It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 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.” 8 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. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
Children of Promise
It would seem that if the Christian gospel is true that Jewish people would be an honoured group within Christianity. They would lead the way in communicating salvation history, representing God in public life, and preaching the gospel to those who are not followers of Jesus. However, that is clearly not the case. Although a group of Jewish people would call themselves followers of Jesus (we call them Messianic Jews), most Jewish people would not consider themselves Jesus’ disciples.
So did God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah fail? God promised to make them a great nation. On one level, the Israeli nation is a great nation, but spiritually the family of Abraham is greater. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection Christians become part of spiritual Israel. We inherit many of the blessings and the promises that God made to that nation. Of course, not all Israel’s promises are ours. There is great debate about the distinction between promises made to the nation of Israel and those who are spiritually grafted into the nation.
We can celebrate, though, that what was once an exclusive club is now open to all. Jesus, as king, has the authority to welcome everyone into his kingdom whom he chooses.
Thank you Jesus that you opened a door to an identity from which I was barred. You have redefined me because you have the authority. Now I inherit much of what was promised to the Jewish people.
- What has God’s word not done?
- Why might people be concerned?
- What kind of children are truly Abraham’s offspring?
- How connected do you feel with the heritage of Israel?
- How should Christians identify with, or distance themselves from, modern Israel?