Chapter 1.
The Birth of Isaac

Genesis 21:1-8

The birth of Isaac was one of the most significant and celebrated births ever recorded in the Scriptures. Robert Candlish, a famed Scottish pastor of the 1800s, said, "If there be an occasion on earth fitted to call forth the songs of heaven, next to the birth of Jesus, and not second to the birth of his forerunner John, it is the birth of Isaac. Upon no event, between the fall and the incarnation, did the salvation of men more conspicuously depend."

Two main promises formed the covenant God gave to Abraham. They were the promise of the seed and the promise of the soil. With the birth of Isaac, the promise of the seed began to be fulfilled. This was long before—in fact, four hundred years before—the promise of the soil began to be fulfilled. Without question, this would be the preference of both Abraham and Sarah. The seed was more important to them than the soil. When Isaac was born, Abraham and Sarah were still only sojourners in the land, not owners. God had not yet given Abraham and Sarah "even a foot-breadth of the soil" (James Murphy). But it was not lack of soil that bothered them. What they were primarily concerned about was the lack of seed (cp. Genesis 15:2; 16:2). Abraham and Sarah never complained to God about the lack of land, but they did complain about the lack of a lad. The child was more important to them than the country; the lad was more important to them than the land; the seed was more important to them than the soil.

The priority of interests which Abraham and Sarah had regarding the seed and the soil and the lad and the land needs more emphasis in our materialistic age. Parents become so obsessed with making money, buying houses, cars, boats, stocks, and bonds that they ignore some of the most precious possessions God ever gave them, namely, their children. What blessings we miss by not spending much time with our children. Today, after mothers give birth to a child, they often hand them over to the baby sitters and go off to work—so they can have more money to buy more things. And the fathers are too busy with work and these "things" to hardly speak with the children, let alone spend quality time with them. But the seed is more important than the soil. Our children are more important than "things."

The seed is more important than the soil regarding another son, too; for the promise of a son for Abraham and Sarah—as important as his birth was—also involved the promise of The Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind. Through the descendants of Isaac would come Jesus Christ, and how much more important it is to have The Seed, Jesus Christ, than any soil. Jesus Christ can save our souls, and soul salvation is more important than all the soil in the world. Jesus Himself told us that truth when He said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world [soil], and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36).

In this study of the birth of Isaac, the promised seed, we will consider the coming of his birth (Genesis 21:1,2,5,7), the compliance regarding his birth (Genesis 21:3,4), the comments at his birth (Genesis 21:6,7), the celebration after his birth (Genesis 21:8), and the comparisons of his birth (Isaac's birth is a type of the birth of Christ and the birth of conversion).

A. The Coming of His Birth

The promised son of Abraham and Sarah finally comes on the scene. After Abraham and Sarah had moved to Canaan, God had repeatedly promised them a son. He had even told them what to name the son. But they had to wait twenty-five years after moving to Canaan before the promised son was born. Now the long and trying wait is over and the son is born.

In examining the coming of the birth of Isaac, we will note two significant things. They are the prediction of his coming and the power for his coming.

1. The Prediction of His Coming

"The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken... at the set time of which God had spoken to him" (Genesis 21:1,2). The reference to the prediction of Isaac's coming is prominent in our text. To further examine this prediction, we note the frequency of the prediction and the fulfilling of the prediction.

The frequency of the prediction. God predicted the birth of Isaac repeatedly to Abraham. The frequency of the prediction is emphasized in our text in a threefold way—"as he had said... as he had spoken... God had spoken to him."

To confirm the frequency of the predictions, we note four important texts in which Abraham was promised Isaac. First, when Abraham first moved to Canaan, as God as directed him to do (Genesis 12:1), God promised Abraham, "I will make of thee a great nation" (Genesis 12:2). That prediction said that Abraham would have at least one child, for one cannot become a great nation without having descendants. Second, the prediction was again made to Abraham that he would have seed when Abraham complained to God, "To me thou hast given no seed" (Genesis 15:3). God then said "He that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir" (Genesis 15:4). Third, then later the prediction became more specific when God specified the (1) mother of the child, (2) the name of the child, and (3) the time of the birth of the child. He told Abraham, "Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son... and thou shalt call his name Isaac" (Genesis 17:19), and "Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year" (Genesis 17:21). Fourth, when Abraham received Divine visitors in his home just prior to the destruction of Sodom, these visitors confirmed the prediction of Isaac's birth. They said, "Sarah thy wife shall have a son" (Genesis 18:10). And they also spoke of the time of his birth by saying, "At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son" (Genesis 18:14).

