Ritual vs. Reality

As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. He will father 12 tribal leaders, and I will make him into a great nation. But I will confirm My covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year. – Genesis 17:20-21


When God stated His covenant to Abram and then commanded the accompanying rite of circumcision, this rite also extended to everyone in Abram’s household … even Ishmael. At the same time, God made a clear distinction between Ishmael and his half-brother Isaac. Isaac would be the son of the covenant and Ishmael would not. Both received the mark of the covenant (by circumcision), but the blessing (and the responsibility that the blessing carried) was only given to Isaac.

Here we see the difference between ritual and reality. Assurance does not come from a ritual, but from the reality behind it; in this case, the actual existence of a covenant. The covenant was guaranteed by God, not by Isaac or Abram. Many may have received the mark of the covenant, but the true covenant (and the blessings and responsibility it carried) was determined by God.

Just as there are many people around the world who mistakenly depend upon a physical ritual for their assurance of blessing, there are many in our churches who make the same mistake. The ritual never guarantees the reality. Only God can do that.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. – Gandhi

Published by Dr. David Pope

Dr. David Pope is the Founder and CEO of Pope Initiatives. ARM Solutions is a division of Pope Initiatives that exists to activate collaborative efforts for sustainable impact among the global unreached.

2 thoughts on “Ritual vs. Reality

  1. All. Can say is,WOW! And thank you for this because I grew up with a lot of ritual.. it’s by Gods Grace , I’m here today and JNOW ,without ritual, I am His and He is mine. Amen.❤️🙏🏻🌹


  2. Pastor Dave, I grew u with a lot of ritual and legalism . I thought that was Christian and everybody knew Jesus because they went to church.period. If you weren’t baptized ,you went to hell. If ya weren’t in church every Sunday ,you were bad. You couldn’t walk across the pulpit area ,because it was holy and only for the minister. Hmmmm. That was a bad thing , until the Lord got ahold of me and showed through Hs Word in Galatians , Lol, the difference. Love that Book of the Bible. So reviewing us is the flow that makes mevwhite as snow. No other fount I know ,Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Amen! That’s the only way I know how to comment . Thank you for sharing this and fun r opportunities now the Lord gives for me to share with others. He is so good. 🙏🏻❤️


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