Sermon Series: The Patriarchal Period
We are reminded in the sermon this morning of the movie Hacksaw Ridge. As you know in the movie, there’s violence and also some thinks it had Christian overtones. But of course, with careful research we’ll understand that the protagonist was not a Christian, rather a Seventh Day Adventist. And as you know the the 7th Day Adventists is a false religion. They are legalists. They follow most mosaic laws such as most specifically sabbath-keeping on a Saturday.
Now, if we’re gonna look at the 1st century, the time of Paul, we’ll see also a faith group like them, the Judaizers. They were also legalists who claim that one must be circumcised and have faith in Christ in order to get right with God. And we will see in Galatians 4, Paul rebukes that, saying that if we believe such doctrines, then we will remain slaves, instead of having Freedom of Sonship
Turn with me to Galatians 4:21-5:1. We have also read our text for today as well which is Genesis 21:8-13 but we will read Galatians 4:21-5:1:
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.” Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
The Judaizers were a group of professing believers (professing the salvation of Christ) but they try indoctrinate the Gentile Christians of their time to by being under the Mosaic law. Kumbaga hindi enough yung faith mo kay Christ. Kailangan mom aging under the Jewish or Mosaic law pa rin. Specifically, the Judaizers wanted the Christians of that time (specifically the Gentile Christians) they wanted the Gentile Christians to be circumcised in order to make it right with God. Faith in Christ – that’s fine but you need to be circumcised to be identified as a Jew. To be identified as part of the Mosaic covenant.
And so Paul spends most of the chapters of Galatians to warn the Gentile Christians that that wasn’t the gospel that he preached. Hindi yan yung gospel na binigay ko sainyo. He was saying that those who think that they are still under the Mosaic law were truly slaves and they are not yet free. That they were trying to make it right with God through their own works, through their own rituals. But that’s not the gospel of grace. Yes, the mosaic law, all these sacrificial systems were given by God in the old covenant but that is done. Tapos na yan. It has no effect anymore. The circumcision is not a law anymore that you need to do in order for you to make it right with God. Hindi na yan kailangan sabi ni Paul. That’s not the gospel of grace that I preached to you. So in Galatians 4, Paul went to back to Genesis 21 to prove his point. Bumalik siya sa sermon series natin sa Genesis 21. He interprets Genesis 21 it allegorically by assigning meanings to the fugures/characters in Genesis 21. That is how he interpreted it allegorically. Paul was making a distinction kung sino yung free at kung sino yung slave. Of course, when Paul interprets the Scripture allegorically that is a Divine interpretation. Baka naman lahat ng characters sa Bible ay bigyan na rin natin ng kakaibang meaning na hindi connected sa Bible, hindi connected sa New Testament. Wag po natin yung gawin. But Paul can do that. He has such authority as an Apostle given to him by Christ. So again, Paul was making a distinction. He used Genesis 21 to prove his point na mayroong distinction between a slave and also a free man. The one who is free from sin and one who is still a slave to sin. The one who’s under grace and someone who’s under the law. Again, when we a say ‘under the law’ what we mean is that they see the law as their ladder to God. Meaning they think they can access God by following the Mosaic law. He used Genesis 21 to make such distinctions. Ito sila, slaves. Ito sila, free.
