Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

"Israel's Fruition"

The following is from Paul R. Williamson, Sealed With An Oath: Covenant is God’s Unfolding Promise (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 190-192.
“[T]he emphasis in Romans 9-11 is surely on the fact that God’s covenant promises vis-à-vis Israel will indeed be fulfilled, but only in the genuine heirs of the covenant(s): Abraham’s spiritual descendants (whether Jew or Gentile; cf. Eph 2:11-12). Thus, Paul highlights the fact that–although ethnic Israel enjoyed some tremendous spiritual privileges (Rom 9:4-5)–God had never promised that all Abraham’s physical posterity would inherit the covenant promises (Rom 9:6-13). Rather, through Jesus, God has done exactly what he promised Abraham (Gen 12:3) and later reiterated through the prophets: namely, extending blessing to all the nations of the earth. Thus, Romans 9-11 graphically reinforces the point that Paul made earlier in this epistle (cf. Rom 4:16-19)–that the gospel is the means by which the covenant promise made to Abraham is realized–Abraham’s ‘fatherhood of many nations’ and multitudinous descendants relates to the extension (beyond ethnic Israel) of the people of God.

“However, Paul is also at pains to stress in Romans 9-11 that the extension of the people of God to include Gentiles did not negate or abrogate the fulfillment of the covenant promises in relation to ethnic Israelites. Unfortunately, this important caveat has been implicitly denied in many supercessionist readings of Scripture, which suggest that Israel has been entirely replaced by the church as the people of God. As Horton has recently argued (2006:131-132), rather than seeing the church as simply replacing Israel, it is more in keeping with Scripture to see the church ‘as Israel’s fruition’. Thus understood, the church is the continuation and extension of Israel as the people of God, encompassing both elect Jews and elect Gentiles who, together, make up ‘the Israel of God’ (Gal 6:16). Therefore, biological descendants of Abraham were in no way disadvantaged under the new covenant, as some of Paul’s protagonists were apparently suggesting (cf. Rom 11:13-22). Rather, they (like the Gentiles) could respond positively to the gospel message–
“Hence the covenant promises had been inherited not by Israel in an exclusively ethnic or biological sense, but by all Abraham’s true descendants: those united to Abraham through faith in Jesus Christ.

“Significantly, the inheritance of the latter appears to include even the territorial promise, albeit in a cosmic sense (Rom 4:13; cf. Matt 5:5). Thus understood, the promise of land, while including the territory of Canaan, ultimately encompasses much more: namely, the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ anticipated by the prophets (Rom 8:17-25; cf. 2 Pet 3:13).

“In any case, Paul’s discussion of covenant in Romans serves primarily to bolster confidence in God’s faithfulness to his ancient promises and the fulfillment of these in an Israel that, while not encompassing every biological descendant of Abraham, certainly incorporates all ethnic Israelites who, whether in the present or in the future, turn from their unbelief, and thus, along with their Gentile brothers, enter into the promised inheritance.”



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