As I was preparing to lead lesson 2 from the Bible study manual, “Abraham, God’s Brave Explorer“, I was reminded of a truth that I had known. It was neat to see how it hit me in a fresh way. I have studied the life of Abraham many times and written articles about it. I had seen the truth before but it was neat to see it again. God made it fresh for the moment. The Word of God really is living and active, sharper than a double edged sword. Here are some of the articles on Abraham.
- Abraham, the father of our faith
- Abraham learns faithfulness
- Genuine faith impacts your relationships
I. Abraham called to have faith
Abraham comes from a pagan background. He was born a Gentile, to a family that probably took part in trying to build the tower of Babel. He was born into a religious context of polytheism. There were many gods yet they were not personal. In the midst of this context and culture, God comes to Abraham and calls him to follow. Abraham has to make a choice to leave all that he knows and follow God. Abraham answers the call and demonstrates faith, hearing the Word of the Lord and obeying the Word of the Lord. Abraham immediately begins to teach faith to his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot. Abraham’s genuine faith begin to impact others immediately. Once Abraham answers the call, God gives him the promise of a seed. This seed is explain by Paul in the Galatians 3:16. Abraham’s faith is placed in the Promised One, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Abraham looked forward in faith to Christ. We are called to look back in faith to Jesus Christ to what He has already done. It has always been about faith in Jesus Christ. A call to faith in Christ is just the beginning. God wants a personal relationship with us and it is possible only through covenant.
II. Abraham invited into Covenant
Once Abraham answers the call to have faith in Jesus Christ, he is invited into Covenant with God. This is an invitation to begin a personal relationship with God. The covenant is cut in Genesis 15. God enters into covenant with Abraham and all mankind when He binds Himself via Covenant. Abraham was looking forward to what Christ would do in the New Covenant. We are invited to enter a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. John 14:6 teaches us that if we want to come to the Father God and enter into a personal relationship with Him, then we must go through Jesus Christ. How do we do this? When Jesus died on the cross, according to Matthew 27, the veil that separated the presence of God from the people was torn in half from top to bottom. Instead of being told to keep out, the people are now invited to enter God’s presence. This is done so by walking between the two torn pieces of the veil. What is the spiritual significance of this? The author of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews 10 that the veil is the body of Christ torn in half. Spiritually speaking, in order to enter into the presence of God, you must pass through the torn body of Christ, a walk through death to your old way of life, entering into covenant with God, the new covenant. God bound Himself to us in the Abrahamic covenant by walking between pieces of flesh and we bind ourselves to God in the New Covenant by walking between pieces of flesh. We cannot have a personal relationship with God unless we enter the New Covenant through Jesus Christ. He really is the only way to God. Have you entered the presence of God through the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you trying to get to God some other way?
III. Abraham changed from the inside out
Once Abraham enters into a personal relationship with God via Covenant, now everything changes. Genesis 17 teaches that God wants Abraham to obey Him. The problem is that Abraham’s sin nature keeps him from being able to obey God fully. Abraham has the desire but not the ability. God knows that and in order to make it possible, He takes part of Himself and puts It into Abraham. Before this point, Abraham’s name is actually Abram. God adds the “h” to Abram’s name indicating that He is taking His Spirit and placing It in Abraham. One of the ways that God is described in the Old Testament is via the name “El Shaddai”. El Shaddai literally means “the all sufficient One”. According to His Name, He is all that you need. Bible scholars believe that the “h” sound in Shaddai is taken and placed into the middle of Abram’s name, making him Abraham. In order to pronounce the “h” sound, you have to blow out your breath. The way that the Spirit is described is “outflow of breath”. God placed His Spirit, part of Him, His character in Abram and he was changed to Abraham. His character is now God’s character. This is described in the New Testament as being born again by receiving the Holy Spirit. When we enter into covenant with God, He gives us His Holy Spirit and our characters are now changed.
As you can see, the entire Gospel is explained in the life of Abraham. He is called by God to have faith in Jesus Christ. Then he is invited into a personal relationship with God via Covenant. Once he enters into Covenant with God, his character is changed by God because God takes His character and places it in Abraham, changing him from the inside out. Has this happened to you? This is what the Gospel is. If you have believed something else then as Paul taught, you have received “another” gospel and not the Gospel of God. Have you entered the New Covenant through Christ? Have you been born again? Has your character been radically changed?