Only the children of the promise ...
Has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn't make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. -Romans 9:6-8 NLT
From the very beginning of history God has always been about faith and not ethnicity. This is a hard concept for some to grasp. Middle Eastern history is replete with blood feuds and family strife that speak to the ways that so many embrace their ethnic ancestry. It is a sad commentary on religion and religious people. Small wonder that Jesus was rejected when he rebuked the Jews who claimed Abrahamic ancestry. Ethnicity and religion are often bound so tightly.
What promise do you think that Paul refers to in this passage? Is it not the promise to Abraham to "make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore"? Doubtful that such a promise would be fulfilled through Jewish ethnicity. More likely that this promise would be fulfilled through faith. The end result of such an approach is one that creates a new spiritual ethnicity where we are brothers and sisters in God's family.
Help us to push past our ethnic boundaries Lord. Help us to embrace all members of your family.