Take it slow and steady here: this is the prototype for God’s only way of salvation.
Back now to God’s conversation with Abram in Genesis 15. There we read that the Lord “brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be’” (v 5). Until the invention of the telescope, how many stars did scientists think there were? In the second century, Ptolemy’s Almagest contained 1022 stars. Tycho Brahe completed his “thousand-star” catalog in 1598. While significantly improving positional accuracy, he came up short at 965. Johannes Hevelius published a catalog based on naked eye observations in 1687, which contains 1,564 stars. But what does the Bible say? “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant…” (Jer 33:22). There is no wiggle room here. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” That’s it! Abram transferred his trust to God, and God transferred a righteous standing to Abram. We’ve thought about the creation of the universe out of nothing, but this is, by far, a greater miracle! In a moment of time, the believer passes from spiritual death into eternal life, from being alienated to being reconciled to God. The Bible describes this in-a-moment conversion as being from death to life, from great distance to nearness, from being enemies to being God’s children, and of being transferred “from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col 1:13). Three New Testament passages—Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, and James 2:23—explain this as the precedent case for salvation by grace alone. What did Abram do? He just took God at His word. Have you?