Friday, May 6, 2016

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May is now posted.

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GRACE AT WORK


Part 2

Jack Davis


In the woman at Bethany we have a most precious illustration of preparation for good works. Her act of love, offering out of deep appreciation, expresses the attitude of true worship that comes from a knowledge of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9, “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”

HINDRANCES: Two main hindrances to good works are spiritual ignorance and intellectual pride. Jesus said in Mk. 12:24, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” These both seemed to be true of Saul of Tarsus. Although he had a thorough head knowledge of the scripture, having set at the feet of Gamaliel, yet he certainly lacked a heart revelation of the spiritual intent. He reflected his nation’s condition. “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” – Rom. 10:2-4.

Jesus foretold such ignorant pride when He told His disciples, “Yes, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not know the Father, nor me” – Jn. 16:2-3. Paul said, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” – Acts 26:9. The many harsh things that he did were done in ignorance and unbelief, (I Tim. 1:13). Mankind by human wisdom didn’t know God, or else they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, (I Cor. 2:8). We are still appalled at the horrible depths that religions zeal plunges humanity today in this so-called enlightened age.

Our chief adversary would use intellectual pride to rob us of our reward and spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ, corrupting our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ (Col. 2:8). Thank God that Paul’s prayer in Colossians is still being answered in the life of some saints today. He prayed, “that we might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work” Col. 1:9-10.

Today men in religious circles work out elaborate plans, devise ingenious schemes, and then supposedly ask God to add His blessings to them. Thank God that there are wise men today who are manifesting good works, not in brashness but in the meekness that true wisdom prompts, (James 3:13). There are still obedient patterns of good works that are indeed worthy, all-around examples of doing God’s will (Titus 2:6-8). We have many examples before us of those that scripturally make it a point, as their business, devoting their lives to the maintenance of good works, (Titus 3:4-8). By the grace of God that brings salvation, Jesus is still purifying unto Himself a people ambitious, with real enthusiasm, and hearts set upon a life that is beneficial to others, and unto His glory. (Titus 2:11-14 & Mt. 5:16).

PROMISED REWARDS: Heb. 6:9-12, “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful (sluggish), but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Who could beat a deal like this? God has supplied all the power and provisions and prepares His co-workers. Yet, He also promises to reward with eternal riches those who let Him so use them. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” – Col. 3:23-24.

Our Father is the most successful gardener (Jn. 15:1-8), and is also the same in the construction, as well as the jewelry business. He invites His co-labourers to build with enduring materials such a gold, silver and precious stones, and follow His most complete set of blueprints. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive reward. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour” – I Cor. 3:14,8.

We read in the 31st Proverb a symbolic description of the bride of Christ in work clothes. There it is said of her, “She worketh willingly with her hands. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful,, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates” – Vs. 13,20,27-31.

In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, we read of Jesus as He is walking among the candlesticks, saying to each assembly, “I KNOW THY WORKS.” Then, following, we read of the promised rewards appropriate to the condition of each assembly. Rev. 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Rev. 22:12, “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

Rev. 19:7-8, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness (righteous acts) of the saints.” The bride’s garment, granted in reward for her righteous acts, is indeed great cause for gladness and rejoicing, giving all the honour and glory to the Lamb.

This also is in complete harmony with the sweet scene of Revelation 4:10-11, “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” The whole testimony will only, and ever, be to the glory of God’s Grace.

What does the Bible say?




Who are included in the first resurrection?

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” – Rev. 20:6. All believers are the blessed and the holy ones.

A second resurrection is implied, which will be that of the wicked dead raised to be judged at the great white throne – Rev. 20:11-15.

Of God’s people:
Enoch was the first man translated, he “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” – Gen. 5:24.

Moses was resurrected for he appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration – Mt. 17:3.

Elijah was translated, going up by a whirlwind into heaven – II Kings 2:11.

Jesus ascended after His resurrection, He was taken up and a cloud received Him as He went to heaven – Acts 1:9.

The Old Testament overcomers received a better resurrection (Heb. 11:35) and were raised after Christ’s resurrection and appeared unto many – Mt. 27:52-53.
The first rank overcomers of the Church Age out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation are seen in heaven in Revelation chapters 4 & 5.

The second rank of the church, an innumerable multitude is seen in heaven – Rev. 7:9.

The third rank of the church, the 144,000 of Israel are seen in heaven – Rev. 14:1.

The two witnesses will be resurrected about the middle of the seven years of tribulation – Rev. 11:11-12.

The souls under the altar – Rev. 6:9.

