Read: Genesis 17

Genesis 17 is another crucial chapter in the Genesis narrative. In this chapter, God instructs Abram regarding the covenant sign of circumcision. That sign was to be placed on all the male children (and, in Abram’s case, his servants) as a mark of God’s promise and identification of Abram’s seed as being a part of the visible covenant of God with his people. Ishmael received the sign, though he ultimately rejected the promises attached to it. Later, Isaac would also receive the sign of the covenant, and through his seed, the godly line would continue. Today, the sign of circumcision has been replaced by baptism. Due to the work of Christ, there is no longer a need for a blood sacrifice. As a sign of purification, water is used instead to indicate that a child belonging to one or both believing parents is a member of the visible church and entitled to all the benefits of such a position.

The chapter closes with a renewal of the promise that Abram and Sarai would have a child of their seed.

Learn: The terms of the covenant as given in this chapter (circumcision)

Application: The mark of circumcision was a bloody sign picturing the sacrifice of Christ. Circumcision marked a child as a member of the visible church. Water baptism is the New Testament replacement.

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