aramaic “Abba” untranslated because He wanted us to know His desire for an intimate relationship with us that’s not formal and uncomfortable. It means “Daddy.” This word “Abba” is actually the word you hear today in Israel when children are calling their daddies. When you have the spirit of sonship, you are free to call God, “Daddy.” Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive a spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship by which we cry out Abba Father. When you need a breakthrough in your life, call Him, “Daddy.” The spirit of sonship brings with it a sense that we are right with God. The spirit of a slave brings with it the sense that we need to perform to earn the right to be in God’s presence. There is no way to be comfortable in the presence of our heavenly Daddy if we feel undeserving. Any attempt for us as God’s children to get right with God is falling from grace. Grace has put us in Christ. When you are “in Christ,” you are a son! You are accepted! You are loved! Our personhood comes from three things: It’s our sense of identity. It’s our sense of acceptance. It’s our sense of approval. Every human being was created to need those three things, and without them we are dysfunctional. However, no human being is designed to give us these things. Only God can give you a sense of personhood that is on a level of deep and high and long and wide enough to enable you to walk in the obedience of faith (the promptings of the Holy Spirit, not the obedience of the law) and live as an inheritor. People under the law don't walk in the rights of sons. They don't walk with a sense of identity, approval, and acceptance through grace. Today people are driven to gain their identities by the money they make, their appearance, their education, the achievements of their children, where they go on vacation, the size of their church, etc... All of these things are symptoms and signs of legalistic fundamentalist religion because the law makes us insecure. We’re always trying to BECOME instead of resting in who we ARE. Before Jesus went out into His public ministry and before He performed a single miracle or preached a sermon, the Holy Spirit came on Him and the Father said these words: Matthew 3:17 - “This is my Son (identity), whom I love (acceptance); with Him I am well pleased (approval).” We get our identity, acceptance, and approval from being IN CHRIST. As Jesus is, so are we. As much as He is loved and accepted, so are we. Galatians 4:7 - Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. You are not a slave. You are a son! And this verse doesn’t say that you are an heir of what God has. It says you inherit GOD Himself! You inherit all of Him!

4:4, revisited One more point before we move on...


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

In Galatians 4:4, we see the phrase “born of a woman, born under the law.” Jesus was born under the law. He came to die our death as our blameless sin offering. He lived a sinless life as a human being to qualify Himself to be our substitute because we are incapable of qualifying ourselves. When we read the gospels, it’s important to read them through our new covenant grid of grace. If we don’t, we will be challenged by some of Jesus’s sayings and even condemned by His harsh teachings. These teachings were not intended to bring condemnation on those who would be born again. In order for Jesus to fulfill the law, it had to be brought back to its proper perspective and standard. In Jesus’ teachings, He exposed the hypocrisy of the religious system which had attempted to compromise the perfection of the law so that religious leaders could claim to be righteous and therefore control others who weren’t able to keep their ever-changing standards. Throughout the four gospels we see Jesus pre-cross, before the blood was shed and before the New Covenant was enacted. Hebrews 9:16-17 - For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. Jesus’ death and shed blood is the dividing line of history and the dividing line between the old and new covenants. Matthew chapter 1 isn’t. So what do we do with the teachings of Jesus in the gospels? Such as: Matthew 5:29-30 - If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you... Throughout the 1500 years of Hebrew history under the Mosaic covenant of law, no one had been able to keep the law completely. Had it not been for the system of the priesthood and the acceptable animal sacrifices, no Jew would have lived to be an adult. It was THAT PERFECT. Jesus magnified the law and raised the standard to where God intended it to be. He made it absolutely impossible for any human (other than Himself) to comply. We have three choices in how we view Jesus’s teachings in the gospels: 1. Take them to be applied literally for us today. Have you met anyone who takes this view? Probably not. If there are people who mutilate their own body parts in an effort to keep Jesus’s high standards, they would be under the care of doctors. 2. Believe that He didn’t really mean all those things He said. In other words, His goal was to get us to do our best and then He would be there to help us when we fail. He exaggerated both the standards and the consequences to inspire us to behave ourselves. But the people listening to Jesus’s teachings were people under the law, so they took them literally. It’s the strategy of the Pharisee to water down the law and make it palatable. That’s what law does. Under law - even today - we make the rule, the boundary, the line move or change to fit our ability to keep it. Why? So we can be acceptable to others and to God. It’s behavior modification. 3. Read the gospels in context and realize that Jesus’s teachings were directed to people who were still under the law: the Jews - who still practiced the blood sacrifices in the temple. We don’t have that option anymore! Jesus fulfilled the law! His blood was enough! The cross is the dividing line.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

