God’s Good is Bigger Than Your Bad

God’s Good is Bigger Than Your Bad

Galatians 4:28-31 – 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.

Have you ever tried to help God out by taking matters into your own hands? If so, then you understand the mess of Abraham and Sarah.

After the establishment of God’s covenant in Genesis 15, Abram sought to take matters into his own hands by bearing a son with his Egyptian maidservant, Hagar (Genesis 16). Their actions were likely motivated at least in part by the fact that they had been waiting ten plus years for God to give them a child since He had promised to do so, and Abram was now eighty-six years old and his wife was perhaps sixty-five years old and barren.

Abram slept with Hagar and she bore him a son. And, in bitter irony, Sarai blamed Abram for the rift in their family because he slept with Hagar as Sarai wanted him too. Sarai mistreated Hagar which caused Hagar to flee from her.

But God intervenes as the hero of both this chapter of Genesis and the canon of Scripture altogether. And, just as God came searching for Adam and Eve in the Garden, the angel of the Lord came searching for Hagar in the desert. The angel of the Lord spoke to her to inquire of her circumstances. Hagar explained that she was running from the abusive Sarai. The angel of the Lord instructed Hagar to return to Sarai and trust that God would protect her and provide for her and her son like He had Abram. God also promised that her son would become the father of a great nation because he was a son of Abram, though not the son of the promise as that would eventually be Isaac. God also told Hagar that his name would be Ishmael, which means God hears, because God had heard her weeping and responded with kindness. God then promises that Ishmael would be a “wild donkey of a man” and that he would be a warrior in hostility with his brothers who would descend from Abram.

Paul’s point in Galatians is that law (trusting in what we do for God) and grace (trusting in what Jesus does for us) live together as miserably as two women with kids and one husband they both share. If you can imagine a family where a husband and wife with kids are divorced, then the husband remarries another woman and has more kids, and the two women hate one another but they all live under one roof as one family then you get the picture Paul is painting about the need to get law out of your life and live only in grace to have a healthy life and relationship with God.

Are you certain that you have trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and that there is nothing you can possibly do to make God love you more, or force Him to love you less?

Mark Driscoll
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