The fulfilling of the prediction. "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" (Genesis 21:1,2). The report in these two verses of the fulfilling of the prediction of the coming of Isaac especially emphasizes the veracity of the Word of God. It is "as he had said... as he had spoken... [and] which God had spoken to him." Barnhouse rightly said, "God is a God of His word. If He were not, the universe would fall apart." Matthew Henry said regarding the fulfilling of these predictions about Isaac, "No word of God shall fall to the ground; for he is faithful that has promised, and God's faithfulness is the stay and support of his people's faith."

A person's character is greatly honored when it can be said of him that he is a person of his word. Of no one can this be said more than of God! Joshua emphasized this truth when he said, "Not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof" (Joshua 23:14; cp. Joshua 21:45). God's Word had not failed even though difficulties sometimes seemed to predict failure. When God's promises are made, circumstances often mock (as they did in regards to the condition of Abraham and Sarah). But the mocking will eventually stop, for all of God's promises will be fulfilled as they were promised, for God's Word is true. God had promised Abraham and Sarah a son, but their circumstances were so bad that Sarah laughed at the promise (Genesis 18:11,12). However, her laughter of unbelief turned to the laughter of great joy when the promise was fulfilled in the manner in which God said it would be.

We can trust God's Word, if we can trust anything. Do not hesitate to build your creed, your convictions, your hopes, your consolations, your inspiration, your joys, and your all upon God's Word. It will not fail. We trust men's word today in many important matters of life. But men often fail. God never fails! His Word will ever abide faithful. Sarah finally and wisely came to the place where "she judged him faithful who had promised" (Hebrews 11:11), and we need to do likewise.

2. The Power for His Coming

"For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age... And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him... I have born him a son in his old age" (Genesis 21:2,5,7). The birth of Isaac was a miracle birth. Everything about it—from the conception to the actual birth of the child required Divine power. Repeatedly Scripture, in reporting the coming of Isaac, emphasizes the great problems which required a miracle of God's great power to bring the birth to pass. Our text on the coming of Isaac not only emphasizes the Divine prediction in the coming of Isaac, but it also emphasizes the need for Divine power for his coming. The need of a miracle of Divine power in the lives of Abraham and Sarah regarding the coming of Isaac had to do chiefly with age and the fact that the advanced age of Sarah and Abraham made having children impossible from the human standpoint. Three times in our text the age problem is mentioned—[1] "bare Abraham a son in his old age... [2] Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born to him... [3] I have born him a son in his old age." Elsewhere the age problem of Sarah is mentioned, too. "Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women" (Genesis 18:11). Paul also cited the problem of Abraham and Sarah for child bearing when he said, "his [Abraham's] own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old... the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Romans 4:19). Hebrews 11 speaks of Sarah's inability by reporting that Sarah "was delivered of a child when she was past age" (Hebrews 11:11). All of this emphasizes the need of God's great power if Isaac was going to come on the scene. And the fact that Isaac was born demonstrates that God's great power was present in a pronounced way.

Frequently Scripture likes to emphasize the difficulty of the circumstances which confront the promises of God in order to show us the greatness of God's power. God's power is not just for easy circumstances—the extent of the faith of most of us—but it is also for the most difficult of circumstances. Yet, how little of this truth do we apply to our daily lives. Our prayers and our hopes are frequently an insult to God's power. Were others to judge the power of God by most of our prayers and expectations, they would conclude God was much weaker than man, that God was not able to do much for people.

B. The Compliance Regarding His Birth

"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" (Genesis 21:3,4). Two duties were incumbent upon Abraham when Isaac was born: these duties were the naming of his son and the circumcising of his son. In the covenant with Abraham, God had specified the name for the child (Genesis 17:19); and He had also specified the act and the time of circumcising the child (Genesis 17:10-14). Abraham complied wonderfully to God's orders and obeyed completely.

