Galatians 4:28 – Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
Galatians 4:29 – But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Galatians 4:30 – 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.
Galatians 4:31 – So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Hello readers, today I hope is a really helpful blog to you. I realized a life changing truth in recent weeks. I’ve been waiting to blog it because I really want to do justice to it and be able to articulate it in a clear manner. I talk to people often and a common theme among many has emerged over time. People want to live Christian, but don’t have the power or ability to. They always fall back into sin, they’re always defeated by sin, they’re in a constant and seemingly losing and hopeless battle with themselves. I myself struggle with breaking the cycle, kicking the habit, I myself struggle with having victory, as in true victory over sin and this world.
When the Bible promises deliverance and victory and overcoming this world, it’s not just an empty feel good cliche. It’s not there just to sound good. In my own life I’ve sinned and I still do sin. There are sins I am prone to, there are areas of my life where there seemingly can be no victory. I’ve just grown used to defeat, or grown in acceptance of the fact of “that’s ground I can’t take”. It’s a bit like those nations in Canaan, Israel couldn’t drive the inhabitants out of the land for a long time or ever in many cases. It was not until king David that they finally took Jerusalem… that’s a long time after they went into the land! That’s a long time not to own the heart of Israel!
My blog is primarily from the book of Galatians today. In this book Paul deals with a bunch of people who’d supposedly been saved, but they’d fallen into a trap that we will all find ourselves in. They’d gone from faith to works. It’s a lot more prevalent than you think. You may not even think you’ve fallen into this trap, yet you have. In life, and in Christianity also, people try doing better, reforming, trying harder, getting even more disciplined and committed, and they keep falling back into their own ways. The way of the Galatians is not a path of victory, but of defeat. And Paul was earnestly contending for the faith and earnestly exhorting them to get back to living by faith in God’s promises over their performance and energy and efforts.
We easily commit a common mistake which is we get saved by faith, and then we live in the power and energy of the flesh. And what would you know, immediately we are defeated. Because your flesh can do religion, but your flesh will never be good enough, never please God, never be accepted by God, and never be free from sin. Living Christian in the flesh is torturous, painful, futile and fatal. Oh how easily we go from faith to flesh. Oh how subtle it is. Oh how natural it comes to us to walk in the flesh. Did you know the Christian life never stops being by faith? Did you know that the Christian life is entirely reliant on the grace of God from repentance to salvation to sanctification to glory? Did you know that just as we obtain the promises of salvation by faith, we also obtain the promises of victory and deliverance and overcoming by faith? So often we only apply faith in one area of our life. Like, we got saved by “faith” but then our walk of life has no faith at all, as in no real practical faith despite the profession or sincere belief that we are walking by faith.
The reason why you are losing the battle is because you are… wait for it… losing the battle. Ok, that might sound smarty pants, but you are losing the battle with sin and with your flesh and with this world because you’re losing the battle of faith. You’ve stopped living by faith, and you’ve gone down the reformation and do better and try harder route. You keep making new resolves, new resolutions, but just like new year’s resolutions fade and new leaves wither, you’re always fading out and going back to the old vomit and wallowing in the mire. And you’re always going to lose. Because Ishmael is still Ishmael. Your flesh is still your flesh. And he and it is still rejected by God. Living Christian in the flesh is a super common mistake, and it’s always going to fail because your flesh will never be made better or made acceptable to God. So as Paul would say at the end of Galatians, circumcised or uncircumcised… it makes no difference. What matter is a new creature. Are you born again? Is there a new person in you born by faith, born to faith, born to walk in faith?
See, your first birth has endowed you with a sinful nature. It is in you to sin. Noone had to teach you to lie, cheat, steal, covet and so on. That first nature you have is called the flesh. It is born in slavery to sin, just as Ishmael was the son of the bondwoman. God’s solution in salvation isn’t a redemption of the flesh, no it’s a death to the flesh, with the promise of resurrection through the Spirit of God as a completely new creature that happens at conversion. But it’s also a practical truth. It took faith to save you, it took God’s faith to save you, and your faith in God to save you, but it never stops being about faith. The Christian life is based on faith to start to finish. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith after all.
It’s important to realize that God’s promises were never to the flesh (Ishmael), they were to the Spirit (Isaac). God’s promises were based on a child that would be born that he had promised Abraham. All Abraham had to do was trust God’s word. Was it that hard? Well it was, because a lot of garbage happened along the way. Abraham even requested God, oh that Ishmael might live before thee! He wanted God to accept his Ishmael rather than waiting for Isaac whom God had promised in whom all the blessings would be received. We do this a lot more than we think. We want God to accept our fleshly efforts, such as the Galatians getting circumcised, rather than living by faith in what God will do, instead wanting God to accept and bless what we do. And what we do is an epic fail. Look at what happened with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar and you’ll see a disaster when we depart from faith and go our way.
