Thesis #71 of 95 - The Abrahamic covenant superseded by the Covenant of Christ's blood are exclusive covenants Thesis #72 of 95 - Ishmael was blessed by God and his father Abraham but not elected to the exclusive covenant designated for Isaac and his seed Thesis #73 of 95 - The Church, like Isaac, are the children of promise
Gen4:7 (Masoretic) If you (Cain) do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, Sin is crouching at the portal and desired to have you – you must master him
Gen4:13-14 Cain replied to the Lord, my punishment is too much for me to bear; THIS DAY you are driving me from the land and I WILL BE HIDDEN FROM YOUR PRESENCE
Gen17:20-21 (KJV) As for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him and will make him fruitful… but my covenant I will establish with Isaac
Gal4:28 And you, brothers (and sisters), like Isaac, are the children of promise.
Eph1:4-5 God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love. He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
Jam1:18 Through His own predetermined will He gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.
This pertains to a crucial aspect of divine providence, being the main topic of the second chapter of The Little Book of Providence. Such needs to be consulted to provide an adequate explanation for these three related theses. For that chapter equally concerns a related overarching covenant in which Cain and Abel were the players (Gen4:7-14).
Unlike the Abrahamic and Christian covenants referred to in these theses, that was a universal and inclusive covenant. And seemingly it has been universally eluded by theologians. Christians therefore usually understood there to be one soteriological covenant for each testament period. And whether or not they discern or acknowledge the matter, it is exclusive in nature.
These theses repudiate that notion, firstly by observing that Abel and many others were declared righteous before the Abrahamic Covenant was established. Secondly, by the narrative concerning Ishmael. He had been circumcised, blessed by God and by his father Abraham and sent on his way in peace. Yet he was excluded from the covenant initiated through his father. For the seed of his union with Sarah were to be the children of promise. And in view of the indisputably biblical principle of election/predestination featuring in recent posts, such is the Church in the current epoch.
As Paul affirmed, it is the church who like Isaac are the children of promise (Gal4:28). And baptized Christians are in the elective covenant that replaced Abraham’s and they are there by grace alone. Others like Ishmael are loved by God but not elected to that exclusive family predestined before the foundation of the world to form the community in which the education and spiritual resources are provided for individuals to become holy and faultless in love before God through Jesus Christ (Eph1:4-5). Such is the Church, priesthood for the world, brought forth by God’s will to be the first fruit of a restored universe (Jam1:18).
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