And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
Abraham was accounted for righteousness because he believed God. Our obedience to God makes us now part of that righteousness.
He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, so that, by faith, we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
The purpose was that the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles by Christ Jesus, so that we could receive the promised Spirit through faith.
Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. As a result, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them (Romans 4:11 NIV).
Abraham is also the father of the circumcised who are both circumcised and also walk in the footsteps of the faith that Abraham had before he was circumcised (Isaac, Jacob, etc.)(Romans 4:12 NIV).
It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be the heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith (Romans 4:13 NIV).
Did God reject His people? By no means? I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1 NIV).
Paul makes this statement as a Christian…there was a time when Paul was an Israelite but not a believer. He was a heir on the descendant side of Israel but now also on the spiritual side of Abraham’s heirs.
Both Israel and the church share in their distinctive period in God’s program as the people of God through whom He will be glorified. Knowing the distinction between Israel and the church, it is necessary to guard against a dichotomy–that the church is better than Israel–failing to see the place of the church as an integral part of God’s program along with Israel as being co-heirs of the promise of God.
17 Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, 18 do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. 19Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.
The church is the seed of Abraham. In the covenant made with Abraham, God laid the basis for His program of redemption and ultimate establishment of His rule.
The seed of Abraham has three applications:
1. Natural descendants
2. Jesus Himself
3. Those who believe
Natural descendants: Isaac and Jacob and his twelve sons–
Genesis 35:10-12, 23
10 God said to him:
Your name is Jacob;
you will no longer be named Jacob,
but your name will be Israel.
So He named him Israel. 11 God also said to him:
I am God Almighty.
Be fruitful and multiply.
A nation, indeed an assembly of nations,
will come from you,
and kings will descend from you.
12 I will give to you the land
that I gave to Abraham and Isaac.
And I will give the land
to your future descendants.
23 Leah’s sons were Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn),
Simeon, Levi, Judah,
Issachar, and Zebulun.
Note: Abraham (Abram) was not a Jew. He received the promise because of his righteousness by faith (Genesis 32:28). God gave Jacob the name of Israel and also his descendants–God’s chosen people.
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
descendant of Abraham, My friend—
15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
Note the importance of obedience to God in this dialogue between Jesus Christ and the natural heirs of Abraham. It centers on hearing and trusting God’s Word:
30 As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered Him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. 37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My wordis not welcome among you. 38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; therefore, you do what you have heard from your father.”
39 “Our father is Abraham!” they replied.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41 You’re doing what your father does.”
“We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me. 43Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. 44You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature,because he is a liar and the father of liars. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Who among you can convict Me of sin? If I tell the truth, why don’t you believe Me?
If you are not willing to be obedient to God, it would effectively nullify you as an heir of the promise to Abraham. God wants you to be a spiritual heir to the promise as part of Abraham’s seed.
God makes a connection with everyone who has a heart for God–we did not choose Him…He chose us. Paul even uses the word “elect” in describing the believer in Christ. God chose us to be a special people who are called out in righteousness in the same way as Abraham.
This seed points to Jesus Christ:
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but referring to one, and to your seed, who is Christ.
To all believers:
19 Why then was the law given? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise was made would come. The law was put into effect through angels by means of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not for just one person, but God is one. 21 Is the law therefore contrary to God’s promises? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that was able to give life, then righteousness would certainly be by the law. 22 But the Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin’s power, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
For this is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus fulfilled the covenant with the shedding of His blood for the covenant that was given to Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and also made a new covenant to be fulfilled by today’s church. The church had not yet begun, but each and every believer is the seed of Abraham and is declared righteous before Him. Live out who your are as an heir and as a priest of God.