Faith + personal works = Mixture
Abraham slept with Hagar. because his wife Sarah was barren. perhaps common, we thought “faith without ‘personal works’ is dead”.
I would like to make a point of difference between ‘personal works’ and ‘Works of Faith’. simply ‘Works of Faith’ are Faith’s and ‘personal works’ are self effort works.
Abraham mixed Faith and ‘personal works’ – self effort. the self effort was his own effort in order to bear a child.
the Promise of God to Abraham to be a father was mainly that He becomes the father of many nations. but how? Sarah was barren?
self effort always yields a form of reward. don’t be surprise why the world is sometimes wealthier and better off than some Christians. the answer is simple. some Christians are lazy and some non-Christians are hard workers. the hard worker gets the reward of his effort while the other gets the reward of his effort (effort to be lazy) as well.
the reward of Abraham’s self effort was a child name Ishmael. Specifically, we know rewards are given for efforts. But blessings is not a reward. as to Ishmael, it was Works clearly NOT Grace.
Ishmael wasn’t born out of the Promise but born out of self effort called Personal Works.
Romans 4:4-5 (NIV)
4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 11:5-6 (NIV)
5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
Ishmael was the “Works of the Law”. in Galatians, Paul typifies Hagar as the Law and Sarah as Grace – the Promise
Galatians 4:21-31 (NIV)
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Who is your mother? Hagar? or Sarah?
Faith + Nothing = Grace
When Abraham was more than a 100 years old, his body was as good as dead, unable to bear a child. ask this question : can he ‘perform’ the Self Effort or the Work needed to create a child? when his body is as good as dead?
Romans 4:19 (NIV)
19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead
Hebrews 11:12 (NIV)
12 And so from this 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
There is even no point in trying! no enhancing pills yet those days! Plus, not to mention his wife Sarah to be barren and has past the child conceiving age. what a double negative!
The two impossible for Abraham
- Abraham has past the age of child bearing
- Sarah has past the age of conceiving & Is BARREN by default
Romans 4:18-20 (NIV)
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead —since he was about a hundred years old —and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God
The two impossible for God
- He does not change His mind
- He cannot change Himself
1 Samuel 15:29 (NIV)
29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”
Hebrews 6:18 (NIV)
18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged
therefore, God will definitely fulfill the promise to Abraham!
What about offering Isaac
God works best when our “self effort” is out of the way. God works best in circumstances when “we cannot do anything more”.
It is easy for God to work on the impossible not because He is God but simply because we have no part (self effort) in the process. It becomes difficult for God sometimes, because we are on the way slowing down the process
Hey! Hold on, did Abraham not offered Isaac? see! that is works!
Indeed it is works but it was the Faith working and not Abraham.
Let me ask. lets say you’re a father. Would you then give up your child unto certain death? me? my 4 lovely gifts from God, my precious children? no! and a big resounding NO WAY!
but will a father risk his life in order to save his own child? YES! I am more than willing to trade my life for one or all of my children. period.
paint this : Abraham after that long years at last had a child. born out of all the impossibilities. then God want him to offer his son as a sacrifice. uh oh.
for God sooooooooooooooooooooo loved the world that He gave His only Son. that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. amen.
now do you understand why God sooooooooooooooooooooo loved the world?
unless Faith does the work, Abraham could not have done it
now what about Abraham offering Isaac? Abraham did that out of Faith. It was clearly Faith itself at Work. Abraham saw God offering His own Son Jesus. all along, it was God who wanted to offer His one and only Son Jesus.
It was God who wanted to be the Father of us all through the death and resurrection of Jesus His Son. amen.
so who’s mother are you again? are you persecuted for preaching the true gospel which is Grace? then look this verse below
Galatians 4:29 (NIV)
29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now
persecuted? let me hug you brother, sister!
may you increase in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen
– grace and peace