SN 2022 July 31: Abraham, Sarah & Hagar. Spirit vs flesh; Law vs Grace.

SN 31 July 2022

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We continue from last week..

…where we were exploring the issue of

… the separation and dominion of spirit over flesh, grace over law.

… and the embracing of the sonship mindset over the slavery mindset.

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Today we explore the same 

… but within the context of Abraham, Sarah & Hagar

… and what they represent.

… this being the 3rd article in the Spirit vs Flesh, Law vs Grace SN series

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Welcome all and be blessed.

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Sarah represents freedom

… obtained from our subscription to the New Covenant –  to the covenant of the new Jerusalem

… and delivers a son born of the promise, by the Spirit

… that delivers us from under the law

— Like salvation, the blessings here are a promise received by grace through faith and not by works, so that none may boast.

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Hagar represents slavery

… obtained from the Old Covenant – the covenant of Mt. Sinai 

… where God gave Moses the law that enslaved them

… and produces children born of the flesh

… that are contrary and opposed to those of the Spirit.

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When we try to be justified by the law (by Hagar)

… we are severed from Christ and fall away from grace

… for salvation is by grace through faith and not by works of the law or power of the flesh

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The freedom we have in Christ

… represented by Sarah

… is not so that we can gratify the desires of our flesh

… but so that we can serve each other in love

… as sons of God, led by the Spirit of God

… conformed into the image of His Son, the first born of creation …Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15

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Indeed, our freedom (free will)  may as well be a test of faith ( of faithfulness e.g. like for Adam & Eve)

… Can we love as God loved us despite the circumstances and conditions we find ourselves in?

… such as loving not our lives unto the death for the sake of Christ and righteousness

… a testing or trial that is to produce perseverance, which when we allow to finish its work, completes and matures us? (in love and faith- fullness?)

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~~~ •○• ~~~

Sarah & Hagar are given as illustrations to drive this point home

… where we shall explore within the context of testing and sonship 

… and see that ultimately, it is the will, purpose & plans of God that matters and is what prevails for success.

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Testing , pleasing faith

…  where patience and perseverance was to be exercised while awaiting the promises of God to manifest 

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Sonship

… going through process

… for producing and nurturing the promise 

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Abraham had to go through the testing that matures into son-ship

… where he had to submit in pleasing faith to the Lordship of God over his life and family

… Galatians 4:21-31

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Where we also , like Abraham, have a choice (freedom) to make

… with the options being life or death, blessing or curse… 

… and are urged to choose life (that comes with blessing) so that we and our descendants may live

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John 1:12-13 (AMP)

–  But to as many as did receive and welcome Him , He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name—

who were born , not of blood [natural conception], nor of the will of the flesh [physical impulse], nor of the will of man [that of a natural father], but of God [that is, a divine and supernatural birth—they are born of God—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].

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The choice in this context is 

Sarah , represents grace,  the free woman of the New Jerusalem Covenant (New Covenant), who will produce a child (blessings) of promise and of freedom

Hagar , represents the law, the slave woman of the Mt Sinai (Old Jerusalem) covenant (Old Covenant), who will produce a child of the flesh and of slavery (to the law)

… where we are to choose to live with the freedom of the blessings from grace rather than in the bondage of the law

… the law was added along side grace

… the law was given to reveal sin ( the restriction given to Adam & Eve to interrogate the true position of their hearts)

… but not redeem from sin

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The choice is either – or

– Things of the law (flesh) will always be scoffing at the things of the Spirit (promise, faith)

… for the law wants me to do first and then believe ( self righteousness, religion…)

… faith wants me to believe first (on the one who has done) then do in faith by grace

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~~~ •○• ~~~

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The law and the flesh have their place

— but under submission to the Spirit and grace

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>> Listen to Sarah and in Isaac your seed shall be called… Genesis 21:12

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The law and the flesh  may  have some use in the wilderness

… with the world (wife from Egypt)… Genesis 21:21

e.g. the law was only a guardian to draw us to Christ…

to keep us in check , on the straight and narrow, as we are drawn to Christ

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Spirit and grace therefore have preeminence over law and flesh, 

… and are indeed at war, operating contrary and opposed to one another. 

