Those Who “Do the Works of Abraham” Are the Children of Abraham
The Pharisees thought they were entitled to the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant because they were literal descendants of Abraham. But to receive the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, it is not enough to be a literal descendant of Abraham. Righteousness and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ are required. Only those who do “the works of Abraham” are entitled to receive the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant.
39 They [the Pharisees] answered and said unto [Jesus], Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“‘We be Abraham’s seed,’ the Jews said; and so they were in the literal sense. But in the gospel sense Abraham’s children are those who do the works of Abraham, for their blood is thereby cleansed and purified as was Abraham’s, and they are adopted into his lineage. . . . Hence, our Lord replied to the Jews, ‘If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. . . . Ye do the deeds of your father. . . . Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do’ (John 8:31–47).”
(Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 15.)