Thursday, 15 August 2013
For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” Romans 9:9
As a way of seeing what Paul is doing with his words over the past few verses, note how he ties them together into greater concepts –
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” (9:6-9)
As you can see, he is making a direct connection between the “word of God” and the “word of promise.” The Greek word logos is used for both concepts. He is also tying the “children of God” in with the “children of promise.” The foreknowledge of God is seen quite clearly here and the connection becomes a demonstrable truth as he reaches back into past recorded history to show it. And not only is it recorded history, but it is the recorded history which establishes the people of Israel and the covenant promises.
Understanding this allows us to see more clearly what he will tell us concerning our own election. Using the Scriptures (the word of God) as the basis for his statement, he begins with “For.” This is stated in order to substantiate what he just claimed in the preceding verse – That “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”
So, “For this is the word of promise” is given to demonstrate this. If something came by a promise before it actually occurred, then it cannot be ascribed to what is usual. People have children all the time, but it occurs after the union of two people and when that union is at the right time and with all of the right conditions. It is not something that we can say will definitively happen; when it will happen; what sex the child will be; etc.
So when God said to Abraham, “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son” it is reflecting something outside of the normal. It is showing that the promise is tied into the word which has been spoken. If the word is true, then the promise is actually the word itself – they are one and the same. And thus it is because Genesis 17:19 records, “Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.”
Not only was a son promised, but his name was given – Isaac. In addition to this, the selection of the child was tied directly to the covenant which had already been announced to Abraham. And further, the timing of the event was also given as seen in Genesis 18:10 – “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
The promise is, in fact, the word. God’s pronouncements issue from Who He is. This is the extraordinary marvel which is the word of God, the Holy Bible. If it is the word of God (and it has proven itself time and time again), then what it proclaims must come about.
Life application: People who claim they have a “word from the Lord” or a “vision from God” will be held accountable for what they speak. Too often, such terms are thrown out with no backing and which don’t come true. Imagine the consequences of ascribing a word from God which isn’t a word from God! Don’t be swayed by those who throw out visions and fantasies from their heads. We are accountable for where we place our faith.
Heavenly Father, help me to be discerning in what I believe. Keep me from those who claim to have a “word” from You, but who are making false claims. I know that Your word is true and so anything which contradicts it cannot be true. Without knowing Your word, I won’t be able to tell the difference, and so give me the hunger and ability to read it and understand it every day. I ask that You keep me in the truth. Amen.