Lesson 4 The Promised Seed of Abraham

 

Lesson 4

 The Promised Seed of Abraham

In our last lesson on Justification by Faith, we learned from Paul’s letter to the Romans that both Jews and Gentiles have sinned and come short of the glory of God and can only be justified through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Today we are going to track God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from Genesis to Acts and beyond.

 We who believe are called the children of Abraham

Gal 3:6-9 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Let’s look at verse 8 more closely and notice that the promise made by God to Abraham is called the gospel. Now let’s go back to Gen 22 and read what Abraham did to cause God to make the promise:

Gen 22:16-18  And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 18  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Furthermore, we saw in Lesson 3 that Abraham was justified initially by simply believing God, but the gospel message that brings the blessing of salvation to all nations couldn’t be preached until Abraham obeyed God by being willing to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise.

Heb 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Years after preaching the promise to Abraham, God preached the identical promise/gospel to Isaac and to Jacob:

Gen 26:4   And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and ill give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed(Isaac)

Gen 28:14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. (Jacob)

Paul explains that the “seed” or “offspring” that God was referring to was actually Christ Jesus who was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob according to the flesh.  

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Paul had much to say about the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and explains that the promise was prophetically speaking of the promise of the Spirit. He also clearly shows us that the children of promise are not the natural  descendants of Abraham, but the spiritual children of Abraham.  

Rom 4:13‑16 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the Righteousness of faith. {14} For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: {15} Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. {16} therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not  to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith  of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 

Rom 9:7‑8 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. {8} That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.    

Gal 3:13‑14 {13} Christ hath redeemed us from  the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: {14} That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus  Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

What did Jesus Himself have to say about the promise? 

Luke 24:44‑49 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. {45} Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, {46} And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead  the third day: {47} And that repentance and  remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning  at Jerusalem. {48} And ye are witnesses of these things. {49} And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Luke, the inspired writer of the book of Acts explains what the Promise of the Father is and of the power it would bring.  

Acts 1:1‑5 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all  that  Jesus began both to do and teach, {2} Until the day in which he was  taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments  unto the apostles whom he had chosen: {3} To whom also he showed  himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: {4} And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. {5} For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The prophetic words of Jesus in Luke 24:49, that the disciples would be “endued with power from on high”, are fulfilled on the day of Pentecost:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all  with one accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where  they were sitting. {3} And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of  fire, and it sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with the  Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1‑4)

It is also interesting to compare the words of Jesus in Luke  24:47 with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.

Verse 47: “And that repentance and remission  of sins  should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning  at  Jerusalem

Jesus prophetically says what would be preached and where it would begin being preached

Peter in his inspired sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost explains what must be done to fulfill God’s plan for the spiritual restoration of fallen man.  In fulfillment of Jesus’ words, Peter preached repentance and remission of sins.  We also learn from Peter that remission of sins is accomplished by being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (“In His name”). Peter’s subsequent reference to the “gift of the Holy Ghost” corresponds to Jesus words, “Behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you”. In other words, the “Promise of the father” is the same as “the gift of the Holy Ghost”. In Acts 2:39, Peter refers to the gift of the Holy Ghost as “The Promise”. Also note that this message was first preached at Jerusalem, just as Jesus said it would be.

Acts 2:38‑39 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. {39} For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many  as the Lord our God shall call.

In order to receive the Holy Ghost our faith must produce obedience:

Acts 5:32 And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

In the following accounts the first Gentiles are saved. These passages should be closely studied by every sincere person who is seeking to know the truth about the true plan of salvation. There is no reason to believe that God’s requirements for becoming a part of his Church will change anywhere between the birthday of the Church, Pentecost, and the day that we are all caught up to be with Jesus forever!

Acts 10:43‑48 to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. {44} While Peter yet  spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which  heard the  word. {45} And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also  was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. {46} For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, {47} Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? {48} And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Acts 11:13‑17 And he showed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which  stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call  for Simon, whose surname is Peter; {14} Who shall tell thee words, whereby  thou  and all thy house shall be saved. {15} And as I began to speak, the  Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. {16} Then remembered I the word  of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed  baptized  with water;  but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. {17} Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

Acts 19:1‑6 records yet another incident of disciples being born of the water and the Spirit as Jesus told Nicodemus

Acts 19:1‑6 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, {2} He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much  as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. {3} And he said unto  them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. {4} Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which  should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. {5} When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. {6} And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

 

I Cor 12:13 clearly reveals the fact that the norm for becoming part of the Body of Christ, the Church, is by being baptized into it!

1 Cor 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into the Spirit.

Note the interchangeable use of Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ in the following:  

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

In the last two lessons we have seen how we are initially justified by our faith in the Gospel, but, like Abraham’s supreme act of obedience showed his initial faith to be genuine, so we also validate the justification that we received by believing the gospel – by obeying it.  This is accomplished through repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and receiving the Spirit of Christ, which is the Holy Spirit.

 

 

Next week – Lesson 5 “Baptism in Jesus’ Name”

 

 

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