01 September 2021

Promise of the Father

With the ascension of Jesus, the gift of the Spirit arrived with blessings for all believers, the “promise of the Father.” 

Rainbow - Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash
The “
promise of the Father” is the gift of the Spirit, a part of the covenant with Abraham that is fulfilled in the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus. The bestowal of the Spirit marked the commencement of the age of fulfillment, and in him, Gentile believers also become heirs of the covenant promises - [Photo by David Brooke Martin on Unsplash].

The Apostle equated the “promise of the Spirit” with the “blessing of Abraham.” The original covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles, a point Paul uses to argue for the acceptance of Gentile believers without circumcision. All who belong to Jesus are now “Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” - (Genesis 12:1-3, Galatians 3:13, 3:29).

In Christ,” the old distinctions between “Jew and Gentile” no longer apply. Gentile inclusion was not an afterthought, but a fundamental part of the original promise. And the Spirit is received from faith, not from circumcision or the other rituals required by the Torah - (Galatians 3:1-4, 3:14).
  • (Ephesians 1:13-14) – “In whom, you also are hearing the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing, were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, which is an earnest of OUR INHERITANCEfor the redemption of THE ACQUISITION; for his glorious praise.
The Spirit is the “earnest,” the “down payment” that guarantees our participation in the full inheritance, and the references in Ephesians to the “inheritance” and “acquisition” allude to the land promised by God to Abraham - (Genesis 17:8, “I will give to you and your seed all the land of Canaan for an EVERLASTING POSSESSION”).

Thus, Paul connected the gift of the Spirit to the covenant with Abraham, including its promise of territory. Likewise, Jesus labeled the gift of the Spirit the “promise of the Father.” Before his ascension, he commanded the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit - (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4).

In his first sermon, Peter declared that the outpouring of the Spirit was in fulfillment of the prophecy from Joel - “In the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.” The presence of the Spirit demonstrated that the “last days” had commenced, the era of fulfillment that is to continue until the return of Jesus - (Genesis 17:7-10, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:38-39).

The gift of the Spirit is how men and women receive the “blessings of Abraham.” By the Spirit, men of every ethnic background find themselves blessed with faithful Abraham - (Genesis 12:3, Acts 3:25).

The actualization of the promises began with the outpouring of the Spirit. All men who receive the gift become the “children of Abraham”; and therefore, the old distinctions between Jew and Gentile are wholly inappropriate in the new covenant community - (Galatians 3:27-29).

The Mosaic legislation itself anticipated the need for something beyond the Law. The Torah could not complete what God began with Abraham. Inevitably, Israel disobeyed and violated the covenant. However, after chastisement and repentance, she would “return to Yahweh and obey His voice,” and God would gather His people from all nations and “circumcise their hearts to love Him” - (Deuteronomy 30:1-6).

The themes of renewal and circumcision of the heart were taken up by the prophet Jeremiah. God “would make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,” but not like the covenant that He made at Sinai. He would write His laws in the hearts of His people. The circumcision of the heart would be realized in the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus - (Jeremiah 31:31-34Hebrews 8:6-13).

The book of Ezekiel adds the aspect of the Spirit to the promised “new covenant.” When Yahweh gathers the children of Israel, He will put “a new spirit” in them, and He will “put His spirit in them and cause them to walk in His statutes.” The prophet combined the promises of Spirit, the circumcised heart, and the New Covenant. Thus, the covenant promises are dependent on the receipt of the Spirit - (Ezekiel 36:16-28, 37:25-28, 2 Corinthians 3:1-6).

Consistently, the New Testament applies the covenant promises to the gift of the Spirit that is now given freely to Jewish and Gentile believers. It is labeled the “promise of the Father” and the “blessing of Abraham.” It is the identifying sign of the people of God, and the Spirit provides believers with the power to walk in the New Covenant and fulfill the “righteous requirements of the Law.”

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