Abraham Part 9


A study

Part 9

The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. (Gal.5: 17)

Now in this part of the study, in Gen.21, we find the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham concerning a seed. Though Abraham had many weaknesses and failures in his life, he inherited the promise because of his faith, which was proved, through his patient obedience. (Gen.21: 1,2) Isaac was born at the set time of which God had spoken to him. At that time Abraham was an hundred years old. Even his enemies could recognise and appreciate him saying, “God is with thee in all that thou doest.”(Gen.21: 22)

Now we find that Isaac who was born to Sarah was unable to coexist with Ishmael who was earlier born to Hagar. Wherefore Sarah said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be HEIR with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son. Gen.21: 10,11 But God also insisted that the bondwoman and his son be cast out. Paul while referring to this incident uses it as an allegory i.e. a symbolic story in which abstract concepts are personified. (Gal.4: 21-31)


The bondwoman Hagar & her son Ishmael on the one side and the freewoman Sarah & her son Isaac on the other side point to two different abstract concepts. Hagar symbolised the system of LAW, which was shown in Mount Sinai and was fulfilled to a certain extent in Jerusalem during the time of David and Solomon. Sarah symbolised the system of GRACE, which is now seen in the Church, and will one day be completely fulfilled in the heavenly Jerusalem after the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through this allegorical teaching the apostle Paul is exhorting those who are saved by GRACE, not to be entangled again with the bondage of the LAW. (Gal.2: 16; 4: 9; 5: 1)


But as then he that was born according to the flesh persecuted him that was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal. 4:29 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Gal. 5:17

All men, when they are born into this world, are shaped in iniquity and born in sin. (Psa.51: 5; Rom.3: 10; 5: 20) But when we are saved we are born-again and have received a new nature in the spirit. Even then, the old nature also continues to exist within us in the flesh. That’s why we are repeatedly exhorted to walk not after the flesh, mortify the deeds of the flesh, put off the old man, etc. (Rom.8: 1-13; Gal.5: 16-21; Eph.4: 22-24; Col.3: 5-14; Rom.13: 14; etc.) It was grievous for Abraham to cast out Ishmael. He had cherished Ishmael as his first born son for about 20 years. But God’s command was unequivocal and stern; he that is born after the flesh shall not be HEIR with he that is born after the Spirit. We also treasure our old man with all his desires, habits and deeds of the flesh. We find it very hard to put away the old nature. But unless we destroy the works of the flesh and completely transformed in our life, we will have no inheritance in the kingdom, which is going to be manifested very soon, at the glorious return of our Lord.

We are sternly warned that, those who live after the flesh shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Rom.8: 13,17; 1Cor.6: 9,10; Gal.5: 20; Eph.5: 5; etc.) At the time of our salvation we received the free gift of eternal life, which is our present possession which can never be lost. But when our Lord returns with all His glory and power, we will receive the inheritance (our future reward) in His kingdom. If we do not put away the old man with all the works of the flesh, we will not have any inheritance in that glorious kingdom. (Mark 8: 38; 1Cor.3: 15) Such believers will be occupying a shameful and sorrowful position in that kingdom of glory and power.

Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. (Rom.13: 14) Let us walk in the Spirit, and so we shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal.5: 16)

[To Part 8] Lessons on Abraham [To Part 10]