But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel.
Individual and/or national failure does not mean the Word of God has failed. God’s chosen people, Israel, had failed, but not the Word of God. The plan of God and the Word of God move on with or without us. God does not need us to fulfill His plan, but we need Him. Collective or individual failure of the Jews does not cancel the promises of God for Israel (especially for the believers of Israel). Rejection of Jesus Christ put the Jews outside of the plan of God and the unconditional covenants to Israel. Rejection of Christ does not imply that the Word of God has failed but simply the Jews had failed to use their free will to believe in Christ.
Divine judgment is just as clearly presented in the Word of God as the blessings of grace. The fact that many Jews are under divine judgment in every generation does not hinder the promises of God to the Jews. It just means that some, through the function of their own free will, “missed the boat.” The Word of God promises judgment in time as well as in eternity to Jews who reject God. The Word of God has not failed the Jew; the Jew has failed the Word of God.
Scripture defines true and false Israel on the basis of attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ. True Israel believes in the God of Israel, Jesus Christ, just as Abraham their father did as recorded in Genesis 15:6. The promises of God are always valid to true Israel.
If you have the genes of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob you are Israel as far as your physical birth and descent. But Abraham was a believer, Isaac was a believer, Jacob was a believer. The origin of the Jewish race is regeneration. It is the spiritual seed of Abraham who is the true Israel.
Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendents, but through Isaac your descendents will be named.
Both Isaac and Ishmael (Abraham’s sons) had self-determination through the function of their own free will. The omniscience of God knew in eternity past, before Creation, that the firstborn, Ishmael, would use his free will to say no and reject Christ; while the second-born Isaac would use his free will to believe in Christ.
To be a child of inheritance one has to possess both imputed righteousness from God and eternal life. Righteousness becomes the target for the blessing of God. The righteousness of God and eternal life are imputed only at salvation adjustment to the justice of God through faith in Christ.
Ishmael was the firstborn, the natural but not the spiritual seed of Abraham. Ishmael did not possess either the imputed righteousness of God or eternal life. While Ishmael is the source of many Arab nations they are not the children of the inheritance. Only Isaac was the natural and spiritual seed of Abraham, qualified through regeneration to be the heir of the promises and of the Abrahamic Covenant. The Word of God has not failed the Jews but the Jews have failed the Word of God by rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no way for any physical seed of Abraham to inherit the promises of Israel. Only the spiritual seed of Abraham is qualified to inherit through regeneration and resultant imputation of divine righteousness and eternal life.
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendents.
Being a Jew does not imply automatic salvation. The racial Jew is like all human beings; he must choose to believe in Christ. Unbelieving Jews are racial but not heirs of the promises. To be an heir and a child of the promises to Abraham, the racial Jew must believe in Christ and become a regenerate Jew. The racial Jew may have self-righteousness by keeping the Law, but this is not good enough. He must have imputed righteousness from God, following the pattern of Abraham. (Genesis 15:6)
The apostle Paul was concerned for the racial Jew who through physical birth only is not the spiritual seed of Abraham. Paul sees the tragedy of being a racial Jew without being a regenerate Jew. Only the believers of Israel are the “children of the promise” and the heirs of the unconditional covenants. To benefit both in the Millennium and in eternity the Jew must be born again to receive the promises of the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and New covenants. Therefore, the remnant of Israel according the “election of grace” is always the true Israel, those who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, the promises of God have not been cancelled because some Jews have refused to believe in Christ. God’s unconditional and eternal promises are for the elect (believers) of Israel, not for the race of Israel.
For this is a word of promise; “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.”
This quote from the Old Testament is a reference to the birth of Isaac even though Ishmael was born first. However, Ishmael was not the “son of promise,” instead it was Isaac. Ishmael was born to Abraham’s servant out of the will of God. Therefore, the promise and the birth of Isaac are what were in view in this verse.
The perfect plan of God excludes the ability of man, the personality of man, the morality of man, the works of man, the ideas of man or the schemes of man. There is nothing you can do to ever receive blessing from God. God set it up for you. When you believed in Christ, God did the same thing that He did for Abraham. He imputed His own divine righteousness and that becomes the home for blessing in time; that sets up the potential for the plan of God. It is so obvious that any function of our righteousness is never going to impress God. (Isaiah 64:6)
And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him Who calls it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.”
Neither physical birth nor the righteous character of the mother, nor any other human factor is the issue. This is confirmed by the second case history now brought into focus in this verse. In this second illustration, twins are born to Rebekah.
The elder twin is an unbeliever; the younger twin is a believer. The difference between them was not in their natural birth, their personality or anything related to their human birth. Their difference was in their spiritual birth or lack of it.
In eternity past, the omniscience of God knew that the firstborn, Esau, would reject Christ as Savior. The thing that is in focus here is that he was not a believer. Physical descent is worthless in regard to divine promises and divine blessing. Only regeneration through faith in Christ can qualify the racial Jew to be an elect Jew.
The twin boys had a common physical origin – the same father and the same mother. The differences between them are not in the physical realm, although some existed. Jacob was a believer, Esau was an unbeliever, and the difference between them is spiritual, not physical. Consequently the true Jew is not in the physical descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but in the spiritual seed through regeneration.
It became necessary in the course of human history to have a special nation to represent God, to become the recipients of divine revelation and to be put in charge of writing the Old Testament. It became necessary for one nation to become the missionary nation and to set a precedent for all national function in the areas of freedom and establishment. Then it became necessary for this freedom to become the basis for evangelism. God started a new dispensation, the dispensation of Israel.
Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Jacob and Esau were both sinners and all of their sins were judged on the Cross. So the message to Esau and Jacob was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved.” Esau kept saying no, and Jacob said yes. Jacob believed on the Lord following the pattern of Abraham and in that moment he had eternal life. The line and the origin of Israel is regeneration, not physical birth. One brother used his free will and said yes; one used his free will and said no. This became the cause for perpetuating the Jewish race through Jacob, which had the effect of determining who would be true Israel, which is on the basis of regeneration rather than natural generation.