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Temporal and Eternal Promises

October 26, 2019
By Martin Luther

"I will bless her."

GENESIS 17:16

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Temporal and Eternal Promises

The promise made to Sarah here is altogether inestimable. . .. Paul [in Romans 4:19-24] considers the fact that so far the promise consists of words only but that the reality is not yet at hand. Therefore the godly couple was not lightly disturbed, for what could be expected from a dead womb and one that also because of age was useless for birth? Sarah was like a corpse from which no fruit can be expected. Accordingly, what this story sets forth is analogous to the resurrection of the dead, inasmuch as from a dead womb there is born not only an offspring but a male who is appointed to be the father of many nations and of many kings and peoples. . .. It must be noted especially that these promises include Christ Himself, yes, eternal life, even though they appear to be speaking, not of Christ but of Isaac. For this reason Paul adds (Romans 4:23-24) that this was written, not for Abraham's sake but for the sake of us, who would believe after the example of Abraham; for the promise is temporal, like a nut which covers the kernel, namely, Christ and eternal life. When Christ comes, the shell or hull in which the kernel is enclosed is broken; that is, the temporal blessing comes to an end, and the spiritual blessing takes its place.

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