14 Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. — Galatians 3:14 NLT
God blessed Abram with abundant natural blessings and changed his name to Abraham. What did Abraham do to deserve these blessings? He did nothing to earn them. Blessings are gifts from God, they are not rewards for good works. We can never do enough or be good enough to earn blessings from God. The greatest blessing we receive is salvation. That gift is free and cannot be earned. Since the greatest gift of all was freely given, why do we feel that we have to earn the lesser gifts? The blessings come because of God’s great love for us and His covenant promise to Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his seed (or child), not seeds or children. It is singular meaning only one and that one is Jesus Christ. So, all of our blessings come through Jesus Christ and because He gave His life for us at Calvary. The debt was paid in full for all the blessings we receive. If good works can earn salvation or any blessing then Jesus Christ died in vain. The good works are to lay up rewards in heaven and to earn crowns that we can lay at the feet of Jesus. Good works are a part of our worship here on earth. The rewards we receive for those good works are laid up in heaven and will be used to worship Jesus there. The blessings we receive here are a taste of what is to come and to encourage us to continue and never turn back.
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.” — Revelation 7:9-12 NIV
While John was on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus Christ gave him a vision of things that are happening in heaven and things to come. This passage is a scene that will happen after the great tribualtion. All of God’s children are now gathered home. The celebration is in full swing and what does John see that is going on in heaven? Everyone is worshipping and praising God and Jesus! We will be standing before the Lamb and praising Him with a loud voice. All the elders and the angels fall on their faces and worship God. We do not know a lot about heaven, God has chosen to keep most of it a mystery. But one thing we do know is that we will spend time praising and worshipping Jesus, the Lamb Who was worthy to be slain. My guess is that the celebration will go on for a few million years before we get involved in whatever else God has prepared for us. After all, time, as we know it, means nothing in eternity. So, it is a good idea to practice praising Him every day here and now, so that we can join in with all the tribes and nations in heaven!
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise. 24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.—Gal. 4:21-26 (NIV)
As we have seen in the earlier verses, the Jewish leaders have been trying to convince the new converts to return to the old Jewish traditions. Paul is making the point here that they need to consider the hardships and severity of the law before they turn back to it. He is using the birth of Issac and Ishmael to demonstrate the difference in natural and spiritual things. Those that return to worldly things (the natural Jerusalem) are still in slavery to those things. But since Issac was born to fulfill a divine promise, there is now a choice that we can make. We can follow the fleshly lineage and remain slaves or we can follow the divine lineage, accept Jesus and become citizens of the Jerusalem which is above. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.–Phil. 3:20 (NIV)
But one day, the New Jerusalem will come down to earth and all those that have chosen the divine lineage (Jesus) will be citizens of the New Jerusalem. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband—Rev.21:2 (NIV)