Through Christ, you have been grafted into the covenant God made with Abraham. Therefore, the same blessings that God gave Israel are available to you too–if you appropriate them!
Paul wrote about the inheritance of Israel in Romans 9:3-5.
Romans 9:3-5 says:
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
In this passage, Paul listed eight blessings that “pertain” to Israel:
- The adoption;
- The glory;
- The covenants;
- The giving of the law;
- The service of God;
- The promises;
- The fathers; and
- Christ Himself.
These eight things are specific gifts that God gave to Israel and the Jewish people. It's an amazing list, but it's not an all-inclusive one; God promised Abraham even more in other passages of the Bible.
However, this list of blessings is an important one for you and for me.
God has been pursuing us for thousands of years–since creation began, actually. (Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.) And although He gave His covenant to Abraham and the Jewish people first, it was His plan all along to graft us Gentiles in when the Jewish people wandered away from God.
We often tend to think that our story began with us.
We have it in our minds that our history with God started just a few years ago, at our birth or when we got saved. But, that's simply not true. Your story began at creation, and so did mine.
God has been thinking of you since eternity past. You and God have HISTORY. And if you become aware of that history, it can deepen your relationship with Him.
It's like the difference between traveling in the United States versus in the United Kingdom.
Here in the United States, where I live, most things are pretty new. Although the First Nations have artifacts dating to a long time ago, those pieces of history are not easy to find. They aren't top-of-mind. They aren't publicized or easily visible when you walk down the streets.
However, when I was in London a few years ago, I was immediately marked by how old things are.
In the UK, they have amazing history. (#Fistbump to our UK readers.) 🙂 Their history is prominent, too. It sticks out at you. They have churches that were founded over a thousand years ago. Buildings all over the place that are hundreds of years old. There are bits of a Roman wall remaining in London that date back to A.D. 200.
And when I saw these things in the UK, the story of it all marked me. The awareness of it marked me. The prominence of it made me stand in awe of the history I saw with my own eyes. I stood in awe of the story that the people in those nations have lived.
Your relationship with God works the same way.
A thing can be true, but you can be unaware of it. And anything you're unaware of will not impact you.
On the other hand, if you diligently study God's Word–including your history with God, and how He planned your life before the foundation of the world–then you can be marked by everything you're aware of:
- You will be marked by the cross of Christ when you study His sacrifice.
- You will be marked by God's pursuit of you when you study that pursuit.
- And you will be marked by your inheritance through the Jewish people when you study that inheritance.
We need to study the inheritance we have through the Jewish people because that inheritance will mark us:
- It will bless our lives.
- It will deepen our relationship with God.
- It will help us stand in awe of Him; and
- It will help us cultivate a heart of thanksgiving to our God, who has provided such depth and riches to us.
That being said …
Here is the eight-fold inheritance you have through Israel:
(Listed in the order Paul wrote them in the passage above from Romans 9 …)
1. The adoption:
1 John 3:1-2 says:
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
When you gave your life to Jesus, Father God adopted you. He made you His own, and He made Jesus the Firstborn among many brethren.
That adoption you have in Christ would not be possible without the Jewish people. Jesus WAS a Jew. He was born of a Jewish woman; descended on Mary's side from Jewish kings; and lived in Israel.
Furthermore, salvation through Christ only became available to us because of the Jews.
The Jews betrayed God and forsook His covenant. When they did that, God said something like this:
“I'm going to have a people, and the Jews have betrayed Me; so I'll add the Gentiles to My covenant, and use their witness to bring the Jews back to Me. That way, I'll end up with ALL the people, which is what I always wanted anyway.”
So the Jews even blessed us through their misbehavior. I know that's an odd way to think, but it's what the Bible says. So, we should be thankful for our adoption in Christ Jesus–and know that it became available to us because of the Jews.
2. The glory:
Romans 3:23 says:
… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ….”
We often hear that Jesus died to forgive our sins—and He certainly did. But, He did not stop there! When we sinned, we lost more than purity. We lost GLORY.
Adam and Eve used to carry glory in the Garden of Eden, when they walked with God in the cool of the day. They also had access to God’s glory; they could see God face-to-face! But then sin came into the picture and wrecked everything—temporarily.
Jesus’ death on the cross redeemed us from the slave market of sin.
He bought us back from the enemy and purchased access to the Father for us, along with everything that entails—healing, mercy, joy, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and more.
But you know what else? Jesus bought us back to GLORY as well.
