Unlimited: The Descendants of Israel
Mar 2, 2023 219
For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children (Romans 9:6b–7a).
The apostle Paul here says something that was unthinkable in the ancient world. In that time, people were strictly defined by their family lineage and race. Everything, such as their opportunities in life, where they could live, who they could associate with, depended on their race.
The promises of the covenant were made to both Abraham and Israel. Yet Paul is saying that you could be of the lineage of Abraham and yet not inherit the promises that were made to his descendants. How could this be possible? Essentially Paul is now saying that not all Jews are true Jews.
The identity of true Israel is spiritual, and not biological.
There is an important sense in which the spiritual takes priority over the physical. The promises that were made were primarily spiritual promises. The identity of true Israel is spiritual, and not biological.
Through his death and resurrection, the Messiah had brought all of humanity into the community of those who were to inherit the promises. The promises that were made to Abraham are not only for biological Jews alone, since now all who believe in Christ have been adopted as children of God, as his heirs, and as co-heirs with Christ. In Christ, we are all the children of Abraham.
What does it mean to you to be part of spiritual Israel? Which of God’s promises to Israel is the most precious to you?
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