Really what this blog about is pointing to practical truths of faith that we often neglect. We don’t struggle so hard with grasping salvation by faith, but we seem to really buck against an everday faith for deliverance. If you’ve read this far maybe your eyes are glazing over a bit or I’m not making sense, but I am trying to be thorough. So often we are living in defeat because we are not living by faith. God has more than just one promise to us, you read the New Testament and there’s a lot of promises there which are to us for victorious Christian living. But that is, as we shall see, “promised” land. The land of promise is called promised land because it’s a land obtained by trusting in God delivering his promises to you, rather than you trying to capture the land for yourself. The Christian promised land is promised land because it’s God’s promises, and they are received by faith, not by works of law… ie. you trying to do better, be better, think better, live better and so on. We live in defeat because we have thrown away faith for self effort…. and that flesh will never be able to put out like you want it to.
It is by faith that you put that old person in you to death according to the promise of God in Romans 6:8 that “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him”. That is a practical truth of Christian living. That is a promise. That is promised land. And promised land is only walked in by faith. You’ll only ever realize that verse by faith. I’ve been thinking about “cast out the bondwoman and her son” in relation to my fleshly nature and my sinful desires. And the penny finally dropped for me. Even though I knew it, I didn’t really know it. The solution isn’t in reformation, or trying harder, or doing better, or pretending I don’t have the capacity and desire to sin in me. The solution is in casting it out. Just get rid of him. Put that old man in you to death that still ravens on the rotting carcase of flesh in this world. Send him out the ark and don’t come back. There are things we can cast out of our life. Rather than trying to make your flesh less bad, how about just cast him out? He’s born under sin, he only can sin, God’s never going to accept him… just cast him out? How freeing a truth is that?
In another scripture, the Bible says perfect love casts our fear. If I really do love God, I can cast out fear. Not because I’m casting it out, but my love for God casts it out, because Jesus Christ will cast out the fear for me. How do you cast out fear in your life? I can’t make myself less fearful, I always have the fear with me, fear of death, fear of man, fear of whatever… but I can cast it out through faith in Christ. Through trusting in his promises to me, promises which never fail by the way. God’s promises never failed to Abraham. They were tested by time, and many Christians don’t believe God’s word holds true across time, but it did for Abraham.
We need to stop trying to coexist with the flesh, and kick the flesh out. Put him to death. Cast him out. That was a tough decision for Abraham wasn’t it. But he found they couldn’t coexist. We need to stop trying to coexist flesh and Spirit in our life, you can’t be living in both. You can’t have the flesh and the Spirit both in your life, because that flesh will persecute the Spirit. Guess who was more grown up? Ishmael was. By the time you get born again, your flesh will already be well grown in sin. Just think about that. That new person in you is young and tender and growing… but that sin nature is a big bad dude. Your only way to deal with him is by casting him out, not trying to make him “play nice”. We Christians are so stupid in our dealings with our flesh and this world. Such a basic principle in here on the lie of coexistence.
The part where we often come undone in Christian life is where we start in faith, as the Galatians did, but we live in the flesh thereafter. It’s a subtle and terrible trap, and it leads to constant defeat. We tend to gravitate towards a life that doesn’t rely on trusting on the promises of God every day. To be honest, we shudder at the thought of trusting God for anything. Even if we are saved, “I’ll take it from here”. We might not say that, but we really do live it. And we are doomed for failure. We are so strongly anti faith. Ishmael was anti faith. He made fun of Isaac, who was a child of faith. Everything in you is anti faith, anti trusting God, anti righteousness. But Isaac was the child who God’s promises were to. And to grow up and thrive, Ishmael had to be cast out. There is a precious new creature born in you if you are saved. That new person in you was born by you having simple childlike faith in the word of God. God’s promises are to and based upon that person, not upon your flesh. Children of faith need to walk by faith. Children of promise need to walk by promise. So often we don’t live the reality of the life of faith. We are content to have that “moment of saving faith” somewhere back there, but the rest of our life is trusting ourselves rather than trusting God. We need to get back to and claim the promises that are to us for today’s living… practical promises that pertain to that abundant life Jesus said we would have. Often we are only interested in the “eternal” life, not the “new” or “abundant” life.
