Thesis #74 of 95. Like Isaac, those within the Covenants of Promise are elected through unmerited grace.
Gen17:18-20 Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly.
Gal4:28 And you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are the children of promise.
Phil3:13-14 Brothers, I do not regard myself as possessing it as yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
This follows on from the previous thesis’s assertion that the Church like Isaac are the children of promise. Yet the Church has generally understood there to be one covenant for each testament period and an exclusive one at that. Such a concept should be repudiated, firstly by the reality of Abel and others declared righteous before the Abrahamic Covenant was established. Still more so by the story of Ishmael. He had been circumcised, blessed by God and by his father Abraham, 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 such is the Church in the current dispensation (Gal4:28). Yet through Abraham, all nations were to be blessed, and that included the twelve that would spring from the seed of his son Ishmael, yet not necessarily through incorporation into an exclusive covenant.
The point of the thesis is that Isaac had been elected to that exclusive covenant, and Paul mentions him by name as effectively he is its patriarchal head, Abraham’s other son Ishmael having been excluded. It therefore hardly needs to be said that Isaac’s election was entirely a matter of grace. He was chosen simply because he was the child promised to Sarah and Abraham in their old age.
The same is effectively the case for those who are called out from the world and into the Church [Greek ἐκκλησία = the called-out ones]. Such all-of-grace election and the staggering rewards that go with it (Rev3:21😲) may appear to challenge God’s loving and equitable nature. Not so once the self-sacrificial demands and conditionality of attaining such a goal has been grasped (Phi3:13-14 above) together with an understanding of biblical salvation’s context within broader benign providence that i have been outlining.
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