1. The Naming of the Child

"Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac" (Genesis 21:3). The naming of the new son was not as easy as it may appear. The reason is that the name Isaac was not nearly as impressive in meaning as the names Abraham, Sarah, and Ishmael. The name "Abraham" meant father of multitudes; the name "Sarah" meant princess, and the name "Ishmael" meant God hears. But the name "Isaac" only meant laughter. Name meanings were important in those days. But Abraham did not change the name of his new born son to some name with a more impressive meaning. He did not give "him some other name of a more pompous signification" (Matthew Henry) as many would do today who are more interested in impressing the world than God. No, Abraham named him what God wanted him named.

2. The Circumcising of the Child

"Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him" (Genesis 21:4). When Abraham was ninety-nine, God made a covenant with Abraham. The "token" (Genesis 17:11) of the covenant was circumcision. Circumcision was so important that failure to circumcise a male child would bring some serious consequences; for "that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant" (Genesis 17:14). Circumcision was a prominent identifying mark to the descendants of Abraham and so much so that the heathen nations around Israel were later referred to as the "uncircumcised."

From our text we note two things about this circumcising of Isaac. They are the date of the circumcising, and the difficulties in the circumcising

The date of the circumcising. "Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him" (Genesis 21:4). "And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you" (Genesis 17:12). Circumcision was to be done when the child was eight days old. Why did God specify the eighth day? An important reason is that the eighth day is the best day medically to circumcise a child. A Christian medical doctor, Dr. S. I. McMillen, in his book None of These Diseases, informs us about medical science discovering this truth in our time. Two significant problems are present in circumcision—bleeding and infection. On the eighth day of the new born male child, the blood clotting and infection fighting agents in the blood are at their combined best. Dr. McMillen said, "We should commend the many hundreds of workers who labored at great expense over a number of years to discover that the safest day to perform circumcision is the eighth. Yet, as we congratulate medical science for this recent finding (in the 1940s), we can almost hear the leaves of the Bible rustling. They would like to remind us that four thousand years ago, when God initiated circumcision with Abraham, He said, 'And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised.'" Yes, we can trust the Bible, for it is the Word of God. And God, the Great Creator, knows what He is talking about!

The difficulties in the circumcising. "Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old" (Genesis 21:4). The cries of the young babe, Isaac, and the protests of those opposing circumcising such a small, young, and helpless babe could cause difficulty for Abraham in circumcising Isaac; but he did it anyway. And he did this duty at the exact time God specified. "God had kept time in performing the promise, and therefore Abraham must keep time in obeying the precept" (Henry).

The only acceptable obedience is to do exactly what God wants us to do. Yet, we so often try to alter, amend, and revise His orders. Such action spells rebellion. The submissive heart will do exactly what God says without complaint, knowing that God knows what is best.

C. The Comments at His Birth

"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" (Genesis 21:6,7).

The birth of Isaac resulted in Sarah making some instructive comments about the birth of her son. Though the comments are certainly not lengthy, the comments are considered a song. That Sarah's comments are a song is seen in "the use of a [Hebrew] poetical word (millel) for 'said,' instead of the more common [Hebrew] words (dibber or amar); and also in the appearance of regular parallelism of the members of the sentence" (F. C. Cook). Her song is considered a forerunner of the song which Hannah sung after the birth of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10) and also of the song which Mary sung shortly after she had conceived Christ (Luke 1:46-55).

To study these comments which Sarah made after the birth of Isaac, we note the delight in the comments, the dynamic in the comments, and the duty in the comments.

1. The Delights in the Comments

"Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me" (Genesis 21:6). The delights in the comments are for both the mother and the multitude.

Delights for the mother. "Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh." The birth of Isaac had, not surprisingly, brought great joy to Sarah. Sarah's rejoicing over having a child is not difficult to understand. When we first meet Sarah in Scripture, her barrenness is emphasized. "But Sarai was barren; she had no child" (Genesis 11:30). This was a great stigma to a woman in Bible times. They could accept almost anything better than barrenness. So with the coming of Isaac, she had a heavy reproach of many long years removed. That would bring much rejoicing indeed. "She herself would have the reproach of a lifetime removed and would consider this a piece of rare good fortune" (Leupold).

