‘And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing’ Genesis 12:3
“And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6)
We continue our review of the message of God’s prophets. The message of the prophets is a story . . .
. . . God’s wonderful story about what He has done to seek and to save the children of Adam who are lost in sin. In short, the message of God’s prophets is the Good News about how unrighteous people can be made righteous before God. Our review lesson is called:
“Righteous by Faith.”
Like every story, the story contained in God’s book has a beginning and an end. In our last study, we reviewed the beginning of the story and saw how the first person, Adam, chose to follow Satan, the enemy of God. Adam’s one sin caused all his descendants to be born in sin, on the path to hell. Some try to deny this, saying: “Adam’s sin was his own problem! It doesn’t affect us!” But those who say this ignore the Scriptures of the Prophets which declare: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so
death passed upon all men,
for all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12)
The proverb says: “An epidemic’s effects are not confined to the one who caused it!” Similarly, the curse of Adam’s sin did not stop with him alone, but spread to us all, like a contagious disease. Adam’s original sin is the reason that all men are born with a sinful nature. “A rat only begets that which digs.” Similarly,
we have all inherited the nature of our forefather Adam.
What is absolutely certain is that the sinful nature which is in us will condemn us forever–unless God provides a remedy for us. The good news is that the LORD God has provided a remedy. As we read in Genesis, on the same day that Adam and Eve sinned,
He promised to send down to earth a righteous Redeemer, who would be born of a virgin. This Redeemer would shed His blood as a sacrifice that would pay the debt of the sins of the children of Adam.
In our study in the book of the Gospel, we saw that when God’s appointed time had come,
God sent down the One whom He had promised.
Who is this Savior that God promised? He is the perfectly righteous Man,
Listen to how the Word of God shows the difference between Adam who sinned and Christ who did not sin. The Scripture says: “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one, much more they who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one,
Therefore, as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification to life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:17-19) That is what the Scripture says concerning those who are
and those who are
in Jesus Christ.
We are all born in the likeness of Adam. But God is calling the children of Adam to be born again in their hearts, to put off the likeness of Adam, and to take on the likeness of Christ! How can this happen?
The Scripture says that if you believe in your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ paid for your sin, God will cause you to be born again by cleansing your heart and renewing you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will become a new creation in Christ; you will no longer live for yourself, but for Him who died and rose again for you.
Now let us return to the Pentateuch, and continue our review by recalling how God moved forward with
to send the Redeemer into the world. In our chronological lessons we saw the two first sons of Adam, Cain and Abel. Abel believed what God promised concerning the Redeemer, who would come to shed His blood as a sacrifice, but
God called Cain to give account so that he might repent, but Cain only got angry and killed Abel, his younger brother.
After that, we saw that most of the children of Adam followed in the footsteps of Cain,
revelling in sin,
which is why when we come to the time of Noah, the Scripture says: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were evil continually” (Gen. 6:5) We saw how
God purposed to destroy the children of Adam with a flood.
In that corrupt and crooked time, Noah was the only one who believed what God had promised concerning the coming Redeemer. Consequently, God commanded Noah to build a great ark, which would be a refuge for his family and many animals. For one hundred years God patiently endured sinners while Noah was building the ark. However, no one repented and believed God’s word
Thus in the end, God, who is faithful to His word, did everything He promised, wiping out all those who refused to enter the ark of refuge which He had provided for them.
After that, we saw that Noah’s offspring gradually forgot the Word of God, because
they too were children of Adam and sinners by nature.
Thus we read about the tower of Babel and how people tried to gather the peoples of the world to one place and to build a great city and a high tower
in rebellion against God.
However, God judged them by confusing their language and scattering them over the face of the whole earth.
