Tuesday, 13 August 2013
…nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” Romans 9:7
In order to substantiate his statement, “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…” Paul returns to the fountain of Scripture to validate that this concept already has precedence. Abraham had a son through his maidservant Hagar named Ishmael. He was Abraham’s firstborn, but God rejected Ishmael and his line for the honor of ushering in the Messiah. In fact, no descendant of Ishmael is recorded as being in this line for the rest of the Bible. Instead, God told Abraham that he would, in fact, have a son through his wife Sarah who had been barren for many decades. When the son came, he was named Isaac.
Some time after Isaac’s birth, Sarah died and Abraham went on to have more children through his other wives and concubines. And yet, the reckoning of Abraham’s seed was and would remain only through Isaac. The precedent was set in this example, that being a descendant of someone by blood doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be included in the spiritual blessings which may accompany the bloodline.
This premise should be obvious because ultimately we all descend from one man, Adam. But to make the point of election clear, Paul is using those to whom the promises were given and then showing that not all of their descendants are included in those promises.
This same thing will happen again after Abraham and Paul will cite that example as well in order to continue to make his case concerning election. As a sure example that what he is saying is correct we see the same thing being relayed by Jesus in a verbal altercation with the Pharisees. He shows that one’s bloodline is not the only factor that can be considered in our relationship with God –
“They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:39-44
Life application: When witnessing to others about Jesus, asking “Are you a Christian?” isn’t the best approach to determining the truth of the matter. In fact, it can set up a barrier which will then be hard to break down. The reason is that many people believe that they are Christians because they were born into a Christian home. However, being a saved Christian isn’t congenital. Instead, every individual must choose to follow Christ.
Lord God, throughout the Bible, we see You directing the course of human events for Your own wise purposes. Nothing occurs apart from Your sovereign knowledge and everything has been arranged for a good end for those who are called according to Your purposes. Use me, Lord, as an instrument of this great plan so that You will be glorified through my life. Amen.