Children of Promise (a meditation on belonging to God’s and Abraham’s family through Jesus)

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. ~ Galatians 3:29

We all want to belong. The place God designed for us to naturally belong and be welcomed and accepted, to feel like we’re home, is family. Of course one of the sad realities of living in a post-Genesis 3 world is seeing so much brokenness and division in family life. But as much as Jesus came to redeem individuals, so he came to redeem family.

In the story of scripture one family stands apart from all others: that of Abraham. After all, it was in Genesis 12 where God promised a land, a great nation of offspring, and blessing to an old man who seemed beyond the years of having children of his own. The rest of the Bible is the ups and downs in the life of this man’s family until the true Son of Promise, Jesus, came on the scene (3:16).

Though the promises were unconditional to Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8), God told the nation physically birthed from him that if they wished to be his people, experience his blessings, and keep the land, then they would have to obey and follow him (Exodus 19:4-6, Deuteronomy 28, and Joshua 23:11-16). Because the people’s hearts were as stained with sin as the rest of the nations surrounding them, they ultimately could not obey the Law meant for their good and proved themselves unrighteous (Romans 2-3).

Yet, God kept a portion of the nation alive even throughout a foreign exile so that one might be born from among them who obeyed perfectly and received forever what the others could not keep—the man, Jesus (Galatians 3:15-18).

Therefore, Paul wrote, the Old Testament Law was a guardian that kept watch on God’s people until the promised Son came. Because of him “we are no longer under a guardian;” but we are free to live and walk according to the Spirit who produces within us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. “Against such things there is no law.” (See most of Galatians 3-5).

serving_01If we belong to Jesus, we are justified not by our works but by the works of Jesus and through our faith in him (3:24). Through Jesus we are children welcomed into a new Family, an eternal family—children of God, children of Abraham, and heirs of promise. Though we do not lose our distinctiveness in our differences, there is no division of differences, be it of gender, ethnicity, or social class, which keep us out of the Family so long as our faith rests only on Jesus (3:26-29).

In a Family made new, we belong.

Belonging to this Family, the promises of God to Abraham are promises of God to us his children. Followers of Jesus from every tribe, tongue, and nation become citizens of the grand eternal nation filled with people zealous to do good and honor Jesus (Titus 2:14). We are heirs not merely of a small strip of land in the Middle East but of the entire world as Jesus will completely reverse the Genesis 3 curse at his return (Romans 4:13, Revelation 21-22). And we are unimaginably blessed by God that we might in turn be a blessing to the world as we live for him and share of his love and grace (Matthew 5:1-16, Ephesians 1:1-14).

Therefore, let us love our Family in Christ, welcoming and accepting one another and spurring one another on in our journey to follow him. Let us care for our world, being wise with creation and our jobs in order to benefit others. Let us show others the love of Jesus in the hope they too will become part of the Family. And let us look forward to the hope of perfect joy in a perfected world, together always with our God and his Family.

In Jesus, you are a child of promise.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

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