Issac and Ismael represent two types of birth. They also represent two personalities: character, demeanor, etiquette, humility/pride, and son/stepson.
In Christianity, we use the term “born again.” But even in our age, there seem to be two types of birth as well. Here in Galatians,
Galatians 4:29 AMP : “But as at that time the child [of ordinary birth] born according to the flesh persecuted the son who was born according to [the promise and working of] the Spirit, so it is now also.”
Ismael was Abraham’s son born of the flesh or by human effort. God still blessed him because Ismael was part of Abraham’s decedent. In the corporate church, there are Christians who are born of the flesh. They are conceptual Christians who have come to believe through a need or desperation. They may have grown up in church without pursuing a real relationship with Jesus because their parents had brought them to church. They may have gotten saved through peer pressure. But for whatever motive other than actually coming to true repentance and acceptance, many people have become Christians through other paths and belief systems. Born of the flesh, Christians generally will persecute the spiritual Christians as Ismael did to Issac. They are very jealous people. They may be loud and rude with no respect for authority, as Hagar became to Sarah.
Born of the flesh, Christians can become born of the Spirit Christians when they truly turn all of their heart back to God, humbling themselves in full repentance. This is why the Bible states that many can possess spiritual gifts and have done miraculous works for God, and yet God can say HE does not know them on Judgment Day. They are still all under One covering. But still in the garden are tares and goats. We may have all started out as goats, tares, or fleshy Christians, but we can change through the power of the Holy Spirit and coming to full obedience and surrender.
We cannot determine our entry to heaven based on our gifts, works, or our position. We must work on our character as we seek the will of the Father for our lives. The Bible says that only those who do the Will of the Father will enter heaven. We are saved by Grace. This means we all get a chance, but now that we are saved, we must act and live as saved people and no longer live like doomed unbelievers. Action must preside with our faith, and as the Bible says, “Faith without action is dead and useless.”
People become very prideful of their spiritual gifts, wealth, and position and neglect the very important parts of salvation, which are regeneration and transformation. We must humble and die to ourselves in our tests, allowing the Holy Spirit to renew and change us. Otherwise, the contrary is to fight back and blame everyone else and continue to be immature as we physically age.
May we be a people regenerated and transformed, born of the Spirit rather than play actors. Your humility, obedience, and unwillingness to get offended will lead you to a new You. Or you can just stay offended and mock authorities and be an Ismael. He was still blessed as twelve nations, which represent earthly physical blessings, but he was rejected from the inheritance of God!
Pastor Steve Kim