In these joyous comments by Sarah after the birth of Isaac, we again see a play on words in Scripture. In speaking words of great rejoicing, Sarah uses the meaning of Isaac's name to express her great delight over having a son. She tells of her laughing (the name "Isaac" means laughter) at the wonderfulness of having a son. When God blesses, the laughter of joy is real and virtuous; but the laughter of the world is far different, it is superficial and often unholy.

Delights for the multitude. "So that all that hear will laugh with me." Note it is not laugh at me but with me. Sarah is not being mocked, but her life is now a witness of God's power. When Sarah's unbelief was replaced by belief—"through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed" (Hebrews 11:11)—great things happened in her life, for she "was delivered of child when she was past age" (Ibid.); and, as a result, "all that hear" will rejoice in God's blessing. Her faith caused others to honor God by rejoicing ("laugh with me") in what great things God had done.

This is a challenge to our witness for God. Does what people hear of us cause them to rejoice in the Lord or to reject the Lord? Does it cause them to honor faith in God or belittle it? Let us so live that what people hear of us will cause them to give much honor to God.

2. The Dynamic in the Comments

"Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age" (Genesis 21:7). Here Sarah's comments speak of the dynamic or power of God; and it says Sarah has learned that nothing is too hard for God. Sarah did not always believe God could empower her to give birth. When God gave the promise about a year earlier, Sarah had laughed at the promise (Genesis 18:12). God rebuked her laughter by saying, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:14). Sarah's comments here say she has now learned her lesson about God's power.

Sarah's comments remind us that God is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Her comments also remind us that not many people in this world encourage one to believe God has such great power. "Who would have said?" tells us that fact. The world around us does little to encourage our faith but God does much. The world only discourages our faith and encourages our doubts. Sometimes even our fellow believers do more to discourage our faith than encourage us. Therefore, let us pay more heed to what God says than to what man says.

3. The Duty in the Comments

"Who would have said... that Sarah should have given children suck?" (Genesis 21:7). The duty in the comments is in the words "given children suck [nursed children]." Whitelaw says here, "The first duty of a mother is to her babe... Sarah, though a princess, was not above discharging the duties of a nurse—an example which Sarah's daughters should diligently follow." Sarah would have available through her servants many who could have nursed Isaac for her. But though she was the wife of the head sheik of a large estate, she assumed the mother duties herself. That is a rebuke for our day. Mother duties are so despised today that if a woman wants to be a mother—that is, stay home and take care of the kids instead of being a so-called career woman—she is looked down upon as some sort of second rate individual who lacks ambition and "self-esteem." But God thinks differently! The women who scorn mother responsibilities will be in for a shock when they stand before God. What choice blessing to have children, and what important responsibility to be a mother to them. Never play down the duties of motherhood. Exalt them. God does!

D. The Celebration after His Birth

"And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned" (Genesis 21:8). A special celebration took place some time after Isaac was born. We include it in this chapter on the birth of Isaac because it is closely connected to the coming of Isaac on the scene.

We note two things about this celebration concerning the promised son, Isaac. They are the cause of the celebration and the character of the celebration.

1. The Cause of the Celebration

"The child grew, and was weaned... a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." The cause for the celebration was the growing up of Isaac to the place where he was weaned. According to historians, this weaning took place at somewhere around the second or third year of the child. Babies were weaned more slowly in those times than in our times.

The birth of Isaac was followed by the healthy development of the child. This is fittingly recorded right along with the report of his birth. Isaac grew up. He did not stay in babyhood all his life like many saints do. The typical saint does not evidence he or she has ever been weaned spiritually. They have never grown up, but they are still in the baby crib and on the bottle and whining and fussing at church. Hebrews helps us understand this situation, "For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat [solid food] belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13,14). Those in the spiritual babe/milk stage have considerable trouble discerning right and wrong. In observing the difficulty which most professing Christians have in discerning right and wrong, it is obvious that most professing Christians are in the babe category.