Other martyrs for their witness of Jesus and the Word of God – Rev. 20:4.

All believers of Israel and all other believers before Christ will be raised at the coming of Christ – Dan. 12:2.

All believers from Adam down to the time Christ returns will be raised from the dead or translated. All Believers  living at the end of Christ’s 1,000 years reign will be transformed into their immortal state – I Cor. 15:51-52. In the eternal state there will be no more death -Rev. 21:3-5.
E. J. D.

THE LAST DAYS

Pastor Anita Clark

Cardondale, Kansas


“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad” II Corinthians 5:10.
“And I saw a great white throne and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; ... And I saw the dead small and great stand before God: and the books were opened and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works. ...And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 19:11-15.

The Scripture speaks of several different judgments. For example: (1.) The Judgment Seat of Christ. (2.) The Judgment of the Nations. (3.) The Great White Throne Judgment. This teaching will endeavor to explain the differences in these three.
1. THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST - First of all the word “judgment” from the Gk. Means “a tribunal,” - which means “court, authority.” Vines Expository Dictionary gives this meaning - “a separating, a division, denotes a divine tribunal.” Romans 14:10 says, “But why dost thou judge thy brother, or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” And again, in II Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.” Christ is walking among us now, judging our lives. The “judgment seat” is not a place to condemn us for our sins and failures, but for Christ to examine our total life, and then to give rewards to us for all the Holy Spirit led things we did in our lifetime here on earth.
Ephesians 6:8 says “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether good or bad.” There will be a day when the believer in Christ will stand before the Lord and receive the rewards for the things that have been done in his life and through his life while he is on this earth. Colossians 3:24 says, “Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men, knowing of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ.”

In Jesus’ day, Pilot sat upon a judgment seat. It was a transient place which was actually anywhere Pilot happened to be. In Revelation 1:12-18, we see Christ the judge in the midst of the Church Age in which we live, walking among the candlesticks, which represent the church during this age. He is judging the believers of the church right now. I Corinthians 11:31-32 says, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the wicked.” The Judge, Christ, is scrutinizing our lives right now as we walk upon this earth. In this present life we are blessed when we yield to God or we are chastened of the Lord when we walk after our flesh. All of this is brought about because He loves us.
Two portions of the Word speak of the way Jesus Christ deals with us. First, Hebrews 12:5-11, where Apostle Paul speaks of the chastening which God brings to us in this present life because we are His children whom He loves. His motive is always “LOVE.” The second portion is Galatians 6:7-9, where Paul speaks of “sowing and reaping.” Plainly, if we walk with God, yielding to the Holy Spirit, we will reap blessings even in this present life. If we sow to our flesh, letting sin rule our lives, we will suffer many things in our natural bodies, perhaps illness or financial loss or etc. It is not our place to judge another believer and say, “She’s ill, she must be walking after her fleshly nature.” Christ Jesus is the Judge. He chastens us to correct us and keep us following Him. He is full of grace and mercy. We usurp His authority if we take upon ourselves to judge our fellow believer.
I Corinthians 3:12-15, “If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, or precious stones, - wood, hay or stubble, Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved yet so as by fire.” Here again we see right now in our present life, what takes place. Christ the judge sees our lives - whether we are building on this foundation (Christ V.11) eternal, long-lasting things (gold, silver, precious stones, which are only refined further by fire), or “wood, hay or stubble,” which are showy things, but burn up in a few seconds when the fire is applied. Note: Vs. 14, “He shall receive a reward.” The child of God who walks in the Spirit and manifests these good long-lasting characteristics of Christ will reap blessings in this life. and in the future when Christ returns will receive a greater inheritance than those who walk after their flesh, and shun the working of God’s Holy Spirit in their lives. We will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ one day and be rewarded for our yieldedness in our present life. Note: Revelation 2-3, The Lord repeatedly says, “To him that overcometh...” various rewards and places of honor will be given in heaven.
2. THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS - The book of Revelation plainly shows what will happen during the tribulation. Christ will be ruling in heaven on His throne (Rev.4), His overcoming saints of God from the Church Age reigning with Him. Note: Rev.5:8-10, the Living Creatures and Twenty-Four Elders of Revelation 4 are described here as, (Vs. 9) “redeemed us to God; by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation.” The coming of the Lord as described in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 as taken place at this point in time before the tribulation period of seven years.
He will be pouring out the wrath of God upon the unbelieving world. The judgment will be physical - they will suffer and die. After the seven years, Christ will return with His saints with him. (Rev. 19:1-10.) These verses show the people of God from the Church Age already with the Lord. They have already experienced the judgment of the Lord as to their works and are now in their rightful places in the heavens. In vs. 9, they are at the Marriage supper with the Lord. Then, in verses 11-19 - Christ is seen returning with His Army made up of believers of this age coming back with Him. I stress this point because some believe that at the Great White Throne Judgment all people will stand before the Lord (believers and unbelievers). No! The believers are already in heaven a 1,000 years before.
Some confuse the Great White Throne judgment with what Jesus Christ spoke of in Matthew 25:31-46, The judgment of the nations and their attitudes toward Israel, called “my brethren.” This judgment will take place at the end of the tribulation, after the nations have in a final way shown their attitude toward the nation of Israel. It is not speaking of a judgment sorting out people, whether Saints or sinner. Because of the attitude and actions of some nations they will be totally destroyed as nations, though each individual of those nations will be judged by God as to their belief in Christ or not.
  -Note: Revelation 20 starts with Satan being cast into the bottomless pit for 1,000 years.. The Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ will be set up on earth. We the people of the Church Age will be with the Lord in heaven, ruling and reigning with Him. Then, after the 1,000 years is over Revelation 20:11-15 will take place. Again we emphasize, the believers will already be in heaven in their places or ranks with the Lord. Christ is sitting on His Great White Throne, ready to judge the unbelieving dead from all the ages - from way back to the beginning. Those who did not receive salvation in Old and New Testament times will be judged. There are no believers in Christ here at this throne. When the Scripture says, “DEAD” it means exactly that. “Dead Spiritually.” (Eph. 2:1). These are all the rejecters of God from all past ages of time. Note: They are judged from “the Book of Life.” This book has recorded the names of ALL who have received Christ. Their names are not found there. This alone dooms them to eternal damnation and eternal judgment. Note: It says in Vs. 13 -“And death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.” This proves that these are not believers being judged. The believer in Christ upon natural death is taken to heaven with the Lord and at this time is already with Christ in heaven for 1,000 years.
These unbelievers are not only judged as to whether their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of life, (Vs.15) but also “... judged every man according to their works” (Vs.13)," which implies that they will have more suffering according to their deeds done in this life.
Revelation 21:27 says, “And there shall in no wise enter into it (the New Jerusalem) anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of Life.”
Through this study it is hoped that each one reading will understand God’s Word in a better way. Christ is coming so very soon. The signs are everywhere showing the nearness of this happening. Our lives are an open book before the Lord. He is observing us now, and patiently working in us to bring us to maturity in Christ. Be ready!

