So, I left you hanging yesterday, didn’t I? We’re studying God’s love story and I set up today’s discussion by asking you what the first question is when you see two people in love. What’s the question?
“How did you meet?”
We want to hear about how the love story began! In God’s love story, how did this happen?
Well, God made His move at a time we were dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2). In fact, when we go all the way back to Genesis 3, we find that, because of original sin, we (the human race) were doomed and without hope unless there was major intervention! Faithfully, God intervened!
We were not looking for Him. Do you know of anyone living in sin, wandering around with all intent and purpose to find God? No! God pursues us! But God used very special means, and here’s a “golden nugget” for today:
The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.”
First, we need to understand we are justified by faith! Not by becoming Jews. (Which is what some of the early believers thought.) Not by works. (Which is what most Jews thought…and what many people thing today.) Not by any other means than faith. Secondly, read that verse again and look for something very peculiar. Do you see it?
God preached the gospel to Abraham! What is the gospel, if not Christ’s death, burial and resurrection!?! God preached the gospel to Abraham! The gospel is not a New Testament thing, and my dear Christian friends, it is not a “Christian” thing! (We love to commandeer that theological tidbit, don’t we!)
When God preached the gospel to Abraham, He reminded him that all the nations will be blessed in him. Hmmm….sounds like God just made Abraham and his descendants the vehicle of world redemption….the conduit through which the gospel was to be shared!
But let’s consider Abraham for a moment. There were no Jews on the earth. God was about to do what He does best…create! (Well, He actually does a LOT of things best, but creation was a pretty grand thing!) He was about to create the Jewish people from nothing.
Abraham’s family lived in Ur, a pagan land in what we know today as Iraq. They were idol manufacturers by trade and likely worshiped them! But somehow Abraham knew that God was speaking to him when He called him out of Ur, and he followed. Acts 4:9-12 tell us of the transformation of Abraham from a pagan idol-worshiper to a father of many. (“Circumcised” refers to the Jews, “uncircumcised” refers to non-Jews.)
Read the passage for yourself, and you will find that God made Abraham the father of both the circumcised and the uncircumcised!
“Hmmmm! I thought he was only the father of the Jews!”
Good catch, dear friend! Though, indeed, Abraham became father of the Jews, it seems to me that God was opening the door to reveal a plan for us Gentiles to enjoy a gift He was giving to the Jewish people. We’ll talk more about that in a moment, but just know that God has not “locked us (Gentiles) out” of the blessing that He promised through the Abrahamic Covenant!
So, Abraham was God’s man! He brought him into a special relationship that was passed down through his descendants. This became a worldwide, eternal covenant, given to the Jews, but the benefits were not exclusively theirs!
Here is your second “golden nugget” of the day. Take a look at Galatians 3:29. After spending a chapter talking about righteousness being attained by faith, and that the law wouldn’t cut it, Paul ends the chapter with this:
And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
Christian believers, we are Abraham’s descendants! Not physically. (We will never become Jews.) But spiritually, we are heirs according to the promise given to Abraham!
To illustrate: do you benefit by things given to your family or friends? Of course you do! I love to go camping. I have a tent, but with each passing year it becomes harder and harder to crawl in and out and sleep on a cot! By God’s grace, I have friends with extra space in their trailer, and I’m invited in! Grace upon grace…I benefit by what is not mine!
Likewise, Christians benefit by the promises God made to the Jewish people. As Paul states in Romans 9 (which we will get to tomorrow), the promises still belong to Israel, but we benefit from them!
Glory to God!
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Come back tomorrow when we examine God’s call upon Abraham!