When we read the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, the most important thing for us as New Covenant believers to see is that Jesus is the exact representation of the Father. He is compassionate, loving, and merciful. Hebrews 1:3 - And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. Jesus went about doing good and healing all who came to Him. He never put a requirement on anyone before they received a miracle. He loved with open arms and showed us a beautiful picture of our Father. If you want to know the will of the Father, look at Jesus who was always healing, always delivering, always multiplying.

4:21-23 In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul brings home his point about removing all semblance of the law from the church by using more symbolism. This time he contrasts Sarah and Hagar, two important women in Abraham’s life, as representing grace and law. To understand Galatians 4, we must take a look at the context of the symbolism that Paul is using. If we gloss over the words and we don’t look back at the story of these two women and their sons, we will miss the richness of the truth that Paul is taking pains to explain. When we read that Sarah represents grace and Hagar represents law, we are reading a letter written to people who knew the scriptures. They had a wealth of knowledge that enabled them to grab hold of what Paul was saying when he got to the main command, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son!” Paul had preached the Gospel to the Galatians at some point in the past. The problem with the Galatians was that they believed in Jesus, but because of some Judaizers who were bringing the law into the church, the Galatians had begun to believe that they would grow spiritually, be blessed, and become holy by keeping the law. Paul is addressing this when he says, Galatians 4:21-23 - Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23   But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise... The “bondwoman” is Hagar. The “freewoman” is Sarah. The son of the bondwoman is Ishmael. And the son of the freewoman is Isaac. Sarah was the lawful wife of Abraham whom God promised to be the father of many nations. His descendants would be as the sand on the seashore and as many as the stars in the sky, but Sarah was barren. The years passed with no baby. So she went to her husband and told him to go to her servant girl, Hagar, and try to get some descendants. Perhaps God’s promise could come true this way - as if God needed help. Abraham didn’t complain. He slept with Hagar and they brought forth Ishmael. Ishmael is describe by Paul as the son “born according to the flesh.” Ishmael was born out of Abraham’s self-effort. At 86, Abraham was still able to father children naturally and was still “fruitful” even if it was by his own self-effort. The lesson for us: don’t ever fall for the lie that “success” means you are walking in God’s plan! What some people call “fruit” could be the result of striving. If your success is born out of self-effort, you will have to maintain it by self-effort. Anything that you get by self-effort brings insecurity because you have yourself - and no one else - to be the one responsible to maintain it. 118

Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Isaac was described as the son of “promise.” He was the fruit born out of faith. The lesson for us: every true success is birthed by grace through faith in God’s promises to you. And the great news is that any fruit gained by grace is maintained by grace! The unearned favor of God will flow when you live by faith. The sad thing about living in the sufficiency of your own effort is that you only get what you earn.The fruit is only the fruit of your own labor - there’s no grace, no favor except the favor you deserve. And the harder you work, the madder you get at others who don’t understand the sacrifices you make. Everything in life becomes about the work. No joy, no laughter. Just a list of tasks. And when you get to the end of your strength and you’re living on fumes, you wonder what the original purpose was. Vision is sapped away. However, under grace, work is not a burden, but a joy. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 15:10 - By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. The promises of God are “yes and amen!” Always remember this: when you cannot, God can. Sometimes our biggest problem is our own strength. We are too smart or too strong in the flesh, and it’s keeping us from our breakthrough or the manifestation of God’s promise. It was 14 years for Abraham! Sometime between the age of 86 when he fathered Ishmeal, the child of self-effort, and age 100 when he fathered Isaac, the child of promise, Abraham lost the natural ability to father. Imagine an 86 year old who can still IN HIS OWN STRENGTH father a child! That is a strong man! In Romans 4:19, it says that Abraham’s body was “as good as dead” and it refers to the “deadness of Sarah’s womb.” Sarah had been barren her whole life. Sometimes God waits until you cannot possibly use your own effort to force a promise to happen. In His mercy, He closes all doors but the one of faith. 2 Corinthians 12:9 - “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

