Freedom in Christ

Freedom in Christ

Early on in our study of Genesis, we noted that since the time of the Fall two lines of humanity emerged: Those who follow in the ways of the LORD and those who follow in the ways of the devil, of Satan, that ancient serpent.[1] From the beginning God told the serpent that one of Eve’s offspring would one day rise to crush his head[2]—and we know that that offspring was Jesus Christ. Abel, Adam and Eve’s firstborn, followed the ways of the LORD but was murdered by his brother Cain for having done so for Cain had chosen the ways of the serpent. But Abel’s murder didn’t destroy Messiah’s line for many years later Adam and Eve gave birth to another son, Seth;[3] from Seth’s line came Noah;[4] and from Noah came Shem, one of his sons.[5] At the end of this early Messianic line we find Terah, Abraham’s father.[6] And this morning’s passage tells how Isaac, Abraham’s son by Sarah, his wife, will continue the Messianic line—though Ishmael, his son by Hagar, Sarah’s servant, will also be blessed despite being cast off by Sarah.

But first, I want to touch briefly upon the end of Genesis 19 and also chapter 20 which I’ve skipped over. If you’ll recall from last week, the only members of Lot’s family who were protected from God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, the only members who were delivered from evil, were those who believed God and fled to the nearby city of Zoar, namely, Lot and his two virgin daughters.[7] Well after this incident, out of fear Lot and his daughters ended up leaving Zoar and settling in a cave in the mountains.[8] One day, given their isolation, Lot’s older daughter convinced her younger sister to join her in committing an evil act. Each in turn got their father drunk and lay with him.[9] The end result was that the older daughter gave birth to a son named Moab who became “the father of the Moabites;”[10] and the younger daughter also had a son by way of their father, Ben-Ammi who became “the father of the Ammonites.”[11] Not surprisingly, both nations were later numbered among those that were enemies of Israel.[12] This depraved behavior on the part of Lot’s daughters clearly points to a need for the law that the LORD would later give his people under Moses’ leadership that they might know how God intended his image-bearers to live.

I’m also skipping over chapter 20 which tells how Abraham, for the second time—the first was to the Pharoah of Egypt; and here to King Abimelek— asked his wife Sarah to lie in saying that she was his sister rather than his wife. Since I’ve already touched on this account when I covered Genesis 12, I won’t be going over it again.[13]

So I want to pick up with Genesis 21 which tells of the birth of Isaac, Abraham’s son by his wife, Sarah, and focus upon the conflict that arose soon after Isaac was weaned. As we’ve previously noted, when Sarah at the age of 90 gave birth to Isaac—whose name means “he laughs”—her initial laughter of disbelief gave way to laughter filled with joy.[14] As stated in verse 6, “Sarah said, ‘God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.’” But, as we’ll see, her laughter later turned into distress.

Picking up with verse 8, we’re told, “The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast.” Isaac would probably have been around two or three years old when he was weaned. This means that Ishmael, Isaac’s fourteen years older half-brother,[15] would have been about sixteen. And, as already noted, this is when the trouble began. As stated beginning with verse 9, “But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, ‘Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.’” As Hagar had previously shown disdain towards her mistress after having conceived,[16] so now her son, Ishmael, mocked—presumably Sarah’s son, Isaac.[17] Although having Abraham impregnate Hagar, her slave, had been Sarah’s idea—Hagar had had no say in the matter[18]—we see here for the second time, that Sarah dealt harshly with her. When Hagar first conceived, Sarah so mistreated her that she ended up running away from Sarah—and then returning to her when the angel of the LORD appeared to her.[19] But what Sarah did now was far worse than mistreating Hagar. Since slaves had no rights, by driving Hagar and Ishmael away, Sarah was, in effect, disinheriting them.

Now given that Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn, we read in verse 11, “The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.” Of course Abraham was distressed! He had known and loved Ishmael for the entirety of the sixteen or so years the boy had lived. What is more, Abraham may have been concerned about the legal ramifications of such an act for, as one commentator notes, the customs of the day “prohibited the arbitrary expulsion of a female servant’s son (whose legal status was relatively weak in any case).”[20] And Sarah’s demand was certainly arbitrary. Yet in the midst of his torment the LORD intervened and reassured Abraham, saying to him, verses 12–13, “…Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[21] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.” All of this is in keeping with what the angel of the LORD had spoken to Hagar when she had first run away from Sarah after conceiving Ishmael. The angel had promised her, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”[22] The LORD had later confirmed this to Abraham as well, telling him, “…as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.”[23] Thus the LORD now again reaffirmed this promise. Concerning Isaac, too, the LORD here reiterated what he had earlier told Abraham, “your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”[24] In other words, Ishmael would do fine but the Messianic line would come through Isaac.