So there are two distinctions. Unang una sabi ni Paul there are two mothers – si Hagar and si Sarah. Hagar was indeed a slave. She was a servant of Sarah. Sarah was not the slave. Sarah was a freewoman. She is free. And so, Paul is saying, you’re either from Hagar or from Sarah. The Judaizers are slaves. They are from Hagar. He is interpreting it allegorically dahil tingin nila kailangan nila Mosaic law in order to make it right with God so therefore they are slaves to that doctrine. Salves to the law in that sense. They are like Hagar that’s what he was saying. Another distinction na sinabi ni Paul dito. Since there are two mothers, there are two sons. One is either a spiritual Ishmael and the other is a spiritual Isaac. If you are a slave, if you think that you need the law to make it right with God then you of Hagar. Hagar was a mother of a son who is Ishmael then you are also like Ishmael because he is the son the slave woman. But if think that you don’t need the law in order to make it right with God that is full grace, then you are of Sarah. And Sarah had a son whose name was Isaac, and you are like Isaac then, a free man who came from a free woman. So ginagamit niya itong mga characters na ito para magbigay ng meaning para mas maintindihan ng mga Christians noong time niya. And lastly, Paul said that the Judaizers in his time were like the present Jerusalem – the Jerusalem now meaning the citizens of a city that needs reformation in their hearts. Yung old Jerusalem na kailangang baguhin, they are like that that’s what he is saying. But the true Christians sabi ni Paul, saved by the grace of God are from a different Jerusalem. They are not from the Jerusalem now; they are from the Jerusalem new (new Jerusalem) To be specific what he said here ‘Jerusalem above.’ They come from a heavenly city and ibig niyang sabihin. They are citizens of the Jerusalem above. They are part of the church if they believe in grace. They are free and they are not slaves. What we have here is that, Paul was looking back at the story of Isaac, the story of Ishmael in order to prove a point that there were two mothers, two sons, obviously there are two covenants (mosaic and then the new one), there are two cities (present Jerusalem that needs reformation and the Jerusalem above cannot be seen, heavenly city Jerusalem which also points to the people of God), and two families that of Hagar and that of Sarah. And as he was talking to his fellow brothers and sisters in Galatia, Paul, he was saying – You were like Ishmael, slaves to the law meaning you can’t obey it, you are under that law. But now you were like Isaac, who was free. These Judaizers, they are like Ishmael now. They are from the old Jerusalem. They are of Hagar. But you Gentile Christians, you don’t follow these doctrines coming from the Judaizers. That wasn’t the gospel that I preached to you. I preached to you a gospel that you need to have faith in Christ alone, faith alone, by grace alone that’s it. You don’t\ need circumcision to make it right with God and if you believe that therefore, you are like Isaac, you are from the family of Sarah, and you are not from the old Jerusalem rather you are from the Jerusalem above. So see, yung mga images na ginagamit niya, how he interprets these things and give meanings to what was existing during that time.
So, Paul’s message is basically, you are either an Isaac or an Ishmael. But see, everyone there was an Ishmael. All were slaves and Christ was the one who made them free to become like Isaac. That’s my message this afternoon. “From spiritual slavery, Christ has delivered us into spiritual freedom.” Mula sa spiritwal na pagka-alipin, dinala tayo ni Kristo sa ating spiritwal na kalayaan. That’s what happened to us, Christians. Now, so what kind of freedom did Christ bring? We are saying that we are free. Paul says that you are like Isaac, Jerusalem above, you are of Sarah, you are free, not a slave. What does that mean? First point, Freedom from Slavery and lastly to explain that, Freed for Sonship.
Let’s consider the first point: Freedom from Slavery. So, Paul makes that distinction clear here. There are those who are still slaves, and there are those who are free. The main argument is in chapter 5 verse 1. Paul says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Paul says if you are indeed free, if Christ had freed you, if you are indeed children of Sarah the free woman, if you are indeed citizens from the Jerusalem above, if you are from the heavenly city, then why would you listen to these Judaizers? Bakit gusto niyo pang bumalik sa slavery? Nakalaya ka nan ga doon, bakit gusto mo pa bumalik? Yan yung sinasabi dito ni Paul. If you go back to your legalistic ways which you were doing specifically mga Jewish, mga Gentiles did not have such Mosaic law. Paul says don;’t go back to such yoke of slavery. The imagery here is of a slave that has a metal collar around his neck and his hands are cuffed – that kind of slavery. So, Paul asks, do you want to get back to that? You want to go back do that? Why would you go back to the old covenant, with the works-based principle (do this and live, do this and be accepted by God), thinking that your works can earn your way to God? Why would you go back to that? Paul says why would you go back to that knowing that Christ Himself fulfilled the law and died on the cross for the sins He didn’t commit? Bakit ka ulit babalik eh namatay na si Kristo, nabuhay si Kristo ng walang kasalanan para saiyo, bakit mo pa ibabalik yung old covenant? Bakit ka pa babalik sa works-based principle (you do it so that you can be accepted by God) when if fact Christ already did that and was accepted by God. Why? Why would you go back to the sacrifice of bulls and sheep when the Sacrificial Lamb has already been offered and has been accepted by God the Father Himself? Why? Why do you need to use your hands for circumcision so that you’d be right with God, if the hands of Christ can circumcise your hearts? Why Paul was saying.
