by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 4 Paragraph # 4 Study # 9 January 20, 2013 Dayton, Texas
30 Nevertheless 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.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
1901 ASV Translation:
30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman.
31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.
I. The Consequence of Persecution.
A. Paul's question.
1. Strong adversative idea.
2. Appeal to "the Writing".
3. Present tense verb: what is the Writing saying about the continuing reality of the persecution of the child of the Spirit by the child of the flesh?
a. At issue is the continuing reality. "As it was then, so it is now..." means this is an enduring reality as long as there are two opposite types of "born ones".
b. The present tense verb indicates that what was imposed then will be imposed now.
B. Paul's quote: Genesis 21:10 and, by extension, 21:12.
1. The biblical solution was a solution by excommunication and, just as it was imposed then, so should it be imposed now.
2. The difference is that "now" there is no "Abraham" to execute the command. This means that, since the promise was made to Abraham and to Christ as his Seed, Christ is the current executor of the command. It will be Christ Who decides both who is the "child according to flesh" and when both his "mother" and himself will be cast out.
a. Even initially, when this problem came up between Hagar and Sarah, there was an extended period of time in which the persecution was allowed to go forward and then there was "judgment day" when Abraham ordered Hagar to leave. This sets up a "pattern" that enables us to understand two things: persecution will be tolerated for a season; and there will be an end to it.
1) In the Bible there is a lot of "instruction" regarding how much one can engage in this principle of separation.
a) At the most critical level of interpersonal relationships (marriage), a "persecuted" person is significantly restrained from "separation" (divorce). It is allowed, but the allowance is severely limited.
b) At a less critical level (participation in the family of God -- "church"), those who are "persecuted" are allowed to press their grievances unto "separation" (i.e. "excommunication"), but only after a definitive process has been followed (Matthew 18).
c) At the societal level, those who are "persecuted" are rather rigidly restricted as "slaves" have little "biblical" recourse under their masters and the prosecution of "persecutors" under law requires that the laws allow it.
2) Sarah was within her "rights" as the wife of Abraham to insist that Hagar be banished from the extended household, and God backed her up because it was Abraham's failure of faith that created the scenario in the first place.
b. The problem most men have with most of what God says and does is the brevity of their personal experience with those sayings and doings. The promise of a Redeemer took 4,000 years to come to its "fulness of time". No single individual lived through the process and huge multitudes of individuals made the mistake of denying the truth because their own individual experience of the process did not see the beginning or the end. To deny God's truth because of one's limited brevity in this world requires a rather silly attitude.
c. The excommunication of the "bondwoman" signals the reality of Truth's boundaries. Not all ideas are true and it is not a bad thing to expose and reject them. In the day of judgment, people are not the only entities that will be "exposed", "rejected", and "consigned to perdition"; so also will be "ideas" that have their genesis in hateful rebellion against God. Judgment will bring all things to light and both the ideas and those who embraced them will be revealed and dealt with according to omnipotence guided by wisdom.