Children of the Promise—Romans 9:8
"In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring" (Romans 9:8)
It is amazing to belong to the promise and subsequently be a part of God's wonderful redemption plan initiated in the garden, prophesied throughout prophets and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God chose us and His hope is that we will chose him. It is through the blood of Jesus that we have obtained this sweet and precious promise. Paul told us in Ephesians, "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" ( Ephesians 2:12-13 ). We have been brought near and made the true seed of Abraham because of the promise spoken to him centuries ago. The promise was Jesus. It was nothing we could do to obtain it and it was everything that Jesus did for us which brought us into fellowship with the Father. Paul said in Ephesians that He had an intense, wonderful and great love towards us so he reached out in mercy to include us in the promise and to save us by grace ( Ephesians 2:4-5 ).
Paul started out this chapter by expressing his sadness at the rejection of Israel on the account of Christ, he said in verse 4 and 5, "Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" ( Romans 9:4-5 ). However, in today's passage he is saying that while Israel holds a wonderful heritage, their ancestry cannot bring them into right relationship with God. Paul said, it is not children of the body of Abraham who are God's children, but the offspring of the promise will be counted and Abraham's true descendants ( Romans 9:8 ). In other words, Israel still has to put their faith in Jesus Christ to be counted righteous, holy and blameless before God. To be God true child in this world can only comes through faith in the Savior. It cannot come through reliance on a natural lineage or the faith of the patriarchs.
The amazing thing about being born again into the family of God is that he dwells on the inside of you and fellowships with you in a personal, loving way. It is an intimate relationship. Peter said concerning this, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" ( I Peter 2:9-10 ). Just like the heritage that Israel shares, once we are born into the family of God we become part of a holy nation and royal priesthood. We may have started out in life with no hope, no future and no family, but we have been called out of darkness and into God's light. Now we belong to God and we have become the light to this dark world. He has equipped us, called us and loved us and all of this while we were sinners and separated from him.
Paul said in Ephesians, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit" ( Ephesians 2:19-21 ). Today, ours future is so bright in Christ Jesus. We are being built into a wonderful holy people where God lives and dwells among us. Through Christ our heritage is wonderful, built on the foundations of those saints who have gone before us which Christ Jesus being the cornerstone which holds everything together. I am so bless to be counted among the promise spoken to Abraham and I am so excited that by faith he believe God and so blessed the entire world. Today, I pray that the truth of how much God loves you will sink into your heart and your response to this will be faith. Faith is what pleases the Lord ( Hebrews 11:6 ) and faith is what will bless the world, amen!
Original article published January 8, 2010.