What was his argument? Yun yung argument ni Paul sa Galatians. Paul was saying if you have received the gospel of grace… then you are free from these things. And how did you get free? Who freed you? Jesus Christ! The One who perfectly obeyed the law, because all of us are sinners who can’t perfectly obey God. Jesus Christ, the One who died on the cross as punishment for the sins he did not commit. Friends, if you are not in Christ, then you are still under the law thinking that you can get access to God by obeying that law. You think, I need to be kind, I need to be charitable, I need to be a good wife, a good husband, a good son, a good daughter so that God will see my goodness, my kindness, and I will be accepted by God. Oh, no! No! No one is good. Christ is the only One good. Friends, if you are not in Christ, you are under that law and under that thinking na you would think that based on who you are, what you can do, God can accept you. But you need to accept the fact that no one is good, that we are all sinners. And it was only Christ who was accepted, who was acceptable. His works were accepted by God. His person was the only acceptable person in the eyes of the Father. So, if you are not in Christ, then you are a slave to sin, and you are not free then you are from the old Jerusalem, you are of the family of Hagar, you are like Ishmael, then you need to repent of your sins and come to faith in Christ. But if you are in Christ, brethren, remember, you are free. You are free. But this doesn’t mean that you are free to sin. It doesn’t mean that after this sabi ni Pastor free pala ako eh so okay I can continue with that sinful relationship, okay, I can be just disrespectful to my parents, no need to apologize to them. No! You are not free to sin rather you are freed from sin, from its bondage. You are now free from the bondage of sin. You are now free to enjoy God. To enjoy obeying God. You are now free. Before hindi ka free to obey Him in fact you don’t want to. Now, that’s true freedom. True freedom is freedom to obey, to be the slave of the Master, our Lord Jesus Christ. True freedom is freedom to obey Jesus Christ. True freedom from slavery is to be a slave of our Master Jesus Christ. Sabi ni Christ, John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Hindi niya sinabi if you love me oh you can profess that you believe in me but go one, go ahead and live your own life. No! You are to be in obedience to His precepts. If we’re still trying to gain acceptance from God, yes even Christians, sometimes we are tempted to think that way. Sometimes we think that we gain acceptance from God in some good works na ibinibigay natin or ginagawa natin sa mundong ito. Well, there’s a temptation there to be in spiritual slavery. You won’t be free if you trust your own works. Don’t go back to Hagar. Don’t’ go back to the old Jerusalem. Don’t be like Ishmael. Be like Isaac. Be in the Jerusalem above. Remember that you are free. You know, when a former convict who had remorse for what he has done is freed kapag siya ay pinalaya, siya ay talagang nagkaroon ng remorse, nagsisisi siya sa kaniyang ginawa at siya’y ay nakalaya na. Makikita mo yung kasiyahan sa kanyang mata. You’ll see that joy in his eyes. But he was freed not to do the same crime again. He’s freed but not free to obey the country’s law. Kumbaga finree siya hindi para maging magnanakaw ulit, murderer ulit, oh he is still under that law. Ganun din po tayo. Tayo ay nakalaya na. It doesn’t mean na hindi tayo susunod sa batas ng Panginoon, all the more na makikita natin yung delight ng batas ng Panginoon. All the more na mas ma e-enjoy natin ang pagsunod sakanya because we are created in a way to obey his commandments. The same with us, as citizens of heaven we have a law, and that’s the law of God. We have been freed from making that our means to get to God. We have been freed from making that our means to get to God from that. Christ already did that for us. Our freedom is a freedom to obey God’s laws. That is the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. So ang challenge ko po sa lahat, as free citizens of the Jerusalem above, resist any legalistic tendencies and rest in the true freedom brought by Christ. Kung ikaw ay na kay Kristo, malaya kang mamamayan. Kaya alisin mo sa isipan moyang mga ugali mong legalistic at and mag-rest ka sa totoong kalayaan na dala ni Kristo. If we think that since we are Christians, we don’t have such tendencies, you are wrong. Nagkakamali po tayo doon. I am sure and I hope that as we live our Christian lives now, we have that desire to please the Lord. That we often forget that we do have legalistic tendencies. That we see things dependent on our works. And so, when we do something for God, we expect something in return. That’s legalistic. Thinking you can earn it. It’s not motivated by love. It’s not motivated by joy. It’s law-keeping just so you’d get your wages. Remember that our relationship with God is based on grace, not works. While we do have a responsibility to obey God, and by His grace He does reward us with His goodness. It is not because of what we can do, or who we are. It’s because Christ is good. It’s because Christ did the good work for us. Now, that is freedom! That is true freedom brethren. So, rest in that.