I think about my own life and I’m rarely living by faith. I slip back into this Galatians way of living. And all it does is produce self righteousness and hypocrisy and failure. Most people don’t want a life that relies on God delivering on his promises, on Jesus who ever lives to make intercession for us, no, they want a religion that is within their grasp of their ability and performance. But it’s so simple. The answer for endless defeat is not overhauling, trying harder, determining to do better next time… the answer is casting out and putting to death that old man by faith and waiting for the promise of righteousness by faith. See, when you have faith, righteousness will be what God works in your life. That will be true righteousness, because it will be Christ’s righteousness, which is received only by faith. This whole life is about faith, but often we are not actually walking by faith at all. That’s why the Bible is so dead to you, because it’s not your life.
Ishmael was born of a slave woman called Hagar. He was born of a woman Abraham found down in Egypt when he stopped trusting God. You and I were born in slavery. Did you know that? We are all slaves of sin. We are children of the bondwoman. That flesh nature in you was born in slavery, he’s not free. He’s bound by sin. He’s a slave of Satan and this world. But when you’re born again, that new creature in you is not born of the bondwoman, but of the freewoman. You’re born free. You’re free from sin. You are free in Christ. You are free to serve God. Most Christians think they’ve been made free TO sin. Think about how stupid that is. Have you been made free to go back to slavery? That’s not freedom. That’s not liberty. Paul addressed this exact heresy. Why go back to bondage, why go back to the weak and beggarly elements? You’ve been made free from sin, to serve God. That’s what the deliverance from Egypt was about. Free from Pharaoh’s slavery to go and worship and serve their God. Biblical freedom is freedom from sin, being set free to serve God. Which you can’t ever do in the flesh in bondage.
The solution to your long and bitter and futile battle with your own nature isn’t overhauling that person born of the flesh. It’s casting him out. And that’s where true Christianity separates from all the other religions of the world and all the psychology and counselling and self reformation and improvement that the world offers as if it was a solution to our deep sin problem we have. Christianity isn’t in overhauling or reformation, it’s not in what you do or don’t do, it’s in a new creature in Christ Jesus, not born under bondage. They say you need more self esteem, they say you need the right environment, they say you just need to be respected and treated equal… but no, the way to freedom and salvation is through casting out the bondwoman and her son, so that Isaac can grow up and thrive in the promises and blessing of God. The world says make your flesh better, but Christianity says cast it out, put it to death, crucify it. Because if you do, there is the promise that if you die with Christ, you will be raised with Christ. See, only God, only Christ can “create”. So all other religions and self improvement and social gospel situations rely on improving the flesh, as they have no hope of something new born in them.
A key theme of Galatians is the faith of Christ. Note, that is not our faith… but his faith. People always talk about “my” faith. But in true Christianity my faith is really all about his faith. His faith is what is truly important and what matters, and his name is Faithful for a reason. Our living by faith is based on his ever present faithfulness to us. If we are honest with ourselves we really don’t rate the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to us. We don’t even believe in the integrity and preservation and faithfulness of his word anymore. Many people do not have a faithful and true Jesus Christ, because they changed their Jesus out for one who has no power to create because he’s an idol.
If you are looking for victory and overcoming in your life, how about instead of trying to make God accept your Ishmael… cast him out instead. Try that!? That’s your only hope for victorious Christian living. That Isaac in your life is never going to grow up while Ishmael is there who is bigger and badder and dominating and poking fun at him. Ishmael was rejected by God, he couldn’t stay there, he had to be put out. And when your Ishmael of the flesh is cast out, that is going to reveal Isaac of the Spirit. He was the child of promise. When the Bible says we are children of promise, that carries many great and precious truths with it. The children of promise live on the promises of God. So we trust his promises day by day, from salvation to sanctification to glorification. We never stop trusting in the promises of God. And we have many promises of God for us for practical Christian living. Start living by those promises rather than trying harder and doing better in vain. Seize the promise of newness of life in Christ Jesus rather than trying to make your flesh less sinful when it is always going to be sinful.
To be clear, you are NEVER ever going to change your flesh nature. You can train and discipline and reform it all you want, you’ll never be able to change that nature that is proud, that lusts, that is greedy, that covets, that loves sin and loves to sin. Accept it, your flesh is never going to be made better. That was the folly of the Galatians, they think circumcising themselves is making themselves better and earning merit and favour with God. It wasn’t. It wasn’t making their flesh any less sinful. You can make your flesh go to church and even engage in the ministry of God, your flesh can give to charity, your flesh can do good… whatever… but your flesh is still your flesh. It is rejected, God’s promises are not to it, God’s blessing is not upon it, and God is not accepting it ever. And the more honest you get about who and what you are, the more you’ll see how utterly depraved and fallen your flesh nature is.
