A Seed of Promise vs. A Seed of the Flesh

Galatians 4:21-31 says, “21Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Although Abraham was 100 years old and Sara was 90, God promised them a child, and that their seed would be as the stars of the heavens and the sand on the seashore, prophetically speaking of both a heavenly and earthly seed. (Genesis 17:17; 21:5) According to Genesis 12:3, he had first received the promise of a seed at 75. So, he waited for a long twenty-five years, when it seemed like the promise would never come and that he was hopeless, but with God, all things are possible! Again, in order for a promised seed to come to fruition, it requires God to accomplish the work. We are never meant to live a life that does not require His power and presence, but we must live a life where we need Him each and every single day!

Even after receiving this promise, Sarai did not believe. She wanted to have it her way, but God is not Burger King. We cannot have it our way, but only His! Since it did not happen in her time, she gave up Hagar, who was her maid, to be Abraham’s wife, and they would bear a son named Ishmael. Immediately after this took place, family trouble arose, as Sarai despised Hagar and Ishmael. This was never part of God’s intention or original plan, but if we are not careful, we can get in the way of God’s plan, which produces a ripple effect. We have the right to make our own decisions, but we are never allowed to escape the consequences of those decisions! Don’t try to force God’s will and rust His timing for His promises to be fulfilled in your time. If you do your part, God will surely do His. He has not forgotten, neither is He liar. What He has promised, He is more than able to perform. Let God do it on His own terms, and everything will work out so much better that way!

Ishmael was a seed of flesh, but Isaac was a seed of promise. In Romans 9:6-9, Paul explains how that it was in Isaac that Abraham’s seed would be called (Genesis 17:15-19; 18:10; 25:1-34), but because someone is a Jew does not mean that they are seed of that promise. Instead, they are the children of the flesh, just as the grains of sand because we were created by the handiwork of God from the dust of the earth. They are Jew by the flesh, but we are the children of promise, meaning we are of a heavenly seed, because we are Jews by spirit, having our hearts circumcised from sin by faith. Fleshly works do not mean that we are in the divine will of God, but works proven by faith is what makes the difference!

In Galatians 4:21-31, Paul uses an analogy with the children of the flesh and the children of promise. Abraham had two sons, Isaac by a free woman, and Ishmael by a bondwoman. This signified two different covenants, an old one and the new. Ishmael was part of the covenant made at Sinai, referring to the old Levitical law. His seed was of fleshly, carnal works, but Isaac was the seed of promise that foreshadowed a new covenant made and was established by faith in God. Ishmael, who was born after the flesh, persecuted the son who was born of promise after the Spirit, and it is no different today. People who claim that they are part of a heavenly covenant in the church, yet who believe holiness is achieved by carnal works will persecute the newly born again Christian who has come out a horrible, messy world of sin and have been radically transformed by the tangible glory of God, all because they look a different work. They will even run them away from the church as though they are better off back out in the world. Holiness is not a dress code, but a code of conduct that is the result of a manifestation of a spiritual resurrection. Holiness is a spirit, and it can rest upon us if we have faith that abides by and within God’s Word! Yet, at the same time, the bondwoman, speaking of Hagar, and Ishmael were cast out of Abraham and Sara’s sight because the seed of flesh cannot be joint heirs with those who are of a seed of freedom. That vain, self-righteous, religious attitude will split hell wide open. It profits nothing, and at the judgment seat, it will produce no reward in God’s sight. It is not about religion, but a relationship, and that relationship comes through knowing God in prayer and devotion to His Word!

Isaac was a perfect picture of Jesus Christ. As the only promised son of Abraham, he would be taken by his father to Mount Moriah to be offered as a sacrifice out of obedience to the LORD. But Abraham had so much faith that he knew that if he offered Isaac for a sacrifice that God would raise him from the dead! (Hebrews 11:17-19) It was in the same place that the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, would be offered as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, paying a debt we could never afford to pay. Just as Isaac, Jesus was that promised seed! He was not a seed of flesh, but He was born from a virgin womb, one which was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost. He was a seed of promise that was destined to die in order to give us life and life more abundantly. If we believe on His Word, we too will walk in the promises that He has spoken over our lives. Do not be a seed of flesh that only seeks to fulfill carnal desires, but be a seed of promise, one in which lives, moves and breathes by the Spirit!