Scripture Reading: Genesis 17:9-14

“This is My covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:10)

When God established a covenant, He always provided a sign that accompanied the covenant. With Noah, the sign was a rainbow — “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and all the earth” (Genesis 9:12,13).

When God established the covenant with Abraham, He also provided a sign — “You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and you” (v. 11). Because the Abrahamic Covenant included the children of believers, the sign of the covenant was given to them as well — “For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner — those who are not your offspring” (v. 12). Circumcision was the Old Testament sign of God’s gracious covenant.

The New Testament sign of God’s covenant is baptism. People who make a profession of faith and have not been baptized are to receive the sign of the covenant. And, as with the Old Testament sign, children of believers are to receive the sign of the covenant as well. Baptism is a sign and seal of admission into the church. It also signifies the cleansing work of Jesus Christ and the renewing work of the Holy Spirit.

Children of believers inherit the promises of the covenant. They receive the assurance that God’s favor is directed toward them because of God’s promise to be a God to us and to our children. Children of believers are in a favored position and have a tremendous advantage over children of unbelievers. They also inherit the privilege of the church, and the means of grace are rightfully available to them.

Parents have a major responsibility as well. They claim the covenant promises on behalf of their children and are responsible to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We will consider this in more detail in the next post.

Lord God, thank You for the gift of salvation that I have received. I am also so thankful that You have included my children and grandchildren in the covenant promises. Let me be a faithful example to them and let me use every opportunity to teach them the truths of the gospel.


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