How Do You Pray?


And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. . . . He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. Matthew 26:39, 42

A lot of people claim to pray. Some pray when things go badly and some when things are good. Some think prayer is supposed to be like an ATM machine. Just insert a little petition and push the right buttons, and out comes what you wanted.

Jesus is, of course, our best example of prayer. First, we must observe that His prayer is simply a conversation with His Father. You can study all of Jesus’ prayers, and you will observe the same. Prayer is simply a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

So, if prayer is just a conversation with our Heavenly Father, then we need to consider who He is. Who are we really talking to? The I Am, the Creator of all things. This establishes what our attitude should be before Him. Great reverence should be our attitude.

So now, let’s consider how we came to be able to converse with the God of all creation. In our sinful condition we could not even approach the presence of God. How did we get to be able to converse with God? Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:19-22. This also informs our attitude in prayer. It was very costly for Him to provide for us.

How could we ever imagine to think prayer is just for times when things are bad and we need help? How could we think that prayer is some kind of ATM? We should consider our Lord and His prayer while on this earth. What did He pray for? How did He pray?

First and foremost, we’ll start with addressing our Heavenly Father. He is our Father, and He wants us to approach Him as such. He loves us and wants to hear from us. All the time, not just when things are bad. He wants to have ongoing fellowship with us.

Second, we need to understand what Jesus prayed for. He always sought His Father’s will. This is where many of God’s people go wrong. They come to God with all sorts of  requests, and even demands, but are not truly seeking God’s will. It is good to bring our request to Him, but we must be willing to seek His will.

And lastly, gratitude. Not just for the times we received what we asked, but for every time because God’s will is always best. Gratitude for the privilege of entering His presence. Gratitude every time, all the time. What a great privilege we have in prayer, but also a great responsibility.

Gordon Crook

RUTH

Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Springfield, Missouri


Ruth 3:10 – “And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.”

Notice how many times Boaz uses the word “thou” in his response to Ruth – three times! Each “thou” is a description of what he saw in her and his description is both personal and powerful. The first “thou” describes her relationship; the second her kindness and the third her separation.