Jesus' blood bought back everything we lost, including glory. Now, in Christ, we can dwell in God's glory. We can fully experience everything God has to offer us, for we are hidden in Christ.
3. The covenants:
The covenants weren’t random promises that God gave to everyone. The covenants were very specific promises—two-sided deals—that God cut with His beloved friends, like Abraham and David.
Those covenants came after some pretty amazing promises. For example, one of the first promises God gave Abraham–before the actual covenant–was this:
Now the Lord has said to Abram:
‘Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your nae great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed’” (Genesis 12:1-3).
Those promises and instructions were the precursor to the covenant. Now check out the covenant, found in Genesis 17:
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.’
Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God’” (Genesis 17:1-9).
God then gave Abraham the instructions for himself and all his descendants to be circumcised. He promised Abraham a son through Sarai; told Abraham to name that son Isaac; and promised generations of kings through Isaac’s line. That’s a pretty huge covenant!
In Christ, you benefit from the covenant God gave Abraham.
You have access to the same promises. You have access to the same influence. You have access to the same intimate relationship with God …
… and you have that inheritance because Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, chose to follow God so long ago.
That's something we can be extremely thankful for, is it not?
4. The giving of the law:
You may be tempted to think that the law is not a blessing or a good inheritance at all, since we can’t keep the law (and indeed are no longer under the law if we are in Christ). However, the law IS a good inheritance. Romans 3:20 tells us why:
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
The law is a blessing because it shows us what sin is.
The law shows us that we cannot earn salvation through our good works. It shows us our need for grace. And in all of its ceremonies, commandments, and statutes, the Mosaic law:
- points to Christ;
- prophesies the Person of Christ;
- shows us who Christ is; and
- shows us our need for Christ (by making our need for grace painfully obvious).
Romans 3:21-24 tells us more:
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ….”
Did you get that? That part about “Being witnesssed by the Law and the Prophets”?
The law is a witness to us.
The law stands as a not-so-silent witness, showing us how righteous and holy God is—and showing us that we can only attain that righteousness through faith in Christ. That means the law is a huge treasure!
No, we aren't capable of keeping the law. Even the Israelites can’t keep it (although they try). They couldn’t do it in Moses' time, and they can’t do it now. None of us can!
But, the law shows us that we need help. We need grace. We need salvation through faith in Christ. That means the giving of the law is a big blessing.
As part of your inheritance, Father God gave you a BIG road sign that says, “JESUS!” That road sign is called “the law.” And this big gift that points us toward Christ should give each one of us a thankful, grateful heart. “For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
5. The service of God:
I looked up the word “service” in my trusty concordance, and sure enough: it means “service!” Basically, this passage is saying that everything we do to serve God is a gift and a privilege.
Think about it this way:
Not everyone on the planet has the opportunity to do what you have the opportunity to do.
Whether it’s by worship, by helping the poor, or by being a greeter at the doors of your church, you have an enormous privilege: the ability to serve God and make a difference.
Do you know why that’s special? Because our service warms our Father’s heart.
Imagine that your child picks you a bouquet of your favorite wildflowers.
You didn’t ask them to. You didn’t tell them to. You didn’t know they were going to. But they approach you with a big smile and green fingers, and they hold up the flowers they just picked for you.
What do you do? If you love that child, you smile. You hug that baby. You accept the flowers with love and gratitude … because their loving gesture warmed your heart and demonstrated their love for you.
That’s how Father God feels—except a thousand times stronger—when you serve Him.
When you take the time to:
- worship Him;
- give to the poor in His name;
- obey His commandments;
- tarry at His feet and pray for His will to be done on earth; or
- serve His Body in menial ways …
… it warms His heart. He takes it personally. That's why Matthew 25:40 tells us:
And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'”
The ability and opportunity to serve God is a gift.
It’s a gift that blesses God and brings us blessing too. It’s a gift that increases our love relationship with Abba Father.
Think about it again: All the lost people out there in the world aren’t able to enjoy this gift of serving God yet, but YOU ARE.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to go pick up trash or hug somebody for Jesus’ sake. Doesn’t that inspire you? And just think: this ability to serve God was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus. It was a privilege originally given to Abraham and his descendants, but now we are counted as his descendants through Christ.
The ability to serve God is an amazing inheritance indeed!
6. The promises:
Wow. This one is so huge that I struggle to even put words to it. What could be richer than the promises of God? What on earth would we stand upon if not the Word of God? To whom would we go in trouble if we did not have the assurance that our Papa will help us—assurance that is only ours because He has promised to do so?