You’ve heard of an unconverted Martin Luther. In his time when he was unconverted, that’s what I meant. He is converted and he is enjoying heaven right now. But you heard of his life when he was unconverted, who thinks that good works will earn him the approval of God. What then was the effect of it? Ano yung epekto nun kay Martin Luther nung may ganun siyang theology/doktrina sa mind niya? Frustrations, weariness, kapaguran, hanggang kelan itong confession ko? Hanggang kelan itong prayers ko? Hanggang kelan itong sacraments ko? Hanggang saan ang hangganan para maging katanggap tanggap ako sa Panginoon? Ganun ang frustration ni Martin Luther. Yun ba ang malaya? Is that freedom? Hindi yun kalayaan. Ang naramdaman ni Martin Luther basically the opposite of rest. And even though we are converted already such frustrations and weariness may also happen to us if we think like the old unconverted Luther. We think like that. That happens still. Or our legalistic tendencies would be make its way to others’ consciences. Pwede din yun. That we bind other’s consciences and set man-made laws. Ay hindi sya Calvinist, I can’t fellowship with that person. Ay hindi sila naghohomeschool, wag natin isama sa fellowship ng mga mothers. Ay galing sila rito sa church na to. Ay hindi sila nagbibigay.We set such man-made also and bind the consciences of others. Mga kaibigan pwede sa iyo yan within you or you may extend such legalistic tendencies to others. Mga kapatid, the Gospel frees us from such. The Gospel frees us from condemnation. So don’t put on that yoke on yourself or. To others. Huwag mo ilagay yang yoke na yan sa iba na that says, “you’re not free in Christ.” Don’t! So, kapatid, are you free in Christ? Are you obeying God because you know there’s something in return? Do you look at your relationship with God as works-based? Not grace-based? Are you free in Christ? A heavenly citizen of the Jerusalem above? Don’t trade your freedom for anything, don’t impose anything to others that will bind their consciences. Resist any legalistic tendencies and rest in the true freedom brought by Christ! Now, more than just mere freedom from slavery, in Christ we have a new kind of relationship with God. That’s my last point: Freed for Sonship. So, Paul quotes a passage in Isaiah in verse 27 he says, “Rejoice o barren one who does not bear, break forth and cry aloud.” He was referring to Sarah the barren one who now has Isaac and also will have more descendants. Magkakaroon pa ng mga descendants si Isaac. And now, Paul was saying that it’s indeed a reason for rejoicing because just as Sarah now had Isaac, the promise was fulfilled. Rejoice. Dati barren siya ngayon hindi na. Rejoice. Sarah also the mother, that corresponds Jerusalem above sabi ni Paul, she also had many spiritual children because of Christ. Just as Sarah now had Isaac, rejoice oh barren one. But Sarah also as a spiritual mother to the spiritual children of Abraham, more so, rejoice, Paul says. And so Paul encourages the Christians that they are like Isaac. Kung talagang kayo ay naniniwala sa grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone then, you are like Isaac, children of promise. Then Sarah is like your spiritual mother. Abraham is like your spiritual father. And just like Isaac too, who was persecuted by his brother Ishmael you too, will be persecuted but also just as Ishmael was kicked out and he did not inherit the land. Ishmael did not inherit the material blessings because he was kicked out and he did not inherit the land. Ishmael did not inherit the material blessings because he was kicked out/cast out. Only Isaac, the child of promise inherited these things. Now, ibalik natin doon sa spiritual comparison. So too, these Gentile Christians who are the spiritual children of Sarah are the ones who will inherit the blessings of God. If you are like Ishmael, you are a slave to the law, to sin, you think you can make it right with God by your works, then you are like Ishmael. And you know what? You will be like Ishmael, cast out because the promise is inherited by Isaac. And if you are like Isaac, you inherit the promise. That’s what Paul is saying. You’re a part of it. And there is indeed a reason to rejoice. But see, we as Christians, again are inheritors of these blessings not because of what we have done but because of the better Isaac. It’s because of the true Son who has accomplished the Father’s will. Because He died on the cross, we have been invited to the family of the Lord. We are now members of the household of Abraham but primarily ultimately the household of God. We have been made sons like Isaac because the true son of the promise accomplished the purpose of God and that is Jesus Christ. Since we have been made sons by the True Son of the Promise, we also get the inheritance that the Savior has accomplished. Scripture says we are co-heirs with Christ. But also, we can look at it that way. You do understand the term in union with Christ. Ephesians 1:3-14 tell us, ‘Blessed be the God our Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” We are in Christ to be sanctified in Christ. We have redemption in Christ. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit in Christ. You see such passages that tells that the believer is in union in Christ. And so, knowing that, that we are in union with Him, what He receives because of what He accomplished we also receive. If He has accomplished the purpose of the Father and He has inherited all these things because we are in union with Christ, we also inherit such things. 