Part #2 of “WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN?”
“Just what does Abraham really mean to us?” is a timely and valid question for us today.
Abraham is a big and important name in Scripture and one that is impossible to bypass.
He is very much a part of our current “Age of Grace” doctrine, playing a vitally important role.
This “Age of Grace” doctrine is important, for it is at the heart of our belief system.
It’s the Truth, it’s non-condemning, non-religious, non-legalistic, non-ritualistic, non-judgmental and non-binding.
This doctrine is saturated with the very Person of Christ Jesus, overflowing with all His attributes of Love, Grace and Mercy.
It releases the saving, liberating and transforming Power of God into every life that will embrace it ‘willingly’.
“It finds rest for our souls, for its yoke is easy and it’s burden light” [Matthew 11:29-30].
Through the Cross bearing JESUS CHRIST, it is the very “Wisdom of God” revealed to us in these last days.
And yet, it does not, in the least bit, compromise the law, which is the very expression of God Almighty.
It makes no dent, let alone even scratch the surface of His unchanging Character, His Integrity and Who He is.
He was, is and will always be the “Great I AM” of all Scripture.
So don’t “ever” allow anyone to tell you that doctrine is not important.
We must learn it and know it, for it is our very “breath of life” and nourishment for our spirit.
It’s the “well-spring of life”, quenching and satisfying the thirst of our parched and dry souls.
And at the heart of this “Living Doctrine”, lies just “One Word”.
We have tended to spiritualize Scripture far too much and too often, thereby losing its true meaning.
Satan’s agenda is to twist the doctrine of Scripture and make it mean what it’s not supposed to mean.
A spade must be called a spade whether we like it or not.
For Scripture says what it means and means what it says. And we can’t afford to alter that by spiritualizing it out of context.
Unfortunately this is pretty much rampant out there.
And to discern that, we must understand clearly what Scripture is expressly saying to us in this “Age of Grace”.
For this is the age, according to God’s plan of the ages, we currently live in.
And Christ Jesus’ ‘Hand-picked’ appointed spokesperson for this ‘is’ the apostle Paul.
We need him more than anybody else if we’re to get through this life with the right Scriptural understanding.
And the Holy Spirit has given us ‘full permission’ to do just that:
Jesus Christ approvingly narrated Abraham’s words to the Jews of Israel, who were under the Law in [Luke 16:29]:
“They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them”.
This same Jesus Christ, now from a place of ascension in Glory, approvingly tells us in this ‘Age of Grace’:
“You have Paul, My appointed apostle, listen to him”.
God Himself has instituted this current “Age of Grace” through the heavy price of the cross of Jesus Christ.
And HE will by ‘no means’ operate outside of it.
That’s why the Bible calls it the “dispensation of Grace” in [Ephesians 3:2].
We really do need to settle this in our hearts once and for all.
THE FIRST “WHAT SHALL WE SAY THEN?”
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?” [Romans 4:1].
The apostle Paul writing to the “Grace Age” believers of the Galatian Church, says this in [Galatians 3:7]:
“Know ye therefore that they which are of faith (Believers in Christ), the same are the children of Abraham”.
Have you ever wondered why is it that we are being spiritually connected, specifically to Abraham and NOT anyone else?
After all, there are great men and women of faith of whom God Himself has testified of in Scripture.
The entire chapter of [Hebrews 11] in the Scriptures has been specifically dedicated to them.
There are some big names in there, which include Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samson, and David.
But yet, why has God in Scripture specifically singled out Abraham as our, “us Grace Age believers”, father?
It is a valid question.
What has this Old Testament patriarch have to do with us today? After all, we are the New Testament “post-the cross” folks.
Well, this Old Testament Patriarch has just about everything to do with us.
For it is Scripture that has pulled him out of the old, and placed him into our “Grace Age” new.
ABRAHAM is the ‘only’ man in the entire Old Testament Scripture who was saved by God Almighty by “FAITH + NOTHING”.
Abraham didn’t sacrifice, didn’t practice circumcision, nor did he have the Law.
Now here comes what is probably the most awesome “phrase-questions” of all Scripture mentioned by Paul the apostle.
For What Saith The Scripture?
‘What does Scripture have to say?’ says Paul in [Romans 4:3].
