April 7, 2021 — The Faith of Abram

Here is one of the most significant days in the life of Abram. It also happens to be a turning point in your life, too.

Genesis 15 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. Why? The first part tells the story of the moment when the Lord accounted to Abram God’s own righteousness. The second part describes the sealing of the Abrahamic Covenant—but that’s for our next lesson. Let’s look first at verses 1-6. We’ll have to seriously think here, but it will be well worth it. How was Abram justified? Did he need to keep God’s Law first in order to be declared right by God? This is the Bible’s definition of “justification”: to be judicially declared right by God. It is the entire subject of Romans chapter 4. Paul has such high confidence in the historical accuracy of Genesis that he bases your salvation by grace and not by law on the chronological order of the story. Was Abram justified before or after he was circumcised? We’ll look at the subject of circumcision later, but it’s sufficient to say it was a law God gave to the Jewish people. If Abram was circumcised before he was justified, then the case can be made that we must keep the law to be saved. BUT if Abram, called “the father of all those who believe” (Rom 4:11), was circumcised after he was justified, this is a precedent case that we also can be saved apart from works and law-keeping. Paul writes, “If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (vv 2-5). Praise the Lord! Salvation is not by our doing but by simple faith in Christ’s work completely done for us. Only believe!