Throughout Advent, we posted blogs each week based on the Lectionary Readings for the previous Sunday. It was truly an awesome experience to travel through Advent with the universal church by praying, meditating, and responding to those texts. We loved it so much, we thought we’d do it again throughout Lent.
God promised Abraham and his descendants that he would give them the world. This promise wasn’t made because Abraham had obeyed a law, but because his faith in God made him acceptable.
If Abraham and his descendants were given this promise because they had obeyed a law, then faith would mean nothing, and the promise would be worthless. God becomes angry when his Law is broken. But where there isn’t a law, it cannot be broken. Everything depends on having faith in God, so that God’s promise is assured by his gift of undeserved grace. This promise isn’t only for Abraham’s descendants who have the Law. It is for all who are Abraham’s descendants because they have faith, just as he did. Abraham is the ancestor of us all.
The Scriptures say that Abraham would become the ancestor of many nations. This promise was made to Abraham because he had faith in God, who raises the dead to life and creates new things.
God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations. Abraham’s faith never became weak, not even when he was nearly 100 years old. He knew he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children.
But Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God. Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised. So God accepted him, just as we read in the Scriptures. But these words were not written only for Abraham. They were written for us, since we will also be accepted because of our faith in God, who raised our Lord Jesus to life. God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.
–Romans 4:13-25 (CEV)
Today’s text takes us back to the story of Abraham. God has given Abraham a promise. He’s promised Abraham a son–more than that even. Sons that number as many as the grains of sand or stars in the sky. And, Abraham trusts the promise.
Despite the odds.
He’s old. His wife is old. They’re childless. The promise seems all but impossible. So many things stacked against the promise.
Yet, when God makes a promise, and their are impossible situations, there we find grace. “God’s promise is assured by his gift of undeserved grace” (verse 16).
In his epistle to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:20), Paul reminds us that “all the promises of God find their yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” We utter our Amen–our wholehearted agreement and willingness to act on it–to His promises.
God’s promises are conditional. He promises, we add our Amen–our agreement and action. His promise to Abraham was conditional upon Abraham’s obedience to leave Ur and possess the land of Canaan. God’s promise to Israel is conditional on their obedience to worship Him and Him alone (something they have never in their history been able to do, because they have tried within their own power and not with His power).
God has made a promise to each of us. It is a promise for rescue. It is a promise for a life is that more than sufficient (John 10:10). Yet, it is up to us to walk in that promise. To allow Him to be Father. To allow Him to have the last word in our lives.
What has God promised you?
Have you said “Yes” and “Amen”? Have you agreed and acted upon that promise?