If you’ve ever attended a Christian Sunday school class perhaps you sang about “Father Abraham”. The song goes like this:
Father Abraham had many sons
Many sons had Father Abraham
I am one of them and so are you
So let’s all praise the Lord……..
Abraham is called the father of the faithful (Gal. 3:16-29; Rom. 4:11) and “the friend of God” (Jas. 2:23). He is an example to us in many ways, therefore, it is always good to study him and learn from that which the Bible reveals to us about him. The Biblical account of Abraham starts with God making the following promises to him:
- I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
- I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
- I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
- And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Genesis 12:2-3(KJV) – “And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curesth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”
Genesis chapter 12 is often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. God made these promises to Abraham and his wife Sarah when they were childless. One point of interest is the meaning of the word “nation”. From Strong’s concordance, we see that the English word “nation” is translated from the Hebrew word “gôy”. Strong’s indicates that the reference is to “a foreign or Gentile nation”.
Genesis 17:7 (KJV) – “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”
The word for “covenant” in the Old Testament also provides additional insight into the meaning of this important idea. Simply stated, God says, “If you will do this, then I will do that.” It comes from a Hebrew root word that means “to cut.” The idea would be “to cut the covenant.” This explains the strange custom of two people passing through the cut bodies of slain animals after making an agreement (Jeremiah 34:18). The two parties then walked between the animal halves, making contact with the blood, by stepping thru it and in it. Stepping thru the blood represented a kind of self-curse. The two parties were in effect saying, “If I break the covenant, then may what happened to this animal, happen to me.” A ceremony such as this always accompanied the making of a covenant in the Old Testament.
The covenant that God made with Abraham included Abraham’s “seed”. But what or who is this “seed” that God is referring to? A good definition of “seed” is “A source or beginning, offspring, progeny, posterity, family stock, ancestry or the principle of future life.” So we see this principle of ancestry established early in the Bible. This promise given to Abraham continues throughout the Old Testament to the New Testament.
Romans 4:13-18 (KJV) – “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. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 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, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”
Here in Romans, referring back to Genesis, the promise to Abraham was not of the law but thru faith! This idea of the promises made to Abraham’s seed continues in the book of Galatians.
Galatians 3:14 (KJV) – “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Galatians 3:16 (KJV) – “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.”
These scriptures again refer to the promises God made to Abraham in Genesis. But why does Paul, the Apostle say “not of seeds, as of many”? Here’s the answer: Abraham possessed in his family two (2) seeds. One “seed” was natural, namely, the members of his physical household (his flesh) and the other spiritual, those who were like himself, because of their faith. We see this idea developed further as we read from Galatians:
Galatians 3:26-29 (KJV) – “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 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.”
Do you catch the power of this scripture? The promises given to Abraham in Genesis are NOT dependent on your race, ethnic origin, economic status or gender. Are you “in Christ”? If so then you are Abraham’s seed and an heir according to the promise! “The promise” given to the “nations” by God to Abraham. You see it doesn’t matter what our national origin is. It doesn’t matter if we are male or female. It doesn’t matter if we are a Jew or a Greek (Gentile). What matters is our relationship with Christ Jesus. And being a natural “Jew” certainly, doesn’t give anyone an advantage with God if we aren’t first “one in Christ Jesus”.
Romans 2:28-29 (KJV) – “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
Paul, was a Jew, A Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee. Here in Romans Paul gives us the New Testament description of a true “Jew”. A natural Jew is circumcised in the flesh while a true Jew is circumcised of the heart. This is a circumcision int he spirit.
Romans 8:14-17 (KJV) – “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
This term “Abba” is one of affection and closeness. It speaks of an adoption from one family to another. It’s an adoption from the family (seed) of the serpent to the family (seed) of God. You see slaves were NEVER permitted to use the terms Abba ( father) or Imma (mother) when addressing their Masters or Mistresses. But when we are “in Christ” be become the heirs of the promises that God made to Abraham. We are no longer outsiders but we become the sons and daughters of the Most High God. We become “joint-heirs with Christ”. Here’s one more of my favorite scriptures:
1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) – “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
Yes, all born-again believers are part of a “royal priesthood”. Together we make up a “holy nation”. The word “peculiar” comes from the Latin word, “pecus” which means “flock”. The KJV translators were simply reflecting the idea that believers in Christ are the unique possession of God — they are His flock. Christian friend, I hope that you are encouraged to know that you really are “peculiar”. You belong to a special group of people who are the unique possession of God. You are a member of His eternal family. And that means, of course, that you are the special object of His love and care. It also means, however, that we are to live consistent with who we are. We’re not like other people in the world. We’re more than different — we’re unique. And so, we live unique lives to the glory of God who has given to us His Holy Spirit.