When Abraham walked the earth he lived a righteous life. He chose to follow the ways of God and he believed that God could do anything. He understood that when God was testing him by asking that he offer his son Isaac, through whom he had been told by God that his descendants would be named, Abraham knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead if needs be.
Abraham was defined by his faith. We are reminded in scripture in many places that Abraham was a man of great faith. Indeed his faith was so strong and his belief in God’s word that his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness and he was called the friend of God.
And God established Abraham in his faith for God had a plan. His plan was to enable all of mankind to come to Him through faith like Abraham so that everyone would be able to become children of God by faith, and so be children of faith.
The nation of Israel was descended from Abraham and the nation came to exist because of a promise from God to Abraham.
Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children and thus no heirs for Sarah was unable to bear children. Indeed, she was well past the age of child bearing, being around eighty years of age when God visited Abraham and told him that he would become the father of many nations.
So with the double barriers of both being physically unable to bear children and being past the age of menopause, any normal person would doubt the word God spoke saying she would bear a child who would be the father of many nations.
But Abraham was no normal person. He did not doubt the word of God because he believed rightly that God could and can do anything.
Abraham had faith and because he believed God, God reckoned him to be righteous.. God pronounced Abraham righteous by overlooking his sin and wiping clean his sin so that Abraham could stand as a beacon of righteousness before God and man.
And so in due course, about ten years or so after his visitation from God, Sarah fell pregnant and gave birth to Isaac.
This began the lineage of the nation of Israel for when Isaac was grown he married Rebecca and they had children.
Rebecca had twins, Esau and Jacob of which Esau was the elder. Under the normal processes of inheritance among the nations at the time it was the eldest son in each family to whom the lions share of the inheritance was given. Thus Esau was the one to whom the promises and the inheritance of Abraham and Isaac should have gone.
However God had different ideas for He had already said that the “elder will serve the younger.” And God had preordained that the promises He had made to Abraham would be established through the line of Jacob for he was like his father and grandfather before him, a man of faith. And thus we saw the promises and the inheritance pass to Jacob who was later renamed “Israel” and thus became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
All of this was based upon the promises and the direction of God. He was behind this whole process and He determined the unfolding story of the descendancy of the nation of Israel from the time of Abraham down to this day.
But there was also another plan at work in God’s processes. For although the physical nation of Israel, descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was being built and established, God had planned a second nation of Israel to whom the real promises of God belonged.
Apart from the physical nation God established a plan to build a spiritual nation of Israel. And this spiritual nation of Israel would also be children of Abraham.
However unlike the physical nation of Israel who were descended from the flesh, the spiritual nation of Israel are descendants by faith.
All those who hold the same faith that Abraham held, who accept the power of God and receive the free gift of righteousness offer by Him through Jesus Christ, and believe that God has raised Jesus from the dead to set man free from sin, are children of faith.
Just as it was through the decision and election of God that Isaac was conceived against impossible odds, and Jacob was chosen over his elder brother to be the father of Israel, so too it is the decision and working of God that those who hold the same faith as Abraham held will be called the children of God and will become part of the spiritual nation of Israel.
Abraham was given something very specific to believe. He was told that he would become the father of many nations and many peoples numbering greater than the sands by the seaside and the stars in the night sky.
His faith was not a blind faith for it was a very specific thing that he was told to believe in. And believe he did and so received the promise of God.
We too today are told to believe some very specific things also. Like Abraham, our faith is not a blind faith but is built on very specific words from God.
We are instructed in the bible to believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth, the Son of God, and the He died for us to save us from our sins so that we may become new creations in Him and receive the free gift of righteousness offered by the grace of God.
And we are to learn how this works and applies in our lives. Through baptism we die with Christ and are resurrected with Him as we are lifted from the baptismal waters. Born again as new creations in Jesus Christ. We take on His death as if it is our own and so through His death our sins are removed and paid for in full because we take on the shedding of Jesus’ blood in place of our own.
Furthermore, through taking Jesus death we are set free from the law so that we can no longer break it and thus remove the future sin as we walk with Christ until we are perfected in Him.
And because we hold this faith God is willing to work with us to overcome the weakness of the human nature in us and to bring us into perfection. He gives His Holy Spirit to those who ask Him and it is the work of the Holy Spirit to transform us slowly and gradually into the image of Jesus Christ.
God wants His people to be strong and mature and able to make the right decisions as they walk in this world. He wants His people to be able to stand in the righteousness He freely gives to those who have faith and to grow into a righteous and holy nation, obedient and acceptable to Him.
And when they do He has promised to give them eternal life with Him.
This is the plan and this is the blessing on offer to the children of faith for the children of faith are not simply physical descendants but spiritual descendants of Abraham. And this is not our doing, it is the work of God and it is the promise of God to those who come to Him by faith.
(Photo sourced from free images.com provided by Barun Patro)
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