Heres a little history lesson.
If we followed the branches of Christianity all the way back to its earliest roots, we’d end at a guy name Abraham. Old Abe didn’t set out with the intention of starting an entire religion, he was just a dude in a t-shirt who was chosen and blessed by God. He learned early in his friendship with God that his good deeds had little impact on how God viewed him. If his good deeds mattered, then he certainly would have had a lot of stuff to brag about, but that wasn’t God’s way of determining Abe’s value.
Old Testament Scriptures say “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”Genesis 15:6
Think of it this way, when you work a job, you expect a paycheck. When you get paid, you can be proud of yourself because the money is something you earned. But when it comes to God, he rewards you with righteousness not because you worked for it, but because you simply had faith in Him.
This is a big deal! It’s one of the main differences between Christianity and other religions. Basically, you are made right with God not because of your efforts, but because of…God Himself.
In Psalm 32, David hinted at this when he said “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!”
This forgiveness isn’t earned by any good intentions or hard work, only by faith. But it’s worth raising the question, is it only reserved for select people? Can “anyone” receive this gift of salvation since there are no prerequisites to earn it? What are the qualifiers?
In other words, if Abraham was counted as righteous because of simple faith, then by what means was his faith expressed? Did God count Abraham as righteous after his circumcision? Or was it beforehand?
Clearly God accepted Abraham BEFORE his circumcision. Circumcision was simply a sign that Abraham had faith and God had already accepted his faith – even before the surgical procedure! This means Abraham is still the spiritual father of those who have faith but are not circumcised. He is still the spiritual father for those don’t fit the religious mold. They are still counted as righteous…because of their faith ALONE. Of course, Abraham is also the spiritual father of the circumcised, those who do fit the religious mold, but ONLY if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before the circumcision.
Can you see it? It’s obvious that God’s promise to Abraham was good before any adherence to religious laws or morality. So if God’s promise is only good for those who obey laws, then their faith was not necessary to begin with and the promise is pointless. Religious laws, traditions, and expectations always get broken. You’ve heard it said, the only way to avoid rules getting broken is to not have any in the first place!
With all that said, here’s the truth you need to remember: Salvation is received by faith, it’s a free blessing that anyone can receive regardless of whether or not you have a religious heritage or follow religious customs and rules.
The main question I want to ask you is, “do you have faith like Abe?” If so, then he becomes a spiritual father to you. Remember when God said to Abraham, “I will make you the father of many nations”? This is how God is fulfilling his promise to Abraham. As people like you and I come to faith, the faith that God makes dead things alive and creates some-thing from no-thing, and as we express our faith, God is fulfilling his big promise to Abe.
If you read Abe’s full story, you’ll read that at one point in his life, everything became really difficult. He began to wonder if God would even fulfill his promise because the situation didn’t seem very hopeful. But Abraham just kept believing what God had promised. Hope was diminishing, but is faith didn’t weaken. Not once did he stop believing God’s promise, and his faith in the midst of difficulty glorified God even more!
There is something to be said about someone who is fully convinced, in the face of all kinds of pressure, that God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. Being fully convinced of this is called FAITH. This is the kind of assurance Abraham had, and this is the kind of assurance you and I can have, that God will count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the one who raised Jesus from the dead! Yes, Jesus was given over to death as a punishment for our sins, but then He was raised to life again so that we could be made right with God.
PS- I’m not currently on social media, and nobody reads my blog, so maybe you can share?