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Children of the Promise

Romans 9:6-9
It 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 natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." (NIV)

Religious people like to believe that God accepts them. That is why they are religious! The Jews of Paul's day thought that as long they could claim direct descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (whom God renamed - Israel), then they were children of God. But Paul said, 'No'. God's promise to Abraham was received by faith (Romans 4:1-3). It is faith in God's promises which brings people into relationship with Him - in the same way that Abraham believed the promise that his wife Sarah would have a child.

The Jews in Rome needed to grasp this. They were not part of God's family because of their human ancestry, but because of the spiritual bond created by the Holy Spirit. This happened when they believed the gospel and received Christ into their hearts by faith. And that was exactly the same way in which the Gentiles became children of God - even though they did not share the same historic family tree.

Paul's words to the Jews of his day speak to all of us - whatever our ethnic and religious background. God's promise never fails. He promises, "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) That applies to everybody! Revelation 22:17 says, "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." That is why we can be confident to share the gospel: God will honour His promise to everybody who believes in Jesus. He will make them His very own children (John 1:12). That is true irrespective of their age, gender, nationality, religious background, social status, wealth or intellect! So tell somebody today that Jesus loves them and wants them to be saved.

Prayer 
Faithful God. Thank You so much that You always keep Your promises. Thank You that nobody who comes to Jesus will ever be turned away. I am sorry when I have been proud about my relationship with You, because of my Christian heritage, family, work or piety. I know that I have been saved by Your grace alone, and that it is You who has stimulated my faith. Help me to share Your gospel with those I live and work amongst, knowing that whoever believes in Jesus will be saved. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams