Children of the Promise
Author: John A. Witmer
Week of January 21, 2018
In one sense of the phrase, all members of the human family are “children of the promise” (Rom. 9:8). To Noah and his family—progenitors of the entire human family after the Flood—God promised that “never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Gen. 9:11). That promise has been kept to this day.
The Apostle Paul used the phrase, however, with reference to “the people of Israel,” for to them belong among many other things “the promises” (Rom. 9:4).
The application of the phrase is restricted still more, however. Paul recognized that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (v. 6; cf. 2:28-29). By God’s election the line of promise was through Isaac (9:7-9) and, in turn, through Jacob (vv. 10-13).
Paul continued, “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” (v. 8). The promise to Abraham was received “through the righteousness that comes by faith” (4:13; cf. 20-22). As a result, “the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring — not only to those who are of the Law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham” (v. 16).
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, Christians are among the “children of the promise” because they have the faith of Abraham. Abraham “did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God” (v. 20), but was “fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised” (v. 21). This faith “was credited to him as righteousness” (vv. 3, 22).
A reason for joy: That same faith in the promise of God concerning redemption from sin and eternal life through the Lord Jesus Christ has secured our justification by God (vv. 23-25). Take a moment now to praise God for choosing you to be among “the children of the promise.”