“Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:25-26).
A son is an heir, and when Peter said those who heard him were “sons of the prophets and of the covenant God had made with Abraham”, he meant that the promises and prophecies God had made to the people through the prophets and Abraham were now to be realized. In addition to that, Peter identifies just exactly what the blessing was that all families of the earth would share through Abraham’s seed.
Peter was specific. God sent His Servant — His Son, also Abraham’s seed (Matthew 1:1) to bless all nations, beginning with the Jew. That blessing was “turning away every one of you from his iniquities”. The blessing of turning men away from their iniquities had not been realized before. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul made an extensive argument showing that the blessing of forgiveness was the fruit of the covenant God made with Abraham, not the result of keeping the law. Paul showed that the promised blessing to Abraham was a confirmed promise, and that the law (which came 430 years after God had confirmed His promise) did not nullify the covenant God had made earlier with Abraham.
Paul showed that those who were under the works of the law were under a curse, for the law said, “Cursed is every man who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10; cp. Deuteronomy 27:26). Paul wrote that all men who wanted to be justified by the law were under a curse because he knew and they knew that no man kept all things written in that law. Paul then showed that Jesus became a curse for us saying, “Cursed is everyone that hangeth upon a tree” (Galatians 3:13; cp. Deuteronomy 21:23). According to Paul, the law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ that we might be justified by faith and “now that faith is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24-25).
The book of Hebrews was written sometime after Paul’s Galatian letter, and added its voice to the teaching Paul set forth in the Galatian epistle. The Hebrew writer showed that the law was just a pattern, type, or shadow of things to come, a picture of the salvation one finds in Christ. But it was not real forgiveness (Hebrews 8:5; 9:9; 10:1). While the law did picture things to come, it could not accomplish what the promised Seed would for, “It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). Thus, when the promised Seed came, the law passed away; it no longer was in force. The purpose of the law was to bring us to Christ, and when that was done, it was removed by God when Jesus died on the cross (Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 2:14).
The law was temporary; it was never intended to be permanent. The law said so itself, first by promising a new priest. Psalm 110:4 says, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent, thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek”. Christ is that high priest (Hebrews 3:1), and since He is, that necessitated that there be a change of law for “it is evident that Christ is of the tribe of Judah, touching which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests” (Hebrews 7:12-14). Furthermore, the prophet Jeremiah spoke of a future day when God would make a “new covenant” with the house of Israel and Judah that would be different from the covenant He had made with Israel “when He led them out of the land of Egypt” (Jeremiah 31:31; cp. Hebrews 8:8-13).
The promised Seed has come. All men now are “sons of the prophets and of the covenant God made with Abraham” when God promised him that through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 22:18; 26:4). The blessing everyone would receive through the seed of Abraham was “the turning away of each one of you from your iniquities” (Acts 3:26).
Thanks be to God that blessing is still available for “all have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God” (Romans 3:23). The “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). We are the sons of the prophets!