Her Relationship: “And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter.” The word “blessed” comes from “to kneel,” it means “to praise,” this is worship that is more than verbal! It also means “to bless” or “to be blessed.” She is “blessed” not just because of what she said but also because of what she did. She blessed the Lord first and now the Lord will bless her. She blessed the Lord when she decided to go with Naomi – she blessed the Lord when she accepted Naomi’s God and people – she blessed the Lord by her labors in Boaz’s fields. This is praise and this is worship seen in what she did, in the choices she made. The choices we make can honor or dishonor God, all her choices showed her heart attitude, God saw every act and action as “kneeling” before Him, He saw it as “worship.” Now Boaz responds to Ruth’s request with a blessing and also says she will bless him. How precious and wonderful and how we can see in it the promise of the blessing she will later enjoy. They will be natural blessings, marriage, children, fruitfulness, but they also point to the “all spiritual blessings,” God gives us through Christ. They are abundant blessings, all blessings, they are spiritual blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3). We see the basis for the blessing rests on her actions (she blessed) and Boaz’s promise (he blessed).

We see what she did (she blessed God) and what God would do (bless her). Ruth now belongs to the Lord, this is the relationship Boaz assures her of. It is “Blessed be thou of the Lord.” She has this assurance, no longer a stranger, no longer a Moabitess, no longer a heathen but a child of God, a part of the people of God and into the promises of God.

Next we see another relationship, seen in the way that Boaz addresses her. She is called “my daughter.” He sees her youth, the word “daughter” shows she’s younger than him. He sees her belong to him, she is his responsibility: “my” daughter. He sees her relationship to God, to His people and to him! She is now a “daughter” of God of the “household of faith” (Gal 6:10). This is a tender, respectful phrase Boaz uses when he speaks to her. Boaz might have refused Ruth but he accepted her! He called her “my daughter” and he pronounced a blessing on her!

Her Kindness: “for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning.” This is the second description of Boaz showing what he saw in her and it is a description of what she did. The word “kindness’ comes from “to bow the neck” (in courtesy and submission). It is like the foundation of the word for “blessed” which comes from “to kneel.” It is all about submission and a submissive attitude! Gesenius gives the following meaning for “kindness,” it is an “eager and ardent desire by which anyone is led” or “to show oneself gracious.” Brown translates it as “to be kind.” Strong’s translates it as a “good deed” and “loving-kindness.” It can be shown toward God and toward man. Ruth did both! The words, which show the extent of her kindness are “showed more” which come from “to be sound, beautiful.” It means to “be comely, content, diligent” and “to please well.” Ruth did more, loved more, served more, labored more, she went above and beyond what was expected and what others might do. She pleased God well, and pleased Boaz well, she was well pleasing unto the Lord (Col 3:20). When we please God first, we will please man.

We see in these words the submission and diligence that made Ruth so beautiful. Naomi’s prayer for her and Orpah was the “Lord deal kindly with you” (Ruth 1:8). There the word means “faithfulness, devotion, grace, mercy, and steadfast love.” The word speaks of God’s “loving-kindness” to His people. Now the Lord’s “kindness” (that Naomi prayed for) is seen as a reward for Ruth’s “kindness” but not seen and enjoyed until she came out of Moab, until she had sacrificed and served. Her “kindness” is a perfect picture of her submission to the Lord, to Naomi and to Boaz. Here the growth of that “kindness” is seen, it never stopped, it was not a onetime act but was a lifetime pattern, seen in many, many acts. Boaz saw the growth of her kindness, he said it was “more … in the latter end than at the beginning.” Her kindness at the beginning speaks of her kindness to Naomi. Her kindness in the latter end speaks of her kindness to Boaz. It began with her husband and his family. It grew to include Naomi more than her own family. It grew to include Naomi’s people and God. It grew and grew until it finally reached out to Boaz and included him. Her kindness was that eager, ardent desire that never faltered or wavered. Her kindness was a desire to bow the neck in submission to Naomi, to God and to Boaz.

