True Descendants of Israel—Romans 9:6
"It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel" (Romans 9:6)
It is encouraging to know that God's word will never fail, it is as sure as the dawn. His spoken word holds the Universe together and we can rest assured in the promises given to us, found in His written word. God said in Isaiah, "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" ( Isaiah 55:11 ). When we hold fast to what he is spoken we can know that His word will accomplish the purpose to which it was sent. Jeremiah tells us, "... I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled" ( Jeremiah 1:12 ). God watches over his word to see that it is fulfilled and that it accomplished the purpose to which it was sent forth.
In today's passage Paul tells us that God's word concerning the covenant with Abraham had not failed even though the Jews had rejected Jesus. Instead he reveals an amazing truth that had not previously been disclosed, "not all who are descended from Israel are Israel." The Bible reveals to us that God is spirit and his promises and covenants are spiritual. Just because someone is born into the natural line of Abraham does not automatically make him a part of the promise to Abraham. Paul said in Galatians, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" ( Galatians 3:29 ). God's true children in the world are born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible seed based upon the word of God ( I Peter 1:23 ). God true children and chosen people in the world are born again by faith.
This is because the covenant made with Abraham was based upon the promise of Isaac not merely based upon a son of Abraham. Paul adds clarity to this in verse 8 where he said, "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 ). Isaac was the promised. Abraham had another son, however Ishmael was born out of a natural desire to fulfill the promise not the supernatural fulfillment of the promise as Isaac was. This is an amazing thing because it makes an allotment for us who were not born naturally into Israel to because grafted into the promise through faith.
Abraham accepted the covenant with God on the bases of faith. There was nothing that he could do to produce a child with Sarah and they were well beyond the natural age to bear child, so he believe God promise and his faith was credited to him as righteousness ( Genesis 15:6 ). Because of it, he saw the promise God made to him come to fulfillment through Isaac. Paul said in Galatians, "Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" ( Galatians 3:6-9 ). In other words, it has always been God's design to credit righteous to us by faith, just as he did Abraham. God knew he would accept the Gentiles on the basis of faith and disclosed it to Abraham because he considered him his friend. So if we have the same faith that Abraham had then we are considered sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus ( Galatians 3:23 ). So in this sense God's word never failed concerning Israel, it has been fulfilled in us who through faith have been born again according to the promise.
Today, I am blessed to be a child of God and to see the promise of Abraham operating in my life. I pray that your eyes are opened to understanding this wonderful truth that through faith in Jesus Christ you are heirs to the promise and a part of God's chosen people in the world, amen.
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Original article published January 5, 2010.