The Lord God blessed Abraham when He called and separated him according to the divine purpose. God said, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name 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 12:2-3 NKJV).
Later, as the years went by, God added blessing upon blessing. God promised to make Abraham the father of many nations. Indeed, we know that the LORD God was faithful to these promises. Today, dozens of centuries after Abraham died, his name is respected. People of several nations – not just the Jews – consider Abraham to be their Patriarch and therefore heirs to his blessings.
Considering the mind-blowing array of promises that God made to Abraham and subsequently to his descendants, who wouldn’t mind being a part of this great family? God’s blessings to His included divine provision, peace, prosperity, security and what not! God’s blessings were not just some enigmatic sense of well-being limited to their spiritual life. It included down-to-earth everyday blessings— fertility, fruitfulness, victory in battle, good health, success in agricultre and business, etc.
As Christians, when we read in the Old Testament how Israel’s physical and material well-being were intimately linked with their spiritual well-being and their relation with God, we do not have any problems. That’s because we were taught to think that Old Testament Israel was promised material, earthly blessings. Similarly, we believe, God gave all the “spiritual” blessings to New Testament ‘People of God’ (the Church).
What if that’s not true? What if the Bible says that the Church embodies both a continuation and a break from the Old Testament Israel through the Person of Jesus Christ? I mean, what if the Bible actually says that ALL promises given to Abraham are applicable to ALL Christians through Jesus Christ?
This is in fact one of cardinal truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All those who believe in Jesus Christ have become “children of Abraham” and therefore heirs to the promises and blessings given to Abraham. The apostle Paul wrote: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”
True, the blessings and the promise that we inherit from Abraham through Christ has spiritual dimensions. However, we should not look down on God’s “earthly” blessings to His children. When we appreciate the fact that the earth and its fullness belong to God, and that all the material world is part of God’s creation, then, we will see the “spiritual” side of the “material” world. “Material” blessings will cease to be second-class blessings. We will then escape our tendency to look down upon God’s creation as many other religions do.
The greatest promise that God gave Abraham was a land of rest. If Moses had given it to Israel, David would not have spoken about it again in the Psalms. Abraham himself looked beyond a small parcel of land to a “city” that God himself built. In fact, Abraham was promised not just a small piece of land called Palestine but the whole world (Rom 4:13).
The Church is the heir to that promise through Christ. Unlike some religions that have political ambitions to rule the whole world, Christians do not seek to set up a global Christian government. Instead, we seek to bring every person under the dominion of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth, has commissioned the Church to go to the ends of the world to make disciples. He has given the church the assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church. Let the church march ahead and inherit the world for Christ.