Missiology Through Scripture – Genesis 17:4

“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.” – Genesis 17:4

This passage reiterates the covenant promise from the Lord when he called Abram out (Gen 12:2). God here affirms his plan to use Abram to launch a movement which will call God’s elect to himself.

Indeed, the passage is a reference to the biological and familial decedents of Abram, but a greater glory comes to the Lord in that he will call Abram’s spiritual offspring to himself. The promised offspring are those who are united with Abram in Christ. Both the Jews and the Gentiles who trust in Jesus are part of this promise.

In referencing this verse, Paul promises the Galatians that if they are disciples of Jesus, then they are part of the promises to Abram (Gal 3:29). Those who are in Christ are added to Abram’s family line and heirs of the promises God gave to Abram.

God declares Christians today were always considered part of his plan with Israel. The mouth of God, has then promised all Christians they will reach a multitude of nations. John Calvin said, “God declared that he was the speaker in order that absolute authority might appear in his words. Since our faith can rest on no other foundation than his eternal veracity, it becomes, above all things, necessary for us to be informed that what is proposed to us has proceeded from his sacred mouth.”[1] The promise from God to us, his heirs, is that he will use us to reach the globe.

How glorious to know that we, as Christians, are not second class citizens or stepchildren to God. We are heirs of his promise to subdue the nations through us. This is no small matter. God desires to use his heirs to reach the nations with his perfect salvific gospel. The task to reach the nations is a great honor, but also, it is a great responsibility. It is a charge we must not disregard.


[1] John Calvin, Genesis, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 163.

About Mike

Mike, 48, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written two books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2008 to 2016 Mike served as a fulltime missionary with MTW's church planting team in La Ceiba, Honduras. Mike launched that ministry and served as the Team Leader most of his time in Honduras. Mike and his wife currently live in Central Africa where they launched yet another new missions ministry for MTW in Equatorial Guinea.

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