Furthermore, those Christians who have not grown up are often a big problem for the church. Those, who for many years have been in diapers spiritually and on milk spiritually, do not have the wisdom to speak advisably on church matters at business meetings; but they often do not hesitate to speak up and like babies whine and fuss if they do not get their way. Therefore, it is a great delight to the godly to see new saints grow up and develop and mature in the faith. Barnhouse says, "It is a cause for celebration when a believer is no longer preoccupied with elementary doctrines, but enters into the deep truths of the Word of God."

2. The Character of the Celebration

"Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." This practice of celebrating the weaning of a child was a rather common custom in those days. "It is still customary in the East to have a festive gathering at the time a child is weaned." This feast that Abraham had for the weaning of Isaac was no ordinary feast, for it is described as a "great" feast. That is, it was a very important celebration. "We are made to feel that to Abraham everything connected with Isaac is important" (Leupold). You can be sure this feast was no drunken orgy. It was a feast that would commemorate the blessing of God. Such feasts often had spiritual connotations. "It would seem that this was very probably a religious feast" (F. C. Cook).

What a great day it would be if all the church members were grown up spiritually and had an appetite for the Word of God and knew right from wrong. It would surely be a good reason to really celebrate, for the growth and development of the saints in the church would transform the church and make it a vibrant testimony to society.

E. The Comparisons of His Birth

Isaac's birth is a great type of two other births. They are the birth of Christ and the birth in conversion. Here we note some comparisons to these two births.

1. The Birth of Christ

The birth of Isaac was a type of the birth of Jesus Christ. We should not be surprised at this fact; for the most important seed promised to Abraham and Sarah was not Isaac, but Jesus Christ. Isaac's birth would lose much of its significance if Jesus Christ was not in it. Here we will note five areas in which Isaac's birth was a type of Christ's birth. These areas are the mother of the child, the name of the child, the time of the birth of the child, the circumcising of the child, and the joy in the child.

The mother of the child. Four parallels exist between Sarah, the mother of Isaac, and Mary, the mother of our Lord.

First, each was given a Divine revelation of the child's birth before they conceived (Genesis 18:10-14; Luke 1:26-33).

Second, each had a Divine miracle worked in them physically in order to give birth to the promised child (Genesis 18:10-14; Luke 1:35).

Third, each recognized the great difficulties of their having a child as God promised (Genesis 18:11,12; Luke 1:34).

Fourth, each was given a heavenly message about the power of God being able to overcome their situation so they could have the child as promised (Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37).

The name of the child. Three parallels exist here in regards to the name of Isaac and Jesus.

First, both Isaac and Jesus were given their names before they were born (Genesis 17:19; Matthew 1:21).

Second, both Isaac and Jesus had their names revealed to the husband of their mother before they were born (Genesis 17:19; Matthew 1:20,21).

Third, the names of both Isaac and Jesus had a twofold meaning. They spoke of the failure of man and also of a promised blessing to man.

In regards to failure, Isaac's name meant "laughter"; and the laughter of unbelief (a failure to believe God's Word) was associated at times with his coming (Genesis 18:11,12). When telling Joseph to name the child Jesus, the angel said, "For he shall save his people from their sins [a failure to live righteously]" (Matthew 1:21).

In regards to blessing, Isaac's name, meaning laughter, promised rejoicing which came because of blessing. The angel telling Joseph that Jesus would be the Savior promised the greatest blessing man could ever have.

The time of the birth of the child. The punctuality of God is emphasized conspicuously in the birth of both Isaac and our Savior. This fact about Isaac is emphasized in the report of his birth—"at the set time of which God had spoken" (Genesis 21:2). This same truth concerning the time of Christ's birth is emphasized in Galatians where Paul writes, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Galatians 4:4). God is always punctual in fulfilling His promises. God is always on time. He is never late. If we are anxious about an unfulfilled promise, it is because we are looking at the wrong clock.

The circumcising of the child. Scripture reports the circumcising of both Isaac and Christ, and it reports that both were done on the eighth day as Divine precept prescribed (Genesis 21:4; Luke 2:21). Hence, parental obedience was conspicuous in the birth of both Isaac and Jesus in regards to this Divine precept. A lot of today's problems would be prevented if we had more parental obedience in raising children.