 “Thy “latter kindness,” he says, has been greater than thy former. Then thy confidence in Jehovah brought thee from thy country and thy kindred; but now thou hast shown still greater faith in Jehovah. Thou hast taken the only place that a Moabitess can take – that of need and helplessness – and hast found grace in my sight.” – Mary Bodie

Her Separation: “inasmuch as thou followest not young men whether poor or rich.” Finally we have the third description of what Boaz saw in Ruth. This describes her separation, seen in who she did not follow after. The word “followedst” comes from two words, “to walk” and “to pursue after,” one is slow and one is fast. In a negative sense it means “to depart, to go (away) or to go (one’s way).” There were those that could have drawn Ruth away from God’s Will. They were the “young men,” not the older men (like Boaz). They were men she could have been attracted to, they were many in number and they were both “poor and rich.” If the man looked good but didn’t have wealth she could have chosen him. Ruth looked beyond the surface, she wanted more, and she wanted what God wanted for her. Here we see Ruth’s faithful, chaste, pure testimony. Considering the day she lived in, the time of the Judges, this may have been a hard thing for Ruth; she may have been pestered by or propositioned by these men. This was the time of the Judges, when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Boaz saw this separation, others saw this! She was not in Boaz’s field to look for a husband; she was there to serve Boaz, serve Naomi, and serve God! Ruth had a choice, she didn’t choose any of the young men, she chose an older man, she chose “a mighty man,” and she chose “a kinsman.” She chose the man Naomi chose and God chose!

This is the testimony of the Bride, she is a chaste virgin (2 Cor 11:2), she doesn’t follow after what appeals to the flesh; she denies herself, takes up the cross and she follows Christ (Lk 9:23).

JUSTIFIED BY FAITH

Pastor Gary Giddings

Sand Lake, Michigan

Romans 4:1-3  1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Abraham was justified by faith when he put the weight of his trust, his confidence and his reliance upon God. God declared him RIGHTEOUS for all to learn how God brings any person into a right relationship with Him.

God called Abraham OUT OF idolatry and INTO a relationship with Him.  God called him to leave the old land and to go into the land of Canaan, a land populated by idol worshipping people. This is where God would bless Abraham far above anything he could dream. God promised that He would make of him A GREAT NATION.

Abraham was 75 years old when he was called (Gen. 12:4). BY FAITH Abraham went into the land of Canaan BEFORE he had any children. Years passed by and Abraham and his wife still had no children. Perhaps he would have a progeny through his servant, Eliezer of Damascus?

Genesis 15:4-6  4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

Abraham BELIEVED God and so his faith was counted as Righteousness. There was no set of “works” that Abraham had to perform, no “standard” by which he had to attain. Abraham simply BELIEVED what God told him was true, and God declared him to be RIGHTEOUS. Abraham was RIGHT because he dared to believe God’s Word. God gave the land of Canaan to Abraham and to his seed FOREVER. 

It is very interesting that God was willing to show Abraham the certainty of this blessing: God made a single-sided covenant with Abraham, saying what He was going to do for him.

Genesis 15:7-10 7 And He said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And He took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.

A sacrifice was made: it was the “cutting” or the making of a covenant.  God made a BINDING covenant with Abraham. God is true and He cannot lie or go back on His promise. But this was done TO SHOW Abraham the certainty of God’s Word! Abraham’s part was to simply believe what God had said. Abraham’s faith was shown by his obedience to God.

Genesis 15:17-18  17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.

Again, this covenant was a promise by God that HE would do something for Abraham. It was God saying that HE would make it happen, not that Abraham had to do anything to make it happen. The burden was on GOD, not on Abraham! God is ABLE and FAITHFUL to perform His Word.

Romans 4:4-5  4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

There is a SPIRITUAL blessing to be found as we look at the EXAMPLE of Abraham’s FAITH. We’re not looking for a reward that comes from WORKS but A RIGHT STANDING with God that comes by FAITH. It is the exercise of FAITH by which God JUSTIFIES the ungodly. God CAN and WILL justify us, the ungodly, because FAITH IN GOD is counted as RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Romans 4:13  “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

God’s righteousness was NEVER by keeping the Law of Moses. The Law was given to show everyone how much they failed to meet God’s standard of righteousness. Whether BEFORE the Law, DURING the Age of Law or AFTER the Law, it was and is always “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 

Romans 4:23-25  23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Jesus was DELIVERED FOR OUR OFFENCES. He took our place and died on the Cross to purify us and to cleanse us from all our sins. This is so important because it is SIN that hinders our relationship with Him.

Just as God “cut” or made a covenant with Abraham, declaring what He was going to do for Abraham, God has made a NEW COVENANT with us, declaring that He will forgive us if we will put our trust in Him.

Jesus was RAISED AGAIN for our JUSTIFICATION. According to the Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, JUSTIFICATION is “the act of pronouncing righteous.” Jesus death was not the end of the story! He rose again the third day so that we could LIVE in His RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Because we have been JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have peace with God and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God!  (Romans 5:1-2)