I’ve been trying to establish who the covenant people of God are over the last several posts. I’ve been working towards this next verse for some time now with the hope that anyone without a background in New Covenant theology would see how I’m getting here Biblically. My understanding is that there is only one tree into which we can be grafted, one covenant which the faithful can partake of, one race which can be run by believers and that God no longer looks at the outward man, the physical man. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34) but He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).
Also a few other scriptures to freshen up our outlook:
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
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.
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
So ask yourself, who are all of the promises of God to? Who are the children of promise? Who is born after the Spirit? Who is the “Jew”? The ones who are inwardly, having their hearts circumcised, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the sons who are fulfilling the righteousness of the Law according to the Holy Spirit. In short whosoever will:
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
As Paul did:
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
So when we press into God, and ask of Him anything with right motive (by the Holy Spirit) we will receive it. I believe that someday if our hearts our right that the Holy Spirit will prompt us to ask of Him several great things, unprecedented things:
1) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
(I believe that in this instance that Jesus was referring to a mountain as a government, and I believe that one day soon we will be saying this prayer and it will be answered.)
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
2) Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, (Psa 2:8a)
So who is doing the asking and the inheriting? The sons, the joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17) if we will also suffer with Him. And who are the heathen? We know from Psa 2:1 that they are raging and suffering vain imaginations, correct? They are the heathen because they aren’t intimate with God by the Holy Spirit. The heathen are the ones sitting in a trance by “the pool“, thinking their own thoughts and going their own way. We are promised that:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Although the Holy City is being trampled by the heathen there is coming a day soon when they no longer will be. The tares will be gathered up and burned:
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
I would also note here that there is still the mystery which Paul hints at in Romans 11 that strikes of the hardening that God did to Pharaohs heart in Exodus 7:3 and that we have no idea who out of natural Israel God may choose to have mercy upon. Romans 11:26 suggests all, which makes me wonder, past, present, future? Would that include the men who Jesus called Son’s of the Devil (Rev 3:9 and John 8:44)? I don’t know.
In my opinion, however, there is still only ONE tree spelled out in Romans 11 and either we are natural or wild branches of that ONE tree accordingly and every bad branch is going to be pruned off and cast into the fire:
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
and maybe not everyone claiming to be a natural branch really is:
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
Paul in Roman’s 9 tackles the issue of who the children of promise are once again:
That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Paul is here talking about the natural branches, his kinsmen according to the flesh, who should rightfully receive the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the service of God and the promises. Jesus ministry was specifically to them. However Paul continues:
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 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.
This almost seems to be foolishness, doesn’t it? On one hand it appears that the kingdom is inherited by flesh when we know through the volume of the book that flesh will not inherit the Kingdom.
As I’m praying about this it occurs to me as we see in Romans 9, that Essau was the heir to the promises of Isaac and yet he wasn’t the child of promise, his younger brother Jacob was. Everything “pertained” to Essau until he despised his birthright and it passed to Jacob.
And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
At the end of it we must settle on this, that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and while we don’t understand every detail of God’s election process we do know that like Paul that we can be children of promise. We can be in-grafted into that tree and that we will ask of the Lord and He will give to us.
God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him:
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
In order to be children of promise we need to be like Jacob/Israel and believe what God says when He tells us He will bless us:
Art: Camille Pissarro