The joy in the child. Great joy accompanied the birth of both Isaac and Jesus.

In regards to Isaac, our text tells us how Sarah rejoiced (Genesis 21:6). With the stigma of her barrenness removed and with the long wait for her son now over, Sarah's joy over the birth of Isaac was obviously extremely great. And as Sarah said in her comments, others would rejoice with her when they heard the good news. Joy was indeed associated with the birth of Isaac.

In regards to Jesus Christ, the message of the angels expressed great joy at His birth. They said we "bring you good tidings of great joy" (Luke 2:10). While Christmas has been terribly commercialized, yet the spirit of joy that permeates the season can not be accounted for apart from the fact that the birth of Christ is a source of great joy.

2. The Birth in Conversion

Not only does the birth of Isaac foreshadow and picture the birth of Christ, but it is also a picture of the new birth which is the spiritual birth that takes place when a sinner puts his faith in Christ for his soul's salvation. It is the same birth which Christ referred to when He told Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7). When a person is saved, a spiritual birth takes place—he is "born again." We note here four ways in which the conversion of sinners is seen in Isaac's birth—a miracle was performed, a deadness was present, a new creature was produced, and a heritage was procured.

A miracle was performed. Scripture repeatedly reminds us of the Divine miracle factor in Isaac's birth. In the promises of the birth of Isaac and in the account of Isaac's birth, the miracle factor is made plain in the presence of Divine power. Abraham and Sarah could not produce Isaac in their own strength. Hence, God had to work a Divine miracle to bring Isaac on the scene.

In like manner, Scripture repeatedly shows us the inability of man to bring about his own new birth. We cannot save ourselves; for we are "without strength" (Romans 5:6) and "we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Therefore, only a miracle can save us. And that miracle occurs when the sinner comes to Jesus Christ for his soul's salvation.

A deadness was present. Abraham was considered dead in his ability to father children (Romans 4:19), and Sarah was considered dead in her ability to conceive and bear children (Ibid.). In like manner, the unsaved are "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1); and it was "when we were dead in sins, [that God] hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:5).

A new creature was produced. Isaac was not Ishmael reformed and made over. Isaac was an entirely new creature. So Paul tells us that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Jesus told Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7), not reformed, made over, redecorated, etc.

Because some pervert the "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" to encourage such things as remarriage after divorce if one has been saved since being divorced, we want to note here what does not change and what does change when a person is saved.

First, what does not change. When a man gets saved, his age does not change, his marital status past or present does not change, his physical disabilities do not change—if he is missing a leg, he will continue to miss a leg; if he has false teeth, he will continue to have false teeth; if he is blind, he will continue to be blind, etc.

Second, what does change. When a man gets saved and becomes a new creature in Christ, there is at least a threefold change besides the new spiritual being. First, his destiny changes. Before coming to Christ, one is headed for eternity in hell fire. After coming to Christ all of that is changed; for the saved one is headed for heaven, not hell. What a glorious change! Second, his deportment changes. One of the most notable evidences of salvation is the change from bad to good behavior. Third, his devotion changes. One's interests, affections, desires, objectives, and values will change. Jesus Christ will be revered, honored, and loved.

A heritage was procured. By virtue of his birth, Isaac automatically gained an inheritance. And what a great inheritance it was! His father Abraham was not poor. He owned a vast estate of livestock and servants, and the covenant from God gave him the land of Canaan. In like manner, by virtue of the new birth, the redeemed gain a great inheritance. Their heavenly Father is not poor either. He possesses an even greater estate than Abraham, to say the least. We can even compare it in terms of livestock, if you please. Abraham owned cattle on a few hills. But the Psalmist says God owns the "cattle upon a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10). Isaac was an heir of a man, but believers are "heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). The heritage salvation brings to the redeemed is so great that the human mind cannot fully comprehend it. We once heard a preacher say, "There ain't nothing the Lord ain't got that I ain't gonna get when I get to heaven. Now that ain't good English, but it sure am good theology." We agree on both accounts.

With such a tremendous heritage, let the redeemed not become so taken up with the material things of this world that they lose sight of the tremendous inheritance that is coming their way in eternity. In eternity, God will have no poor children! Inheritance taxes will not be a problem either.