The promises of God are “yes” and “amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). God's promises work. They are rock-solid, firm, unwavering, unshakeable, and unalterable. They are legal evidence that brings results and MERCY when we boldly go before the throne of grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
God’s promises are the breath of life to you and to me.
After all, Deuteronomy 8:3 says:
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
Jesus knew that God's words are life. That’s why He quoted this verse at the devil when the enemy tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
GOD’S PROMISES KEEP US ALIVE.
And we have these promises through our inheritance in Christ—who grafted us into the covenant He made with Abraham. In other words, we have these promises because of the Jews AND the blood of Christ.
That’s a pretty rich inheritance for which we should be overwhelmingly grateful, wouldn’t you say?
7. The fathers of faith:
“Who’s your hero?” Has anyone ever asked you that question?
It’s an important question because you become like the people upon which you focus your attention. Focus your attention on Jesus, and you’ll become like Jesus. Focus your attention on the Joneses next door, and you’ll become like the Joneses next door.
It’s a godly thing to have heroes as long as they are godly heroes–heroes of faith.
That’s why Paul told us to imitate him as he imitated Christ. That’s why Hebrews chapter 11 provides a whole list of heroes and heroines of faith. And that’s why Hebrews 13:7 says:
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.”
The world has heroes, but those heroes aren’t helping them become like Jesus. The world picks their heroes using fleshly criteria, such as:
- Who has the most money?
- Who has the strongest muscles?
- Who is the thinnest?
- Who can show the most skin?
- Who has the most men/women hitting on them?
- Who has the worst attitude?
- Who causes the most chaos?
- Who incites the most rebellion?
The world’s heroes are all sowing to the flesh, and will from the flesh reap corruption. As it says in Galatians 6:7-8:
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
The world's heroes make a poor example.
But, the Kingdom’s heroes lived totally differently.
The Kingdom’s heroes:
- Lived by faith in God;
- Obeyed God; no matter what;
- Subdued kingdoms for God;
- Did righteous works;
- Obtained promises;
- Stopped the mouths of lions;
- Quenched the violence of fire;
- Escaped the edge of the sword;
- Out of weakness were made strong;
- Became valiant in battle;
- Turned back invading, enemy armies;
- Raised the dead;
- Healed the sick;
- Cast out demons;
- Endured torture, loss, and imprisonment; and
- Continued to believe God’s promises, no matter what.
And you know who the Kingdom’s heroes are? They are the ancestors and descendants of Abraham. Just as importantly, their stories were passed down to us through the culture and record-keeping of the Jewish people.
God gave the Jewish people these heroes of faith and their stories. Then we, through Christ, also received their stories—stories that inspire and challenge us; stories that draw us closer to Christ—through those same Jewish people.
Thank You, Lord!
8. Christ Himself:
Let’s read Romans 9:3-5 one more time:
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.”
Jesus Christ came through the Jewish people. His mother was a Jewess. Yes, His Father is Father God. He existed in Heaven in glory before He came to earth. But when Father sent Him to earth, He used the bloodline of Abraham through the Virgin Mary, a Jewish girl.
And Jesus Christ is, of course, our highest Blessing:
- He is our Inheritance; our Savior; our Most High God, who is blessed forever.
- He is very God of very God; fully God and fully man; who was crucified, killed, buried, and resurrected on the third day.
- He is the fullness of life, the soon and coming King; Bridegroom, King, and Judge.
- He ever lives to make intercession for us; and
- He is the firstborn of many brethren.
We benefit from all these things because WE are those brethren.
We are His redeemed. WE are His inheritance. And we wouldn’t have any of it unless His coming, His existence, and His death were both prophesied and made possible through the descendants of Abraham.
Did the Jews kill Jesus? Yes—and we owe them for it. Although they didn't mean to, the Jewish people even in their sin made it possible for you and me to inherit salvation.
We have a rich inheritance indeed in Christ, and through the Jewish people.
Of course, this article doesn't include every aspect of our inheritance. Scripture is filled with descriptions of what our inheritance looks like, and we may never have examined it all this side of Heaven. However, every bit we can learn about will deepen our faith–and will deepen our heart of gratitude.
Father God used the Jewish people to bless us. We owe them so much, and we owe Jesus more. If you will walk with awareness of the depth, the riches, the history of your inheritance in Christ Jesus and as a spiritual Jew, your life will be the richer for it.
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”
Does this word minister to your heart today? Does it help you see more of what Father God has provided for you in Christ, and through the covenant He made with Abraham? Or, do you have questions? If so, leave a comment below!