Thus reassured by God, we read in verse 14 how “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.” As was his wont, Abraham obeyed God and sent Hagar and his son away with some provisions. Now humanly speaking, Hagar and Ishmael’s chances of survival weren’t good for desert life is harsh and she no longer had the protection of a community. “Some food and a skin of water” wouldn’t have gotten them very far. Therefore we see the despair that resulted in verses 15 and 16. “15 When the water in the skin was gone, [Hagar] put the boy under one of the bushes.[25] 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, ‘I cannot watch the boy die.’ And as she sat there, she began to sob.” Hagar had no recourse left. Since she couldn’t bear the thought of watching her teenage son die, she broke down in tears.

But yet again, as had occurred the first time this helpless slave had found herself in dire straits, the LORD heard her—recall that “God hears” is the meaning of Ishmael’s name. God again acted on her behalf and that of her child who had also been crying.[26] As we read beginning with verse 17, “17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’” Having once again heard the distress of Hagar and her son, our compassionate God reminded Hagar of his initial promise to her as he went on to provide for this poor, helpless slave. As stated in verse 19, “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.” Hagar and Ishmael would go on to be cared for by God. As we’re told in verses 20–21, “20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.” Why Egypt? Because that was Hagar’s birthplace.[27] So clearly, the LORD took care not only of Isaac, Abraham’s son by his wife, Sarah, but also Ishmael, his son by Sarah’s slave, Hagar.

But I want to return now to the theme with which I began—namely, that Isaac, not Ishmael, was to be the child through whom God’s promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come. In the fourth chapter of Galatians, Paul considers the birth of these two boys and applies the historical reality of one being born of a slave woman, that is, Ishmael; and one being born of a free woman, that is, Isaac, to what it means for believers to be bound, respectively, by slavery or freedom as we seek to follow God in Christ. Paul endeavors to make clear what it means to be free in Christ. Throughout this letter he counteracts and corrects the enslaving false teaching that the church in Galatia had been receiving by encouraging these believers to embrace their freedom in Christ instead.

Beginning with Christ, he reminds them starting in verse 4 at the beginning of the chapter, “…when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” Paul wants believers in Christ to grasp the awesome truth that all who know, love, and follow him are 100% God’s adopted children, not slaves to the law. As God’s children, all Christ-followers are heirs of God who will inherit his heavenly Kingdom and never experience separation from their heavenly Father who loves them so deeply and has sacrificed so much to draw them to himself. To his children he gives his very own Spirit who unites us with him and each other forever more. This is the good news that Christ died and rose to proclaim and lavish upon us; this is the good news that we should be shouting from the mountain top!

Yet some false teachers wanted the Galatian believers to choose righteousness by their own works and obedience to the law, which is slavery, over righteousness by faith in Christ’s works and obedience to the law, which is freedom—again, Christ was born under the law to redeem those under the law so that they might receive sonship instead of slavery. In making this case for freedom in Christ, Paul turns to Hagar and Sarah. Beginning with verse 21, he states, “21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.” As we’ve seen, Abraham fathered two sons: Ishmael by way of Hagar, Sarah’s slave; and Isaac, by way of his wife, Sarah. Paul extrapolates from this historical occurrence that Hagar’s son “was born according to the flesh.” Now Ishmael “was born according to the flesh” because having Abraham impregnate Hagar had been Sarah’s idea, not God’s. When over a dozen years after God had promised them an heir had passed, rather than continue to wait on God and his timing, Sarah and Abraham took matters into their own hands. They acted “according to the flesh” when they came up with their own solution—a solution that, as we’ve already seen, resulted in much grief and pain in their lives. Isaac, however, was born of Sarah, the “free woman.” He “was born as the result of a divine promise” because he was the heir that God had promised Abraham when he first called him out of Ur of the Chaldeans at the age of 75. And God supernaturally delivered on that promise a quarter century later when Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90 years old.