4:24-29 Galatians 4:24 - ...which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— Hagar is a picture of Mount Sinai, the mountain that gives birth to bondage. This bondage includes sickness, curses, depression, and poverty. Why? Because this is where the 10 Commandments and all the laws were given to Moses to give to the people. On the other hand, Mount Zion is the mountain of grace, Sarah. Hebrews 12 also speaks of these two mountains. The Bible says that God has moved from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion! As born again believers in Jesus Christ we HAVE NOT come to the mountain that burns with fire, or to blackness and thunder and trembling and fear and judgment. We HAVE come to the mountain where God, the Judge of all, is. We have come to the mountain where the sun is shining and there are too many angels to count. We have come to the mountain of God’s children who have been made perfect through the blood. We have come to the mountain where our Mediator, Jesus Christ, lives, and His blood speaks grace over us.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

We have moved FROM the mountain which shouts, Exodus 34:7 - I’ll by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. ...TO the mountain which declares, Hebrews 8:12 - For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. We have moved FROM the mountain of demand that gives birth to bondage where God demanded righteousness from man TO the mountain where God supplied righteousness as a gift to man. We have moved away from the mountain that says, “do! do! do!” to the mountains that says, “done!” We rest because it is done, and we enjoy the view! The question is this: how can God be just and the justifier of the ungodly? The answer is found in the cross. The cross allowed God to be just AND the justifier of all sinners. Because Jesus is our Savior, our conscience has been purged, satan is silenced, and God is glorified. Galatians 4:25 - ...for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— The earthly Jerusalem of our time is still in bondage. They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. They are still are attempting to establish their own righteousness and have not submitted to the gift of righteousness as Paul said in Romans 10:2-4. The law points to you. Grace points to Jesus. Jesus has accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. When you are busy trying to establish your own righteousness, you will not be giving glory to Jesus. Just receiving is so simple. But simple doesn’t mean cheap. Jesus literally went through hell to give you this gift. Galatians 4:26 - ...but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. Then Paul quotes Isaiah 54: Galatians 4:27 - For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.” In other words, if you are a person of grace, it might be for a moment that you don’t see any results, but keep on rejoicing and keep on shouting because you will bring forth more fruit than the person of law! Grace will be fruitful and multiply! Galatians 4:28-29 - Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 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.

Context in Genesis Now we will look at the dramatic story of Sarah and Hagar in Genesis. We pick up the story when Abraham was 86 years old.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Genesis 16:4-5, NLT - So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” When Hagar conceived, she hated Sarah. When law was born, grace was despised. Sarah was wrong in telling Abraham to sleep with Hagar, but in her anger she pushed the blame on back on him. And he did what any peace-loving husband would do. He said, Genesis 16:6, NLT - “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away. Hagar was dismissed from Sarah twice in her life. This was the first time. But watch what happened when she fled: Genesis 16:7-9 - Now the Angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur. And He said, “Hagar, Sarai’s maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarai.” The Angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” Hagar returned and submitted to Sarah. This represents the era of the law from Mount Sinai to the cross. Law and grace co-existed just as Sarah and Hagar co-habited, but God always intended that grace be principle and law be in a subordinate position. Even when Israel was under law, the covenant of grace was never annulled. (Galatians 3:17) Whenever you find law and grace in collision, remember grace is the mistress and law is the servant girl. Never be intimidated by the religious. Fast forward 14 years to the birth of Isaac. During that period of time, God had changed their names from Abram to Abraham and from Sarai to Sarah. (Genesis 17:5, 15) He added to their names the Hebrew letter “hei”, which represents grace. Grace enabled them to conceive the child of promise. Genesis 21:4-6 - Then Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” Isaac’s name means “laughter.” Abraham represents faith. Sarah represents grace. Faith + grace = laughter! Genesis 21:7-8 - She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” 8 So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned. If you study the culture of that day, you will find that they weaned children at age 3-5, and they would have a party to celebrate the child’s weaning. Abraham made a GREAT feast on that day. In the context of this celebration of the child’s weaning, Ishmael, his older half-brother scoffed at him, and Sarah witnessed it Genesis 21:9 - And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. 121

Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

If you read the Galatians account of Ishmael persecuting Isaac (Galatians 4:29), the word for “persecute” in the Greek is stronger than just laughing or scoffing. It means to pursue in a hostile way - even to harm. There was hatred in Ishmael’s heart. This is the kind of persecution faced by the early Christians - and Christians continue to suffer today. Imagine a young man of about 18 years of age treating a young boy of about age 4 in this manner. This type of treatment would have carried a death sentence in that day. It was a serious thing. So when the bondwoman and her son are cast out, we don’t need to feel sorry for them! Most likely Hagar was instigating this persecution. The ultimate persecution would be for Ishmael to kill Isaac, then Ishmael could be the heir. Genesis 21:10 - Therefore she [Sarah] said to Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman SHALL NOT be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.” This time when Hagar left, there was no angel to tell her to go back. You know why? Because Isaac had come. The seed that would bring forth the Son of God had come. Isaac’s birth represents the birth of all God’s children born of His Spirit - you and I and every New Covenant believer. After Jesus shed his blood, died, and rose again, God then had children born of His Spirit. Today God has sons, His Isaacs, all over the world. At first there was only 120 in the upper room. Then 3000 were added on the day of Pentecost. And it has never stopped growing. We are God’s covenant people - a people of promise! After Isaac was born, there was no place for the law. The law has been nailed to the cross. The law has been fulfilled. The law is no more! The bondwoman and her son have been cast out. Genesis 21:11-12 - And the matter was very displeasing in Abraham’s sight because of his son. 12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice for in Isaac your seed shall be called. 13   Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.” What happened with Ishmael? The Arab nation was birthed through him. This passage shows the mercy of God. Ishmael was Abraham’s son and he was concerned about him, but God promised Abraham that He would also make a nation out of Ishmael and the bondwoman “because he is your seed.” Abraham had prayed in Genesis 17, Genesis 17:18 - “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” In other words, “Please bless my mistake!” And God answered his prayer. Abraham’s “righteousness of faith” was so secure that God even blessed his mistake! Genesis 17:20-   And as for Ishmael, I HAVE HEARD YOU. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. The princes of Ishmael are still in the news today: Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Morocco, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Twelve princes are still here today - the “mistake” of Abraham. They own and possess 2/3 of the world’s oil. When God said He would bless Ishmael, He wasn’t kidding. This is real blessing. Ishmael became the father of the Arabs. In physical terms, the descendants of Isaac became the Jewish people, the Israelies. However, in the spiritual sense, when an Arab receives Jesus, he is an Isaac. If a Jewish person rejects Jesus Christ, he is an Ishmaelite. 122

Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Romans 9:7-9, NLT - Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. 8 This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. 9 For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

4:28-29, again In the spiritual sense, Paul uses Isaac to represent those who are of grace, and he uses Ishmael to represent those who are of the law. They have the same father, Abraham, who is the father of our faith. However, they have different mothers. Abraham and Hagar who represents the Old Covenant of law begat the son of flesh and self-effort. Abraham and Sarah who represents the New Covenant of grace begat the son of promise and the Spirit. Galatians 4:28-29, again - Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 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. “Even so it is now.” Ishmael is still persecuting Isaac. Those who hang on to works will always persecute those who believe in pure grace and who want to share the simplicity of the Gospel. And those who are doing the persecuting are not people outside the church. They have the same father of the faith. Be careful that you are not a “grace Ishmaelite” - one who knows grace, but you are still an Ishmaelite in your heart and you scoff at those who are hanging on to the law or a mixture of grace and law. Ask yourself this: what did you DO to open your own eyes to this revelation of grace? What began by the Spirit, maintain in the Spirit. If there’s persecution (and there will be), make sure you are the one being persecuted. And the next time you are persecuted, you can shout, “Hallelujah! I’m counted worthy to share in the sufferings of Christ. I’m a child of grace!” Paul quoted Isaiah 54 in Galatians 4:27 when he tells the barren woman, Sarah, to rejoice. Isaiah 54 goes on to encourage us to stand firm in our righteousness: Isaiah 54:14-17 - In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. 15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake. 16   “Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy. 17   No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord. If God is for you, who can be against you?!

