The Promise of the Father

Paul calls the Gift of the Spirit the “Promise of the Father,” and he links it to the Abrahamic covenant. The promises to Abraham and “his Seed” find their fulfillment in the New Covenant inaugurated by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The bestowal of the Spirit marked the start of the age of fulfillment, and non-Jewish believers were welcomed into the covenant community as heirs of the Patriarch and “coheirs with Jesus.”

The Gift of the Spirit is an essential part of the Gospel. Not only have we been reconciled with God through Jesus, but He has provided us the power to walk in “newness of life” through the Spirit that dwells in us.

Lions Bay - Photo by Jeremy Allouche on Unsplash
[Photo by Jeremy Allouche on Unsplash]

Paul identified the “
Promise of the Spirit” with the “Blessings of Abraham.” The original covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the nations, a point he used when arguing for the acceptance of Gentiles without the rite of circumcision.

All men and women who belong to Jesus become “Abraham’s heirs according to promise.” The old distinctions between “Jew and Gentile” no longer apply, and the inclusion of the Gentile nations was never an afterthought or later adjustment to the covenant - (Genesis 12:1-3, Galatians 3:1-14, 3:29):

  • 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 inheritance, for the redemption of the acquisition, for his glorious praise” - (Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Gift of the Spirit is the “earnest,” the “down payment” that guarantees our participation in the inheritance. The references in Ephesians to “inheritance” and “acquisition” allude to the territory promised by God to Abraham - “I will give to you and your seed all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession” - (Genesis 17:8).

Thus, Paul connects the Gift of the Spirit to the Abrahamic covenant, including its promise of territory. Likewise, Jesus labeled the Gift as the “Promise of the Father.” Before his Ascension, he commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit. They would then become his “witnesses to the uttermost parts of the Earth” and take his Gospel to the nations under the guidance and empowerment of the Spirit - (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4).


In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter declared that the outpouring of the Spirit was according to the prophecy in the Book of Joel - “In the last days, God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.” It demonstrated that the “Last Days” were underway - (Genesis 17:7-10, Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:38-39).

The Gift of the Spirit is how we receive the “Blessings of Abraham,” and find ourselves blessed with faithful Abraham. The fulfillment of the promises began with the outpouring of the Spirit. Since then, everyone who receives the Gift becomes a “child of Abraham,” and therefore, the old boundaries between Jew and non-Jew are inappropriate in the one people of God - (Genesis 12:3, Acts 3:25, Romans 4:13, Galatians 3:27-29).

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

The themes of renewal and the circumcision of the heart were taken up centuries later by the prophet Jeremiah. God intended to “make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah.” With the arrival of the Spirit, God began to write His laws on the hearts of His people, and the promised circumcision of the heart became a reality in the Body of Christ - (Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:6-13).

The Book of Ezekiel added the aspect of the Spirit to the coming “New Covenant.” When Yahweh gathered the children of Israel, He would put “a new spirit” in them, and “cause them to walk in His statutes.” Ezekiel combines the promises of the Spirit, the circumcised heart, and the New Covenant, making the covenant promises dependent on the receipt of the Spirit by the people of God - (Ezekiel 36:16-28, 37:25-28, 2 Corinthians 3:1-6).

Consistently, the New Testament links the promise to Abraham with the Gift of the Spirit that is granted freely to Jewish and Gentile followers of Jesus, and it labels it the “Promise of the Father” and the “Blessing of Abraham.”

The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the identifying mark of the End-Time People of God. The Spirit empowers believers to walk in the New Covenant, fulfill the “righteous requirements of the Law,” proclaim the Gospel to the “uttermost parts of the Earth,” and to do so until the moment Jesus appears “on the clouds of Heaven.”

  • Earnest of the Inheritance - (Believers are the heirs of Abraham, and the possession of their inheritance is secured and guaranteed by the Gift of the Spirit)
  • The Life-Giving Spirit - (Jesus declared, The Spirit makes alive. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life)
  • The Blessing of Abraham - (Jesus grants the Gift of the Spirit as part of God’s promise to bless the nations in Abraham’s Seed - Jesus Christ)

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