“Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6
Often when “faith” is mentioned in Biblical teaching, Abraham is referred to as the perfect example – the father of faith. In this lesson we will follow in his footsteps and see how he earned that title and how it applies to us.
Go forth from your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you, and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3).
Abraham was called by God to leave his native land and go to the promised land. His answer to this call was the first crucial step towards receiving the blessings of the Messiah. In a similar manner, we must all be ready to leave everything behind when we begin to follow after the Messiah (Matthew 19:27-29
As a result of Abraham’s faith in God, he receives a son in his old age, Isaac, who will inherit the blessing and bring forth the Messiah, but then God says the following:
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you. (Genesis 22:1-2)
God asks Abraham to sacrifice the very blessing, the lineage to the Messiah, that He had given to him. Abraham passes the test by being willing to do it, but he is stopped in the last moment by God and a ram is sacrificed instead (Genesis 22:9-18
This is a picture of God’s sacrifice of his only, beloved Son – Yeshua the Messiah. Abraham did not have to fulfill the sacrifice, since it was only a test and a picture of the future redemption; but when the Messiah came, many generations later, He chose to fulfill the sacrifice and die for our transgressions to bring in the redemption. Both Isaac and Yeshua were sacrificed on Passover, in the vicinity of Jerusalem – they are exact representatives of each other.
We must all accept this sacrifice as atonement for our sins, there is no other substitution or payment available for mankind than the sacrifice of the Messiah (Johannes 14:6
The last phrase in Genesis 12:3
above can also be read as: “and in you all the families of the earth will be grafted in” (Yevamot 63a
). To graft is an agricultural term which means to take a branch from one tree and insert it into another tree. This points towards how all nations of the earth shall receive the blessing and redemption of Abraham by becoming “adopted sons” or “grafted branches” into him… but how?
This brings us back to the first quote of this lesson: “Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
This was said about Abraham because he believed in God’s faithfulness, although it seemed impossible for the promise to be fulfilled (a son to be born) according to outer circumstances. So, righteousness is achieved by believing in God’s faithfulness and ability to save, it is not depending on our own ability or circumstances. It is confirmed by both the apostles (Romans 1:17
, Galatians 3:6-9
) and the Talmud, where the 613 commandments are summarized into one: “The righteous shall live by faith”, (Makkot 24a
Here it is also important to note that this righteousness was granted before Abraham was circumcised, which means that the righteousness is available for both Jews and Gentiles. It is not depending on nationality or background, but only on the Messiah’s ability to redeem and save.
The Promised Land
Finally, we also see that the destination of Abraham’s faith journey was not only Canaan, but the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:8-10
), and that Abraham symbolizes rest and peace in the afterlife throughout scripture (4 Maccabees 13:17
, Luke 16:22
, Kiddushin 72b
It is then safe to call any believer, Jew or Gentile, a child of Abraham. We have all received a call to go to the promised land. We may loose our direction sometimes, but through constant repentance and faith in God’s ability to save through His Messiah, we will reach the destination.
A Faith Statement
We can now summarize this entire course in the following statement:
- I receive God’s payment for all my sins, through the blood of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah (Matthew 20:28)
- I am made righteous, not by my own merit, but by God’s ability to save (Ephesians 2:8-10)
- I am a child of Abraham, grafted in as a Gentile, or naturally born as a Jew (Galatians 3:28-29).
- I will inherit God’s Kingdom and the World to Come (Colossians 1:9-12)
And the One who testifies about all this inside of us is the Holy Spirit, who constantly keeps on transforming us into the image of the Messiah (Romans 8:14-17
The Next Step
This was the last lesson in this course. If you have not yet signed up for a mentor, we recommend that you contact one now
. This will give you the possibility to discuss your questions further and get personal advice on your next step in your walk with God.
Perhaps there are local
meetings that you can attend too, we hope to get in contact with you soon.