Analogies: Sons and Covenants
Now Abraham didn't have just the one son named Isaac. Long before Isaac was born, God had made the promise that Abraham would bear a son through whose descendants God's promise to bless all the nations would be fulfilled. Because of Abraham's wife Sarah, he was persuaded to have a son by Sarah's handmaid, Hagar, since Sarah failed to have the patience to wait for God to fulfill His promise and she felt she was too old to bear any children. This son of Hagar's by Abraham was named Ishmael (Genesis 15:2-5), and he is the progenitor, or the Father, of the Arab nations. But Ishmael was not the son that God had promised Abraham that he would have, so he did not become the family through which the Messiah would come. God had a plan, and in spite of man's desires, He executed it without any interruptions. The "Law" was to come first, and the "promise under Grace" was to come later. The Grace of His Love for the Grace of His Forgiveness. The gift of His love that we do not deserve, for the gift of His forgiveness that we do not deserve!
(John 1:14-18: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.")
Jesus has explained God to us! He that has seen the Son has seen the Father.
The Law was to be as a tutor to bring us to faith through Christ; we establish the Law through faith in Christ. "Living under the Law" is doing the "works of salvation", and man is incapable of doing this, for it seems he is continually at war with himself to fulfill his own desires or to fulfill the desire of his maker.
(Rom. 3 30,31: "Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.")
Through our faith, we show that the Law was just for its teaching that which God desires in our personalities. It is not performed as duty, but as proof of our love! Through our faith we remember the finer points of the Law in respect of God’s commands, to love Him with all our heart, and to love our fellow man as much as we love ourselves; it is our obedience to the observance of all required of us under Christ. It spans the justification of Abraham’s faith through the sanctification by our faith in Jesus Christ.
But this understanding of the two sons is very important, because this situation became the analogy of the two covenants which God made concerning His people. These covenants are known as the Old Testament, which was physical requirements, and the New Testament, which was "Spiritual". We refer to them as the old Covenant and the New Covenant.
The old Covenant is represented by Ishmael, the son of a bond-servant, and the new Covenant by Isaac the son of the free woman. Bond-servants were forced to serve their master under any condition, and without any choice, but a free person is free to serve because of love and devotion to their Lord.
(Psa. 51:16,17 a contrite and broken heart, better than sacrifice.)
And the Covenant God made with Abraham did not involve "laws", but did involve Faith. It involved the faith that God would keep all His promises, and was to prepare the "family" through which God would keep these promises. So the promises moved from the Faith of Abraham, through the laws given through Moses to bring us to the Faith in Christ.
(Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH'.)
The gospel is the power of God's grace for salvation to the man of obedient faith. And it is a Faith that passes from generation to generation. A person's faith is based on the faith that is passed down from someone else. If we don't understand our faith and base it on the faith that we read from scripture, we have no business passing it on. It only takes a couple of generations of failure to teach the truth before the desires of man for his own pleasures cause a failure to comply to God’s commands.
(Hebrews 2:1-3: "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him:").
It is a faith that grows, becoming more Christ-like in time. Abraham's faith had to grow -- so does ours! It is as looking in a mirror - the perfect law of love - and seeing oneself change to become like Christ. Day by day we add the virtues to our thinking, performing them with joy and gratitude for the Grace that was proffered, taking hold of it in determination to endure to the end.
(Rom. 4:16 Therefore, the Promise comes by faith, that it might be assured by grace to all of the 'seed' of Abraham.)
The gospel became the power of God's grace for salvation, given by grace since it is impossible that man can be "good enough" to accrue salvation by his own merit, but Christ can make that claim for us if we obey Him, and "walk with Him". Being under the reign of grace is contingent on baptism into Christ and continuing to "walk" with Him.
(Rom. 6:1,2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?)
Christ's body did not see corruption because He died to sin; but was made alive in the Spirit when God resurrected Him from the grave. If we die to sin, we will not see “corruption”, but will be made alive in the Spirit in Christ Jesus! If we remain in sin we will remain separated from the body of Christ, and will see "corruption" and separation from the Spirit of God. The soul that sins will die. Either we live to sin, and die to Christ, or we die to sin and live to Christ. We are separated from one or the other.
The Law was given to Moses, and the Covenant that God made with Moses when He called the Israelites as His Chosen People - chosen to keep the line pure through which God would keep His promises. And the man under the old covenant was not only a "bond-servant" to serve as concerning laws and rules for discipline, but was also learning what it meant to serve under conditions that brought evil into their lives. And they were continually turning away from God, and returning to Him when they got into trouble. It was to bring them to Christ and the Law of Liberty -- the freedom of the New Covenant to be written on the hearts of man. It was to bring them to Faith. Everything that was the old Law, or old Covenant, was a shadow of the reality that was to be the Law of Liberty, or the new Covenant. The old Law was the physical requirements. The old Covenant was practical laws for living to keep man healthy, to keep peace among men, and taught man what he must do to please God.
The new Covenant gave man the opportunity to do what pleased God because he wanted to please God. It was the spiritual, based on an indestructible life! It gave man the opportunity to call upon the Lord - to understand his own "nakedness" (the nakedness that brings shame and makes one vulnerable), and cover himself through Christ's blood. It gave man the opportunity to walk with God because he wants to walk with God. Christ is the Prince of Peace and our King; the beginning and the end, from the Beginning to Judgment; the Alpha and Omega. He is our High Priest. Christ came out to meet us; He will again come out to meet us in our "victory". Christ offered bread and wine; His body on the Cross as His blood was shed. Christ as possessor of Heaven and Earth, in the New Covenant in His blood - not based on the blood of bulls and goats but on an indestructible life! - to be given back to God when Christ comes again to gather us into eternity. Christ, who has delivered us from the hands of our enemy. In Him are our blessings, and we give Him tithes of all. Most of all we give to Him, by Faith, the "first fruits" of our heart, knowing that He will keep His promises.
What are those “first fruits” of our heart?
Gal_5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Eph_5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Back to contents