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December 2 – The singular seed was Christ

“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.” – Galatians 3:16 

Scripture reading: Galatians 3:10-18

When God established His covenant of grace with Abraham, He stated that this covenant was made with Abraham’s seed. The Hebrew word “seed” is translated as “offspring” in the ESV. In Genesis 12:7, God tells Abraham, “To your offspring I will give this land.” In His statement of the covenant of grace in Genesis 17:7, God tells Abraham: “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” God tells Abraham that the covenant promises are given not only to Abraham, but to his seed.

In Galatians 3:16, the Apostle Paul makes the exegetical point that the word “seed” is singular. Translations like the NKJV translate the singular word as the plural “descendants”: “to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Paul clarifies that the original word was singular, referring to Jesus. Fundamentally, the covenant of grace was established with Christ and all His elect.

Paul teaches that all the covenantal promises of God find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The promises that God made to Christ, the singular Seed of Abraham, were kept. God also keeps the promises made to all who would be united to Christ by faith. Gentiles receive this promise by faith, not works. God promised Abraham that the covenant promises were for elect Gentiles as well. He told Abraham that “in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:14).

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you would have a deep sense of your sinfulness so that you would celebrate that you have received the promises due to the grace of God alone and by faith in Christ alone. Pray that you would reject the idea of doing good works to be justified.

Rev. Nathan Brummel is Professor of Systematic Theology and New Testament at Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary, and an associate pastor at Immanuel United Reformed Church in DeMotte, Indiana. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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