4:30-5:1 Galatians 4:30 - 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.” Here are Sarah’s words repeated in Galatians and God called it “scripture”!


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Grace and law cannot co-exist anymore after the cross! Why is it that we know how to cast out demons, but we don’t understand casting out the bondwoman? “Throw her out!” No mixture. It’s all Jesus. He gets all the credit and all the glory. And what do we get? Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. By faith we are prosperous, healthy, and fruitful. But there is no blessing in the mixture. You can’t receive your inheritance when you hang on to self-effort. The Holy Spirit cannot flow when the law is in the church. The church today is trying to invite Hagar back into the house to raise up Isaac who is not even her son! There are those who have no confidence in grace! They are saying that Sarah can’t do a good job and that she doesn’t know about holiness. Sarah is much more equipped to raise her own child. Grace does a god job in instructing us! In fact, after Hagar was out of the house, Isaac was able to blossom. True holiness is the result when the law is removed. You’re not able to blossom until the law is out of your life. The law is like a big stone blocking the resurrection “zoe” life of God from flowing in your life. Jesus told them to remove the stone so that Lazarus could get out. The stone of the law must be removed so that resurrection life can flow. One last point about Isaac and Ishmael: when did Ishmael persecute Isaac? When he was weaned and wasn’t taking milk anymore. He had moved on to solid food. There is a lesson in this for us today. Hebrews 5:13 - For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. Babies, those under the law, don’t understand the word of righteousness. Today we have some who are saying, “We need to be more righteous.” To say that we need to be more righteous shows a complete misunderstanding of the gift of righteousness! You are either righteous or you are not. You’re either right with God or you’re not. For example, if you are a male, you can’t be more male no matter how hard you try. You can learn more about the man who God has made you to be, but you can’t be more male than you already are. Being unskilled in the word of righteousness means that every time we see the word “righteousness”, we automatically think of “works righteousness” instead of the “gift of righteousness.” For example, when we hear, “Seek first His righteousness and all these things will be added...” (Matthew 6:33), we think it means that we need to learn God’s ways and be right in our thinking and our actions in order for God to bless us. Another example is when believers pray “to get closer to God.” This is a dead work that produces long boring prayer times! When you realize you are right with God, you will want to talk to God and take advantage of your position of being close to Him. When you see a need for prayer, you won’t stop to “get in the flow.” You’ll pray right away and bring heaven to bear on the situation because you have influence with God! You don’t have to “get in the Spirit” because you are already “in the Spirit.” You are joined as one with the Spirit of God! Today we hear that grace is basic, and that “Jesus loves me” is for babies. We’re told that we need to move on to maturity and find out what God requires of us and what His commands are. The Jewish people could say to us, “If that’s maturity, we were mature a long time ago in the Old Testament when God gave us the law!” Babies are those who tell you that “grace is milk.” They are the ones who are more comfortable with commandments than with the freedom we have in Christ. Grace is solid food for the mature - for the “huois” in God’s house.


Grace 101: Week 9, “Sonship Born of the Spirit”

Galatians 4:31-5:1 - So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. We are children of the free! Free to love, free to forgive, free to inherit, free to give, free to do GOOD works, free to bear fruit, free from sin, and free to enjoy the presence of the our God!

Copyright © Patricia Gunn 2013


Grace 101, week 9, sonship born of the spirit  
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