Our life is based on the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ that Paul wrote of in Philippians. See, that’s a promise from God for right now. Another promise of God right now is if you be dead with Christ, you will be raised with Christ in newness of life. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:10 – ” Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” Is that true of you? Note, they’re promises of God to us, and the promise is inherited by faith. All Abraham did was trust God, and God delivered. That sure takes the effort and work out of our hands doesn’t it. I place my faith in Jesus Christ’s “it is finished” work, rather than me trying to do better or be better and still failing.
As already has been said, but definitely worth confirming, it was called the promised land why? Because it was the land of promise. We truly don’t want to live in “promised” land. Because we don’t trust in God’s promises, we don’t want to live in that kind of land where we trust in God’s promises daily, we would rather try getting it within the realm of our performance and capacity and ability. Just as Abraham did with Ishmael. He tried performing it rather than trusting God’s promise. Did you know that being born again and living in and walking in the Spirit is all received by God’s promise? Did you know the Holy Spirit is received by the hearing of faith? Did you know that you walk in the Spirit by faith?
Isaac is a picture of being born again. The solution is being born again. Jesus said, ye must be born again. Our life is based around trusting God to perform and fulfill what he has promised us, not just past but present and future… but so often our lives are the inverse of that. We aren’t trusting in and walking by God’s promises, we are instead trying to perform. We’re trying to be more religious, to earn more brownie points with God, we are trying to do better and be better and change and exalt our lives through our own ways and means and efforts. And it’s all failure. Paul said, you that desire to be under the law… don’t you hear the law? And then he goes on to talk about Abraham and his two sons. Paul’s saying… why are you trying this garbage, God has already shown you the utter futility and stupidity of it.
The only truly new person is a person that is born of God in Jesus Christ. No religion or belief system or wisdom and philosophy can do what only God can do. Someone who is born again is a new creature. That Creator God of Genesis 1 is still creating. If you can’t believe in the Genesis creation, how are you going to believe him for your new creation in Christ Jesus? Behold I make all things new says Jesus Christ. Salvation isn’t doing better, it’s not circumcision or uncircumcision, it’s not do this and don’t do that… it’s a new creature. Your flesh will always be flesh, no matter how puffed up and proud you make it. And that’s where the whole book of Galatians is pointing to. You can do this or don’t do that or whatever, but what matters is… is there a new creature? Are you saved, are you born again? Your flesh, no matter how well you’re doing and trying… it’s never going to be accepted. End of story.
So when that sin makes it’s demand on you, you have a choice. Will you go the way of faith, or will you try and overcome that sin in your own flesh which wants to sin? You have been made free from being in debt to your flesh. You don’t need to yield your members to unrighteousness anymore. But it takes faith. You don’t need to pretend that you don’t want to sin when you do. Wake up. We all have the capacity to sin in us. What we need to do is to claim the victory that overcomes the world which is through faith. We have practical opportunity to have faith in God and walk by the same faith Abraham did each day in our lives. Deal with that sin and temptation by faith, or try making yourself better, and see how far that gets you.
You need to crucify that person, you need to put him out. Galatians 2:20 – ” I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Isn’t that what this entire blog is about? It’s a practical promise and reality for today’s Christian living. Overcoming sin doesn’t lie in pretending you’re not a sinner, it doesn’t lie in trying to reform your flesh to the point of where you make it not interested in sin anymore. Your flesh will always love sin. Your solution is casting it out, it’s casting him out by faith. Because God’s given you an Isaac inside you if you’re saved, there is a born again person in you just waiting to grow up and inherit all that God has promised you. But there’s often that Ishmael in the way who we gotta deal with first. Cast him out. Cast that person out by faith that wants to lust and be proud. By faith. By faith. By faith.
When you realize these truths it will give you a completely different view of Christian living. You’ll be in promised land, living on promises where once you walked in your own failing power and ability. Even Jacob’s life showed this also, the blessings were to him as “Israel”, not as Jacob. There must be a new person in you, born of God by faith, repenting and believing in Jesus Christ, and that new person must grow and Ishmael must be cast out. It takes faith to save you. It takes faith to walk as well. Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. Did you know that? He hasn’t ceased to exist since his ascension. He dwells in our hearts by faith. It’s time to take this dead defeated religion into the land of promise. Children of promise in the land of promise. Live on God’s promises rather than by your power. It is a life changing truth. The next time that sin is making its demand on you, cast out the bondwoman and her son… for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. Freedom or bondage? Which one will you be today?
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)