Not what anyone else says, not what any denomination says, not what my pastor says. And certainly not what some self-glorified television preacher says.
For there is a lot of stuff out there which Scripture ‘does not say’.
These days especially, we not only need to know for ourselves, what the Scriptures ‘say’.
But we equally and importantly need to know what the Scriptures ‘do not say’.
Paul reiterates this again in the Book of [Galatians 4:30]:
“Nevertheless what saith the Scripture?…”
Do you see that? The Scripture is what counts and nothing else.
What does the Scripture say?
“And that is exactly where we have to prepare ourselves when we meet Christ one day”.
So coming back to [Romans 4:3], Paul is asking, “For what saith the Scripture?”
Now what comes out of the mouth of the apostle through his pen is probably the most powerful statement in all of Scripture.
And it jumps right out of the OLD into the NEW.
“Abraham Believed God”
And that is what captured the “Heart of God” and still does today.
GOD has always loved and looked for being “believed” and that is all HE is looking for, from us today.
Look at what happened the moment “Abraham believed God”.
Paul continues in [Romans 4:3], “and it was counted unto him for righteousness”.
This “righteousness” is not of man, neither is it of this world.
It is the very righteousness that is of God Himself. And it is the ‘only one’ that counts for eternity and ‘right standing’ with and before God.
THIS is that very “Robe of righteousness” referred to in [Isaiah 61:10] which comes simultaneously with the “Garments of Salvation”.
SO this righteousness of God was ‘imputed’ to Abraham. God declared Abraham ‘righteous’.
Why did God do that?” HE did it only because “Abraham believed God”.
And Abraham was no perfect man. He had his faults, issues and personal shortfalls.
There even was a time when Abraham was prepared to sell his wife in order to save his own life.
And then God had to intervene to stop something terrible from happening [Genesis 12:11-20].
God has not changed one bit, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:8].
Today, the moment we “believe God”, when it comes to our salvation, through the cross, God declares us ‘righteous’.
His Righteousness is imputed to us, as it was with Abraham, thereby putting us ‘irrevocably’ in right standing with Him.
A Prepositional Difference
There is a single preposition that could well make all the difference between Heaven and hell.
And that preposition is the two-letter word ‘in’, for there is a big difference between ‘believing God’ and believing “in” God.
Scripture does not say that Abraham believed “in” God, but rather, “believed God”. He believed what God said to him.
Abraham was an idol worshipping Syrian before he met the LORD [Joshua 24:2].
God had called him out Ur in the land of Chaldeans [Acts 7:4], which was in Syria.
When God calls him out, the Scripture in [Hebrews 11:8] tells us that Abraham obeyed God by faith. Abraham would not have done so if he had not believed.
Salvation A Gift, Not Reward
Salvation is a free gift from God and not a reward.
Paul tells us in [Romans 4:2]:
“If Abraham were justified by works, he hath wherefore to glory”.
In other words, if Abraham could earn his acquittal from his sins by good works then he has grounds for boasting.
“BUT NOT BEFORE GOD!”, Paul categorically says so.
Abraham got his acquittal only because he “Believed God”. Period!
To a labourer, his wages are not counted as a favour or a gift. It is a definite ‘obligation’. His works puts his employer ‘in debt’, and he must be paid.
The labourer deserves it because he has it.
BUT NOT SO WITH GOD
Fallen man can “NEVER” put the GOD OF HEAVEN, our Creator in debt.
God is no mans debtor!
We cannot earn our Salvation with all our so-called currency of self-righteousness and good works.
This is what all religions of the world seek to do. This is what that “Tower of Babel” in [Genesis 11:3-9] was all about and all religions today find their roots right there.
That is why religion ‘will’ always “successfully FAIL”.
And that is why our personal salvation must be only by Grace and not by works.
And this Grace comes “ONLY” through the finished works of the cross by Jesus Christ.
Look at how Paul categorically states this in [Ephesians 2:8-9]:
“For by Grace are ye saved through faith (by believing God); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”.
And then he says, “Not of works, lest any man should boast”.
It is Jesus Christ, Who died for our sins, was buried and rose again for our justification [1 Corinthians 15:1-4] and [Romans 4:25].
“Where then is boasting?” asks Paul the apostle in [Romans 3: 27].
“It is excluded”
We’ll see you in Part #3 shortly