Friday, February 25, 2011

Genesis 12:1 Part 2

Good morning, all!

Yesterday we finished by talking about Abram believing God as he followed God’s lead out of the comfort of Ur and into the unknown. As much as I want to move ahead in Genesis, I feel a need to step out for today and talk about Abraham and his faith as seen in the New Testament. He is known as the father of the faithful (Romans 4:16), although we will see many instances where he seems more like the father of the faltering. But what about him earned him so many verses in the roll call of faith in Hebrews 11?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see… By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. ( Hebrews 11:1,8)

In our walk with God, it’s not “seeing is believing”, rather believing is seeing – being absolutely convinced that even though we can’t see Him with our eyes, and even though we aren’t given a blueprint of our future, yet we believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6) It was this faith of Abraham, not any works that he did, that earned him the adjective of “righteous.”

In the letter to the Galatians, Paul admonishes the Galatians for falling back into the pattern of trying to earn God’s favor by keeping the law. Paul points to Abraham as the example of how works do not justify us before God:

So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Galatians 3:5-9)

And in Romans 3: 21-24,27-28, and continuing into chapter 4:1-3, Paul makes it clear that it is NOT our goodness or works that saves us, for we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone:

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus… Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Paul is reminding us that all of the good things that Abraham did were NOT what justified him to God – however it IS our good works that justifies us to men. According to Jesus in Matthew 5:16, when men see our good works, they glorify out father in heaven. Our works demonstrate our faith to the world – but it is our faith in the completed work of Christ on the cross that saves us.

WHEW! Sorry this was so long this morning. Just felt that God wanted someone to know that she/he can quit striving – quit trying to earn God’s love. Relax in the love and grace that He freely offers in Christ. When Jesus died on the cross he said, “It is finished!” There is nothing we can add to what He did on our behalf. Just believe it and receive it!!! He loves you just as you ARE TODAY! But He also loves you too much to leave you this way! ☺ If you are having trouble believing this, just ask God to help you believe – He even does that!

We’ll be back in Genesis again Monday. Blessings to you all!

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