As Good as Dead

March 31, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Genesis | 14 Comments
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In Genesis 20 Abraham’s fault is not so much a failure of faith as it is the sin of a believer. Believers do still sin.

And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

Genesis 20:1

Abraham didn’t go all the way back down into Egypt, but he did go into enemy territory.

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah.

Genesis 20:2

Why didn’t he tell the whole truth? (Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister). The answer is because:

And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.

Genesis 20:11

He was more afraid of men than he was of God. He lost his testimony before an unbeliever. The lost Abimelech acted with more integrity than the saved Abraham. As Christians, unbelievers are going to call us hypocrites anyway, just because they are looking for an excuse. We must not give them good reason to do it.

Look at Abraham’s age when Isaac was born:

And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

Genesis 21:5

You may have heard the common expression, “as good as dead.” God was waiting for Abraham and Sarah to be as “good as dead,” because when the flesh is dead the Spirit gives new birth.

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Genesis 21:8-9

Ishmael was probably about 17 – why was a 17 year old mocking a 3 year old? Ishmael is a picture of the first birth – born of flesh. Hagar is a picture of the Law. Sarah is a picture of grace. Abraham is a picture of faith. The flesh (disciplined and corrected by the Law) hates the Spirit-nature (born by grace through faith) because it is free.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

Genesis 21:14

Grace came first; then the Law came. The Law can only give birth to slaves. Slaves to the Law can never be free. Grace makes slaves to Christ truly free.

And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

Genesis 21:8

Even the Spirit-man must be weaned, and must grow up. Babies hate their mothers as they are being weaned, but weaning is for their good – they must grow.

The Internal War

March 15, 2010 at 9:20 am | Posted in Genesis, Luke | 10 Comments
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Abraham was 85 years old. He had been walking with the Lord for 10 years. Abraham had not been perfect. He was still learning about faith, but he was in an unbreakable covenant with God.

God’s promise that Abraham and Sarah would have a child began to seem too long in its fulfillment. So, they did the opposite of exercising faith: they schemed (Genesis 16:1-4). This scheme involved Abraham conceiving a child with Sarah’s slave, Hagar, and it was a sinful scheme. Why was it sinful? Because whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

The child which Hagar conceived was named Ishmael. He was Abraham’s only child for 13 years, until God fulfilled His covenant promise with Abraham, and gave him a child by Sarah. This child was named Isaac (Genesis 21:1-3). Ishmael and Isaac could never co-exist peacefully, for God preordained them to be forerunners of the two types of men who can never get along, and are always at war with each other, even unto this day. Ishmael represents the man of flesh, born of faithlessness and sin, who can never change. Isaac represents the second birth – the spiritual “rebirth,” which is born of faith. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6; Galatians 4:29).

These two “men,” or “natures,” are at war with each other within each and every man, woman, and child who has trusted Jesus Christ as his/her Savior. The descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac are at war with each other in the Middle East today, and they will continue until Christ Himself puts a stop to it. In the mortal bodies of Christians, the flesh-man and the Spirit-man war, as well. The flesh may be, to some extent, disciplined, controlled, and even mortified (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), but it will never be changed. If you are a Christian, which man will win the war in your body – the flesh-man or the Spirit-man? The obvious answer is: whichever is stronger. But, which is the stronger? The answer to that is: the one which you feed the most. Make sure you are feasting daily on the spirit-strengthening, life-giving bread of the Word of God.

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Luke 4:4


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