God's faithfulnessIt is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
God's word does not fail. Verses 1-5 have Paul explaining that even though the Israelites have so much blessing from God, not all of them are saved. Here he continues on that theme. God never promised that every Israelite would go to heaven eternally. He made promises to Abraham and those promises had both a physical and spiritual element. God did bring the Physical descendants of Abraham into the promised land, he did bless them and build them into a great nation. But God's promise stretched much farther than that Israel. He never intended that they all become Christians. Instead he (through Christ) Opened the way for the gentiles to be saved.
God hasn't broken his promises, he has fulfilled them entirely. His word has not failed - We can trust him.
The True Israel
Not all descendants of Abraham were Israel. He also had another son through Hagar: Ishmael. God had the right to choose between Ishmael (the firstborn) and Isaac, and he chose to bless Isaacs descendants. Likewise he chose Jacob instead of Esau. So it is not being descended from Abraham that saves - it is God who saves. He chose Isaac and if we are his people then he also chose us. What does that mean? It means we don't deserve any of the glory for it. It means God deserves all the credit. He created, sustains and saved us. We owe him everything.
So God chooses Israel. If we are Christians then God has chosen us. Therefore we are the spiritual Israel. We are the children of the promise. The spiritual element of God's promise to Abraham applies directly to his people - Christians
Broadening this out a little for more application: It isn't about us. It is entirely about God and what he has done through Jesus. This means:
- There is no room for Pride in a Christians life. Trust him, submit to him and give him all the glory. This is something I'm continually struggling through.
- Nothing we have or do can save us or make us better in God's sight. Good works cannot save because we are sinful. Heritage cannot save. Our Parents faith cannot save us. Wealth cannot save. Going to Church doesn't make us Christians. Friendships cannot save us.
- Nothing can save us except personal faith in Jesus, which is a gift from him (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nothing can save us except Jesus' death on the cross in our place.
Do you have personal faith in Jesus?