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Therefore

—  Expel the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son

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…it is not about operating under the flesh but serving one another in love

where it is not about what I feel (submitting to the flesh)

… but about what God feels >> love

… therefore serving one another with the love of God

… e.g. when led by the Spirit in (the service to another of) love,

I will not gratify the desire of my flesh … of not wanting to do something good for another,

… which may be a natural desire

… for the heart, even of a child, is deceitful and desperately wicked, only known by the Lord…

…  For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit , and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to each other , so that you do not do what you want. … Galatians 5:17

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Noting that…

1 John 3:14 (NKJV)

–  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

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Therefore I know that I belong fully to Christ when I have overcome the flesh (through the Spirit),

… by crucifying the flesh with its passion and desires 

…  so that the [righteous and just]  requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not live our lives in the ways of the flesh [guided by worldliness and our sinful nature], but [ live our lives ] in the ways of the Spirit [guided by His power]…. Romans 8:4 (AMP)

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For the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death… Romans 8:2

… the law of the Spirit leads to life, the law of sin leads to death

…  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord…. Romans 6:23

…  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption , but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life…Galatians 6:8

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Romans 8: (BSB)

– 5 Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

– 6 The mind of the flesh is death , but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace ,

– 7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

– 8  Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.

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Galatians 5 (BSB)

-19. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery;

– 20. idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage; rivalries, divisions, factions,

– 21. and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

– 22.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

– 23. gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law ( no restrictions).

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Therefore

…… when we sow to the Spirit, we reap life & peace 

… whereas when we sow to the flesh, we reap corruption & death

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May the Lord help me to choose life so that me and my descendants (offspring, fruit or outcomes of my life) may live 

… have life everlasting and in abundance

… and that it may count for something into eternity

AMEN!

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1 Peter 1:22-25 (AMP)

Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves for a sincere love of the believers, [see that you] love one another from the heart [always unselfishly seeking the best for one another],

–  for you have been born again [that is, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] not of seed which is perishable but [from that which is] imperishable and immortal, that is, through the living and everlasting word of God.

–  For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,

–  BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” And this is the word [the good news of salvation] which was preached to you.

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~~~ •○• ~~~

In conclusion…

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There is an indication that life lived in the Spirit is not necessarily an easy one!

… that one has to cry out and travail (birth) to bear the good fruit of the spirit

… that indeed there is a cost to standing with and for the Lord & following & persevering in His ways

… but the eventual fruit is sweeter, much more, and lasts longer than any other

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>> Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted ; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him .    …James 1:12 (AMP)

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For..

>>  The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich (into eternity), and He addeth no sorrow with it… Proverbs 10:22

… basically, we can never lose or fall short with God!

… especially with the perspective that goes into eternity.

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Indeed…

>> There is a cost to incur or a cross to carry … Luke 14:25-33

>> The gate that leads to eternal life, is narrow and the path difficult and few find it… Matthew 7:14

>> But without faith it is impossible to please Him , for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him… Hebrews 11:6

>> There can be a testing of faith ( … through the difficulty we encounter) to develop our perseverance , which we should allow to finish its work in us so that we may be mature and complete , not lacking in anything… James 1:3-4

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Just like we see in the story of Job…

>>  Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one on earth like him, a man who is blameless and upright, who fears God and shuns evil.”… Job 1:8

The test of faith being for our blessing ( our own good)…

>> Blessed are those that are persecuted for righteousness or for Jesus, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.. Matthew 5:10-12

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For Abraham and Sarah

–  By faith Sarah, even though she was barren and beyond the proper age, was enabled to conceive a child, because she considered Him faithful who had promised ….Hebrews 11:11

–  But God replied, “Your wife Sarah will indeed bear you a son, and you are to name him Isaac. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him… Genesis 17:19

–  And Abraham and Sarah were already old and well along in years; Sarah had passed the age of childbearing…. Genesis 18:11

–  So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised….Genesis 21:2

–   And so from one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore…. Hebrews 11:12

–  His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh , but his son by the free woman was born through the promise …. Galatians 4:23

–  So it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children , but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as offspring…. Romans 9:8

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Basically

what God is allowed to participate in, is what He considers His.

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Therefore…

–  Let us hold resolutely to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful… Hebrews 10:23

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In summary

… in the beginning there was Sarah, ( representing spirit, grace…)

… but Hagar (… law, flesh…) was added into the marriage when the fruit of Sarah’s womb delayed 

… Sarah & Abraham had to first mature spiritually (90 & 100 years) before they could bear the fruit of promise by the Spirit

… fruit which can only be received by grace through faith and not works,

…  so that none may boast

…  and all the glory can be for God

… Eventually an Isaac is born

… who has to be separated from the  Hagar’s and Ishmael’s

… for the spirit and flesh are contrary and opposed to one another… Galatians 5:17

… all so that Isaac may be nurtured and matured to fulfill destiny.

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May the Lord God Almighty

fill us with His grace and truth

… and enable us to live in pleasing faith guided by His Spirit.

AMEN!!

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