Does anyone else find it remarkable that all Abraham does is believe and the Lord declares him righteous? God appears to this virtual pagan and basically says 3 things: “Fear not,” “I am your shield,” and “Your reward shall be great.” Abraham then responds like this: “Keep your reward,” “I have no kids,” “My heir is a servant,” and “It’s your fault.” But God gives him this amazing promise anyway, that his offspring would be numbered like the stars in the heavens. Abraham actually believes him and BOOM! Just like that he’s counted as righteous. God then seals His promise with a covenantal ceremony, which Abraham sleeps through.
The point I’m trying to make, and which Abraham continually proves through a series of moral foibles, is that Abraham’s righteousness, depends 100% on God’s declaring him such. God didn’t have to provide a way of redemption for Abraham or for us. When certain angels rebelled, He didn’t work up a plan of salvation for them. And according to James 2:19, even the demons believe that God is one! But James continues that Abraham believed God and it was credited it to him as righteousness, and not only that, he was called God’s friend!
Obviously, there are 2 kinds of belief here. There’s a knowledge of God that according to Romans 1:19-21, everyone on earth possesses, and there is a saving faith that James makes clear is evidenced by the fruit it bears in the life of the believer. How does one kind of belief produce the fruit of good works and one kind only lead to the shuddering of the demons? Is it not because of the declaration of righteousness by God?
I don’t know about you, but I just don’t feel all that comfortable resting on my own belief in God as the means to my salvation. God has to declare me righteous and the way He does that is through the perfect sacrifice of His own Son, the very Son that would be born through Abrahams family line. It’s through the righteousness of Jesus Christ that I can say with Abraham and the writer of today’s hymn, “He by Himself hath sworn, I on His oath depend.”
“The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above;
Ancient of everlasting days, and God of love.
Jehovah, Great I Am, By earth and heaven confessed;
I bow and bless the sacred name, Forever blest.”
(After singing The God of Abraham Praise, listen to Handel’s Messiah selection “For unto us a child is born…”)
Click on the About link at the top of the page to find out how we use tiny objects like the one above to help remember each of the 25 people in the genealogy of Christ we will be reading about during the Advent season.