1 Corinthians 6:17 tell us, “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Christ is being described here and again also in Ephesians 1 as being one with His people. So again, if He has inherited blessings from God, we too inherited them. Now, ano itong mga inheritance na ito? It’s everything that the Father gives to the Son. What is the inheritance? It’s everything that the Father gives to the Son. To be Accepted by God as His own. To be freed. To be justified. To be sanctified. In the future to be glorified. And again, that extends to all things that was given to the Son. You are in Christ; you inherit these things. Again, I’ve mentioned a while ago the beatitudes tell us, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth! It is given to the Son. You are co-heirs with the Son. You inherit such. And most importantly. Ano yung pinka grabeng inheritance natin sa Panginoon? 1 Peter 3 tells us if God has given us all these things ito pa yung pinaka maganda diyan. 1 Peter 3:18 – Because Christ also and died once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous. Ito yung sinasabi niya bakit? That He (Christ) might bring us to God. That is the best inheritance. For God to give Himself to us. Ano ba naman yung mga na-inherit? Ano ba naman yung Diyos mismo giving Himself to us. We have all these things because of Christ and most importantly we have God. Alam niyo usually, ang pinag-aawayan ng mga kapatid, ay yung mamanahin mula sa magulang. Although it’s wrong, some would do anything to get their inheritance. If such people would do anything for it, paano pa tayo? We never worked for God’s inheritance. It was Christ who earned it for us. And our inheritance is far greater than any earthly inheritance.If someone wants the inheritance na makukuha niya sa kanyang magulang, what more tayo hindi ba natin gugustuhin yun? Inheritance ng panginoon sa atin. So my last challenge for everyone: As adopted children of God, reflect on the inheritance we have in Christ and rejoice inHim! Bilang pag-ampon sa atin ng Panginoon, tayo’y magalak sa mga pamanang ito sa pamamagitan ni Kristo saatin! Sab isa 1 John 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so, we are. Kung ang ama ay mahal na mahal niya ang kanyang anak at gusto niya ibigay lahat ng bagay, lahat ng mga bagay naikabubuti ng anak ganun din ang ginawa ng Diyos Ama sa kaniyang Diyos Anak. At dahil tayo ay in union with His Son, natanggap din natin lahat yun. The treasures we have in Christ are overwhelmingly astounding. Have we reflected on these things? Or maybe we’re too occupied with mundane things that bring nothing but worry in our hearts? That’s why we’re so miserable about everything. Brethren, you have such endless inheritance in Jesus Christ. Reflect on that!
An unconverted JI Packer (when he was uncoverted) was listening to a faithful biblicalpreaching in his former church. Yung first nung preaching na yun sobrang inantok siya. Sabi niya he was bored. But when the preacher challenged the congregation to evaluate themselves, tinanong nung preacher, “Nasan na kayo ngayon? Estado ng buhay niyo?” Of course, in english. They were called to evaluate themselves whether or not they were in the faith. Natauhan daw si JI Packer that time. And that time, he surrendered his life to Christ and and he got converted. Since then, he became so zealous in teaching. Kasama niya si Martin Lloyd Jones. Talagang sila ay nagtatayo pa ng mga Puritan conferences in their time. He was so zealous that he wrote a book called ‘Knowing God.’ I believe it’s one of the best books in reformed theology I would say. Sabi niya dito sa lbrong ito and I think this is the most highlighted doctrine in that book. And that is Gods adoption. He said, “Adoption is that it is the highest privilege that gospel offers: higher even than justification.” Imagine he it’s even higher than justification. It is higher than God not condemning you anymore. Adoption is even greater than that sabi ni JI Packer. And he said, “To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.” And if you are in Christ, you are loved and cared for by this Father, brethren. Loved in a way that you also received the inheritance that His Son accomplished and received. Are you occupied by earthly things? Are you so worried about what’s temporary? Do we sometimes think and act as if Christ didn’t accomplish all of these things for us? Are you in the faith? (I ask that not to question your faith but also to evaluate where you are) And if you are in Christ, then you are a son. You are a daughter of a great God. And you have inherited all of His blessings. And most importantly, you have inherited Christ Himself. God didn’t just send His Son to live and die. God gave us Christ. And if you are in Him, you have received Him. You are in union with Him. And everything He has accomplished you also inherit and received. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ freed us from the yoke of slavery and gave us our ultimate inheritance, and that is none other than Himself. God. Jesus Christ. We are in union with Him, therefore what He inherits, we also inherit. May the Word of God enrich our knowledge of Him, and may it stir us to live in light of these truths.
Transcribed by: Jen Cordero