Summary: The fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham is in Christ.
What God required of Abraham…
Leave your country, your people and your father’s household. Go to a land I will show you
God promised to Abraham…
God would give him land
God would make him into a great nation
God would make him a blessing to others
Through Abraham and his son, Isaac, the Jewish nation is born. This small, seemingly insignificant nation still stands today against all odds. Is there a nation today as hated as Israel? Is there any other place on earth that is desired more than the land of Israel? Why? Because God chose to make this nation his own.
However, if we’re not careful, we would conclude that this covenant is all about Israel: God wants to give Israel their own land. God wants to make Israel a great nation. God wants to use Israel to bless others.
Are these things true? Yes, but with the full counsel of God’s word, we can see that this covenant is not fulfilled in and through Israel; it’s ultimately fulfilled in and through Jesus.
We begin with some interactions with Jews in the Gospels:
John 8:39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.”
There was an assumption that God had favor on a Jew just because they were born a Jew. And it’s based on a misunderstanding of this covenant with Abraham.
Matthew 3:5-12 “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And 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.’”
Romans 2:28-29 “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”
Romans 9:6-8 “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.”
But isn’t this covenant with Abraham a covenant with his descendants as well? Paul makes it crystal clear in his letter to the Galatians:
Galatians 3:16 “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ.”
The promises of God are to be fulfilled, not through the natural descendants of Abraham, but through Christ!
Galatians 3:26-29 “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”