Beginning with verse 24, Paul explains this comparison between Hagar, the slave woman, and her son Ishmael vs. Sarah, the free woman, and her son Isaac. “These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants.” He begins with Hagar, the slave woman. “One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.” As we know, Mount Sinai is where Moses received the law.[28] And since Jerusalem was the center of Judaism, Paul equates it with Mount Sinai. The children of slavery seek salvation by fleshly works in trying to obey the law.

Next he turns to Sarah, the free woman, beginning with verse 26: “26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: ‘Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.’” Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah[29] who is speaking of the future glory of Zion to point out first, that our final destiny isn’t this earthly world, the earthly Jerusalem, but the heavenly world, Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the final dwelling place of all who will be blessed through Abraham. The book of Revelation similarly speaks of “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”[30]

Second, Paul points out that what matters most isn’t our earthly biological birth but our supernatural spiritual birth.

In applying this to the Galatians, Paul states beginning with verse 28, “28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.” In other words, the persecution that the Galatians believers were experiencing at the hands of the false teachers is likened to that experienced by Isaac, the free son, by Ishmael, the son of the slave woman. Going on to verse 30: “But what does Scripture say? ‘Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.’” As Sarah got rid of the slave woman, so Paul is encouraging the believers in Galatia to get rid of the false teachers who seek to enslave them. As one commentator notes, “Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac…, so now the Jews who seek justification by human effort are persecuting Christians who trust God’s promise of justification by faith.”[31] In other words, Paul is telling these Christians that they should get rid of the Judaizers, those who seek to make followers of Christ slaves to the Mosaic law by requiring that they adopt Jewish customs and practices in order to be saved. Such teaching is slavery for the law pronounces curses on all who disobey it. Therefore all who follow it will remain in slavery to sin because since the time of the Fall, no one has ever been able to obey all of the law’s demands, Christ Jesus excepting. Therefore he alone is the path to freedom.

Listen to how Paul states this at the end of the previous chapter in Galatians, “…in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”[32] To become a child of Abraham and Sarah, the free woman, belief in Christ—not perfect obedience to the law—is what is now required in order to be saved. It’s through Christ alone that we can become children of God. Paul makes this very point in his letter to the Romans teaching,

…not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’[33] In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: ‘At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.’”[34], [35]

Again, the Judaizers were teaching salvation by works; that justification in God comes by our obedience to the law. Yet the Fall made such obedience impossible for it resulted in all being born in sin. As Paul teaches elsewhere in Romans, “21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”[36] It’s only through Christ Jesus and Christ Jesus alone that we can know true freedom. Our works cannot justify us. The only thing that can justify us, that can declare us “not guilty,” that can make us righteous, is faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul’s conclusion is found in the closing verse, verse 31: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.” Followers of Christ are free because they, like Paul, are slaves to Christ[37]—not sin—and therefore they aren’t under the curse of the law. For salvation in Christ is by the grace that God lavishes upon us through faith in his Son.[38] As Paul states earlier in Galatians, “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’[Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18] So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”[39]

Dear brothers and sisters, this is good news, indeed. The choice is easy:

Do we want to be slaves to the law by our own works or slaves to Christ who was born under law to redeem, to purchase, those under law that we might receive adoption to sonship?

Do we want to rely upon our ability to follow the law imperfectly in order to be saved or trust in Christ’s ability to follow the law perfectly?

Do we want to be slaves to the flesh or free children of our heavenly Father?

Do we want to embrace earthly works or heavenly inheritance?

Do we seek to earn salvation by the flesh or by the promise of God?

Scripture teaches that all who believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to earth not to condemn it but that all who believe in him might be saved through him[40] have freedom in Christ. All who believe this are children of our Father in heaven. All who believe this are, like Isaac, children of promise. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience to the law we need not rely on our own efforts to gain God’s favor. For if we believe in his Son, we have God’s good favor.[41] What is more, if we believe in his Son, God has given us his Spirit that by his indwelling, and therefore with his help and the help of all who similarly believe we might live the holy, sinless, and heavenly lives for which we have been created.[42]  This is what it means to have freedom in Christ. Because of him, our sin has been taken away[43] by his death and resurrection and in return all who believe in him have been given his Holy Spirit in order that we might love our heavenly Father with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength and our neighbor as ourselves![44]

Let us pray.









