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Paul wrote, “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made” (Galatians 3:16). In this Paul was quoting the passage in Genesis 12:7. The purpose of God’s covenant with Abraham was the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of men. Great blessings were in store for Abraham’s physical descendants if they would cooperate with God. But unfortunately they failed to do so. Accordingly, they could not become the tool of Heaven for the salvation of the world. Nevertheless, God ssent the Messiah in the fullness of time, as a Son of Abraham.
At Jesus time, the Jewish religious leaders believed that they were Abraham’s seed and that they were guaranteed God’s blessings without the need of repentance of the heart. For this reason John rebuked them saying, “Do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham” (Matthew 3:9). They rested in their superficial keeping of the law for salvation without its deep inner transforming power.
The promises of God did not fail, but the people simply failed when they killed the Son of God. Then what happens to the promises? The promises will still be fulfilled but not to literal Israel after the flesh. It will be fulfilled to spiritual Israel or all those that accept Christ by faith and follow Him. Now, both the Jews and the Gentiles by faith have become the children of God and the spiritual Israel – the NT church.
Paul says in Galatians 3:27-29: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” While the nation of Israel failed to receive the promises when they crucified His Son. Salvation is now open for any Jew or gentile that believes in Christ as a personal savior. No one will be accepted merely because of his physical ancestors but rather for his faith in blood of Christ.
Just as Abraham believed God and his faith was counted as righteousness (Genesis 15:6), and his true faith brought the fruits of obedience to God, likewise believers in the NT can be justified by faith “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). Then, God will live in their hearts through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and will bring the fruits of obedience to the law. “That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).
In His service,