Throughout the Bible, the concept of getting rid of the old in order to embrace the new and putting off or putting away something in order to put on or get to that next level is a prevalent theme. You simply cannot hold on to your past or some sin or idol or bad attitude or unforgiveness and receive that which pertains to your future, at the same time.
In Luke 5:36-38, Jesus wisely said:
- “No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.”
In 2 Kings 23:24-25, King Josiah understood the concept of putting away sin and sinful practices completely, in order to move forward with God. The scripture states:
- “Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, DID JOSIAH PUT AWAY, THAT HE MIGHT PERFORM the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the Lord. And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might…”
The Bible story of Abram and Sarai (whose names God changed to Abraham and Sarah) is well known. God had promised Abram that he would be a father of many nations but as the years rolled on, his wife did not conceive.
It reached the point where Sarai concluded that it must be that God meant that her husband Abram would have a child by another woman, given that her womb was obviously barren and she was now too old (in her mind) to have children.
She therefore decided to give her maid to Abram in marriage (back then, it was normal to marry more than one wife), so that Abram would have offspring.
She limited God’s power and acted in desperation and faithlessness. For, although Hagar her maid did get pregnant and had a son called Ishmael, this was not the son that God had promised. It was never his plan for Abram to marry Hagar and to have children through her but to miraculously raise up both Sarai and Abram’s old bodies, so that Sarai would be able to conceive in her very old age and bear her own son, Isaac.
God therefore told Abram that he would not establish his promise through Ishmael but through the son he had initially promised him with his wife Sarai.
True to his word, he enabled Sarai to get pregnant and she bore a son, Isaac.
The act of faithlessness on the part of Sarai though, led to consequences, as years before she herself conceived, Hagar seemingly began to get puffed up and disrespectful to Sarai. After all, she (not Sarai) had borne Abram (who God later renamed Abraham) a son.
This trouble continued even after Sarai (who God renamed Sarah) herself conceived miraculously in her old age some years later and had a son. For, she observed Ishmael (the child which, out of desperation and a lack of faith in God was born from the maid (a bondwoman), ridiculing Isaac (the child God gave miraculously based on his promise and the child through which God was going to make many nations).
The Bible states in Genesis 16:3-4 and 21:9-12:
- “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes…”
- 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.”
In recounting the story, in Galatians 4:22-31 it states:
- “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a BONDMAID, the other by a FREEWOMAN. But he who was of THE BONDWOMAN WAS BORN AFTER THE FLESH; but he of THE FREEWOMAN WAS BY PROMISE. Which things are an allegory: for THESE ARE THE TWO COVENANTS; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth BONDAGE, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is FREE, which is the mother of us all…Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
- 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. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
LESSONS FOR US TODAY
As children of promise (those of us who have believed through faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and have confessed him as Lord and are awaiting his return), sometimes we need to cast things, habits, people, our past, the dictates of the old testament law, attitudes and mentalities (like envy, malice, bitterness and a lack of forgiveness) out of our lives in order to move forward…in grace.
It may be painful, even difficult but we MUST.
Severe that tie NOW.
Our future demands it. There can be no common ground. What you are holding on to and where God wants to take you is diametrically opposed. You must completely let go of that which was born of the flesh in faithlessness, in order to receive God’s faith gift of promise.
Hebrews 12:1 states:
- “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”.
Let go and don’t look back. You cannot court the flesh or have it live harmoniously with faith, in some sort of understanding or arrangement. They are mutually exclusive (in that it is one or the other) and so it is with the law of the old testament (which was previously given to the Israelites) and the new testament law of grace (which is now given to every believer of Jesus Christ, whether they are Israelites or Gentiles).
Whatever you have been holding on to in faithlessness and desperation, let go of it and don’t ever look back. The promise that is ahead (which is visible by faith) is far, far better, than anything you leave behind.
(Written on 21st July, 2019)
Dear Reader, if you found this Article to be beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 11 – ‘How God Wants Us To Treat With Our Idols’