Next, we came to the wonderful story of the prophet Abraham. Truly, Abraham had a very important place in God’s plan to redeem the children of Adam from the dominion of sin. Abraham’s father was an idol worshiper, and
Abraham himself was a sinner,
like all of Adam’s descendants. However, we saw that God, in His wonderful design, appeared to Abraham and ordered him to move out of his father’s house and to leave his country. God planned to make of Abraham a new nation, through which
would come into the world. That is what we read in Genesis 12, when God called Abraham, saying to him, “The LORD had said to Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and
thou shalt be a blessing.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:1-3)
Why did God command Abraham to move to another land? God wanted to make of him a new nation. Why did God want to make of Abraham a new nation?
Through that nation,
God planned to raise up the prophets who would write the Holy Scriptures. And through that same nation, God intended to send
into the world. That is why God promised Abraham, saying, “Thou shalt be a blessing … and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”
Yes, He did! When Abraham was one hundred years old, and Sarah, his wife, was ninety years old, God gave them a son, Isaac, just as He had promised. Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve sons who formed the new nation of Israel. Those of you who know the Holy Scriptures, know that it was
through the nation of Israel
that the Redeemer came forth, because Mary, Jesus’ mother, and Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father (guardian), were both descendants of Abraham. Thus, the first verse in the Gospel says: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1) Concerning
His earthly birth
Jesus Christ came through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But truly – He is the Son of the Most High,
the very Word of God who came from heaven to be born upon earth.
However, let us return to the story of Abraham, because there is something else important to remember about him. We saw that Abraham was born in sin, like all the children of Adam. However, the Holy Scriptures tell us that today Abraham is in heaven, in the presence of God the Holy One,
where he will be forever!
Now we ask: What did Abraham do for God to forgive him of his sins, judge him as righteous, and welcome him into heaven? What does the Scripture say about this? It says: “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6)
Abraham believed God – God Himself.
That is why God credited him with righteousness,
counting him as righteous.
Dear friend, do you believe the Word of God as Abraham believed it? We are not asking if you believe whether there is a God, or whether God is One. The devil himself knows that God is one! What God wants is that you believe what He says concerning the way of salvation which He decreed,
as Abraham believed it!
Abraham told us what we must believe. Can you remember what Abraham announced on that distinguished mountain, the day he offered the sheep in place of his son? He said that “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” (Genesis 22:8) And after he had slaughtered the sheep, he called that mountain Jehovah Jireh which means the Lord will provide. (Genesis 22:14) Why did Abraham name that mountain
when God had already provided the sacrificial sheep? Abraham, as a prophet, was announcing what was yet to happen. When Abraham said, “The Lord will provide,” he was predicting what would happen on that mountain where the sheep replaced his son on the altar. He was looking ahead to the day when the Redeemer would shed His blood on that same mountain—
to save all who believe in Him
from God’s righteous judgement.
In our study in the Gospel, we saw that Jesus Christ came into the world about two thousand years after the time of Abraham, and that
He fulfilled Abraham’s prophecy.
Yes, outside Jerusalem, on the mountain where Abraham sacrificed the sheep in place of his son, there the Redeemer, Jesus, shed His blood to redeem the children of Adam. That is why, after they had nailed Jesus to the cross, before He died, we heard Him speak with a loud voice, saying, “It is finished!” The word finished means completed. Why did Jesus say “It is finished!”? He said that because
His death on the cross completed the plan of salvation,
which God had announced a long time previously through His prophets. Jesus’ death completed and fulfilled what Abraham’s sacrifice and of all animal sacrifices illustrated!
Friend, do you believe that Jesus Christ Himself is the perfect and final sacrificial lamb, whom God sent from heaven?
Listen to what the Gospel says concerning Abraham’s faith. It says: (Rom. 4:1-3,22-25) “What shall we say, then, that Abraham … hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath something of which to glory, but not before God. For what saith the Scripture?
Abraham believed God,
and it was counted unto him for righteousness … And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification”
In the next lesson, God willing, we will continue our review of the message of the prophets and see another great prophet whom God selected to prepare the way for the coming of the Savior of the world. That prophet is Moses.
May God bless you and give you a clear understanding of what the Scripture declares, saying:
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3)
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have