The Gospel = “A Calling Out” into Separation
1) A Calling Out: Separation Continued
“In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:7)
As it is commonly understood among all true Christians, the New Testament Gospel-calling is for sinners who were once “without Christ”, “having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12), but the Jews were sinners too, my reader! The Jews were born sinners just like the Gentiles! Do you know what that means, my reader? All the Jews which were the children of Abraham according to the flesh, were sinners, but all the Jews who were the children of Abraham according to the flesh and spirit, were saints. The Jews must be born again! Consider Isaac, the aforementioned example cited from Romans 9:7. Consider Ishmael, cited in Galatians 4:28-31 in the adjacent text-box. Consider the over-arching theme of Israelite Church History presented in Romans 9:6-7, that not all physical Israelites are spiritual Israelites, so to speak. Not all of the physical seed of Abraham are the spiritual seed of Abraham, so to speak. Not all physical Jews are the real Jews, so to speak. What does it all mean?
My reader, it means just what scripture said! This is not confusing. At first, every physical son of Abraham was lost and without God just like the Gentiles are, that is, as long as they continue to be once-born Jews according to the flesh. By the second birth men became true Jews according to the Spirit, even back in Abraham and Isaac’s day (according to Galatians 4:28-31 & Romans 9:6-7)! This means that until the second-birth, they too had their “understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18), just like the Gentiles, despite any benefits which may accompany the Jewish lineage (Rom. 3:1-2, 9:4-5). This reality is plainly stated by God in the description of the 1st century Jews after the flesh: “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear… their eyes [were] darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway” (Rom. 11:8-10). My reader, these spiritually-blinded Jews were men who claimed their right to salvation simply because they were the physical seed of Abraham (“We have Abraham to our father”-Lk.3:8)… but how blinded they were!
As the aforementioned examples of darkened Jews, so it was for Ishmael, Esau, and all those like them. They were enemies of the Gospel-calling, my reader. They were castaways of “the called out ones”. They were born unto Abraham after the flesh, yet never born into him, or God, after the Spirit. The Apostle Paul cites the perpetuity of “the second-birth Gospel” as an Old Testament and New Testament reality in Galatians 4:28-30, my reader! Paul emphasized that the seed of Abraham was at enmity one with another in two representative spiritual families, and he states that, as it was then, even so it is now in the New Testament dispensation: “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now” (Gal. 4:29). Could this be any clearer? This is an inerrant interpretation of Jewish Church History. The two different origins of birth represent two different, irreconcilable families, families that are without friendship, so that for the security of salvation with the second-born Family of God, there was a necessity of separation. Thus it was said, not by Sarah alone, but (as Paul declares), by the Holy Ghost: “cast out the bondwoman and her son” (Gal. 4:30)! Because of what is unquestionably clear let me question you again, my reader: do you know that the spiritual reality of being “born again” is here affirmed to be an OT and NT means of salvation (here in Galatians 4:28-30)? Jesus Christ shamed Nicodemus for his ignorance of the second birth Gospel-call of salvation! Jesus Christ understood this to reveal just how fallen and degenerate Israel was, that their pastoral rulers like Nicodemus knew nothing of the second birth. Expressing this, Jesus said, “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things” (John 3:10)? What about you, my reader? What about us?
It is important to note that the verse, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:7), was quoted by Paul from Genesis Chapter 21. Paul was making theological conclusions about salvation and Church History while under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Please consider the passage which was available to Paul, my reader. Can you detect God’s argument?
“And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age. 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. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, CAST OUT this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed. 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 21:1-14).
The Lord “called” forth the promised child, Isaac, into a second birth and spiritual inheritance (Gal. 4:28-31, Gal. 3:14), and this calling – without exception – brings men unto God in saving separation and holiness. In the same breath in which Isaac was called, simultaneously, that which was of the flesh was cast away. Isaac was “called” away from the flesh, and, thus, Ishmael was “cast out” from the Spirit of God. How was Ishmael discerned as a once-born imposter who could not dwell together in unity with the people of God? The once-born child was “mocking”, as Genesis 21 revealed. This “mocking” was a small example of what Paul interpreted as a lifestyle of all-out persecution proportionate to the spiritual enmity that existed between the two children, the once-born against the twice-born. This was not some happenchance and childish mocking, as some might suppose. This “mocking” was a first-mention exemplification of a whole race of Last Day people who are called “mockers”. Jude said, “there should be mockers in the Last Time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 1:18). Such men are of the same spiritual family which God forced Jeremiah to separate from, Jeremiah confessing, “I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of Thy hand: for Thou hast filled me with indignation” (Jer. 15:17). So what is this once-born “mocker”, Ishmael, doing in the assembly of The Church in Abraham’s day? God said to Abraham, “in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice” (Gen. 21:12). She said, “the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son” (Gen. 21:10), and she was right.
How could a once-born child of Abraham be an heir to the Kingdom of God, which is Heaven? This blessing belongs to the twice-born spiritual sons of Abraham and God, the true heirs (Gal. 4:28-31, Gal. 3:14). Thus, in confirmation to this, the New Testament warns men of heaven and hell in these terms: “the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 6:19-21, Eph. 5:5). Even though Ishmael was physically circumcised, his physical circumcision was accounted by God as uncircumcised because he failed to “keep the righteousness of the Law” (Rom. 2:26), he was a mocker. Ishmael was a mocker (a presumptuous sinner and a scorner) --- to whom, God said, “cast out” and “cut off” (Prov. 22:10, Num. 15:30-31, Gen. 17:14). I repeat, Ishmael’s lack of spiritual circumcision was manifest in that he failed to “keep the righteousness of the Law” by faith through grace via regeneration, thus he was not a real son of Abraham according to God (Rom. 2:25-29).
By the chronicles of salvation in their very beginnings as traced from the life of Abraham and Isaac, we can understand the argument of God which develops as follows.
#1) Abraham was called out into separation & holiness from Terah.
BY LAW => circumcision (both physical and spiritual) sanctified the “called out” company, and without it all men were “cut off” (Gen. 17:14).
#2) Isaac was called out into separation & holiness from Ishmael.
Ishmael was physically circumcised but he was still cast away. Galatians 4:28-31 explains that he was once-born and unspiritual, and therefore excommunicated from those who were twice-born and spiritual. By the language of shadows given in the Law we can understand that, to be born again is to be circumcised again. The first and physical birth into Abraham’s family and the first and physical circumcision of the Law are of no profit if there is no second birth and second circumcision, spiritually speaking.