[1] To trace part of this development, see sermon preached on February 9, 2020, Walking in the Image and Likeness of the LORD, on Genesis 4:25–5:5, 21–32.

[2] Genesis 3:15: And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[Or seed] and hers; he will crush[Or strike] your head, and you will strike his heel.”

[3] That Seth became part of Messiah’s line is made clear in the third chapter of Luke’s Gospel which records Jesus’ genealogy beginning with, “23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli.” And Jesus’ genealogy ends with “38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”

[4] Genesis 5:28–29a: When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah….

[5] Genesis 10:1: 1 This is the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah’s sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.; The beginning of Shem’s line may be found and traced in two places, Genesis 10:21ff: 21 Sons were also born to Shem, whose older brother was Japheth; Shem was the ancestor of all the sons of Eber.; Genesis 11:10–11ff: 10 This is the account of Shem’s family line.

Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father[Father may mean ancestor; also in verses 11-25.] of Arphaxad. 11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.

[6] Genesis 11:26: After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

[7] Lot’s two sons-in-law had laughed at the notion of destruction and his wife had not fled to Zoar but instead had looked back upon the destruction of the two cities despite the angels’ warning. See Genesis 19:14, 17, 26: 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were married tohis daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking….17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!” 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

[8] Genesis 19:30: Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave.

[9] Genesis 19:31–32: 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.” The Reformation ESV Study Bible goes on to observe that the daughters’ “…sexual immorality anticipates their descendants’ seduction of Israel’s men (Num. 25).” As stated in Numbers 25:1–3: 1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.

[10] Genesis 19:37.

[11] Genesis 19:38.

[12] See, e.g., 1 Samuel 14:47: After Saul had assumed rule over Israel, he fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them.; 2 Chronicles 20:1: “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.” Although it’s worth noting that Ruth, Jesus Christ’s ancestor, was a Moabite.

[13] See sermon preached on June 21, 2020, Trusting God’s Provident Protection on Genesis 12:10–13:4/John 14:1–6.

[14] See sermon preached on August 9, 2020, Laughter Transformed, on Genesis 18:1–15; 21:1–7.

[15] Ishmael was circumcised, along with his father Abraham, at the age of 13 and Isaac was born the following year. See Genesis 17:26: Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.

[16] Genesis 16:4b: When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

[17] Other translations of this ambiguous word in Hebrew may indicate that Sarah saw Ishmael laughing or she saw the boys at play (playing). Whichever translation is correct, Sarah viewed Ishmael as a threat to Isaac receiving his own inheritance.

[18] Genesis 16:1–4a: 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

[19] Genesis 16:6–9:“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

[20] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 21:11.

[21] Or seed.

[22] Genesis 16:10.

[23] Genesis 17:20.

[24] Genesis 17:19.

[25] As noted by the Zondervan NIV Study Bible note for Genesis 21:33:tamarisk. A shrub or small tree that thrives in arid regions. Its leafy branches provide welcome shade, and it is probably the unidentified bush under which Hagar put Ishmael in v. 15.”

[26] As noted in the Crossway ESV Study Bible note for Genesis 21:14: “The Hebrew term for ‘child’ (Hb. Yeled) may denote an older teenager; it is used, e.g., of Joseph in 37:30.” Genesis 37:29–30: 29 When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. 30 He went back to his brothers and said, “The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?”

[27] In Genesis 16:1 it states that Sarah “had an Egyptian slave named Hagar.”

[28] Exodus 19:2: After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain.; Exodus 20:1–3ff: 1 And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.

[29] Isaiah 54:1: “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.

[30] Revelation 21:2. Emphases added.

[31] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Galatians 4:29.

[32] Galatians 3:26–29.

[33] Paul is referencing Genesis 21:12.

[34] Paul is referencing Genesis 18:10, 14.

[35] Romans 9:6–9.

[36] Romans 3:21–24. Emphases added.

[37] E.g., Romans 1:1: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—; 1 Corinthians 4:1: This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.; Galatians 1:10: Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.; Philippians 1:1a: Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,…; Titus 1:1: Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—

[38] Ephesians 2:8–9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

[39] Galatians 3:7–9.

[40] Genesis 3:17. The larger section reads, Genesis 3:16–21: 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

[41] Galatians 4:6: Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

[42] 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

[43] John 1:29: The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!; 1 John 3:5: But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.

[44] Matthew 22:34–40:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” and Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”