ABRAHAM AND JESUS
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:1-3
Paul’s teaching rubbed against the grain of religious Jews so he spent three chapters in the beginning of Romans showing that justification is only through faith in Christ, not of works. As the Jews heard Paul speak, they probably thought of Abraham and raised one of the same questions we hear today. “How could Abraham be justified (through Christ) if the death of Christ had not happened yet?” They were thinking of Genesis 15:6. “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Jews believed that Abraham was good, that his salvation was because of his obedience in matters like circumcision. Based on that, they clung to their own good works and religious piety run rampant. Paul knew he needed to talk about Abraham to prove justification by faith alone.
If I believe that the Gospel of salvation is only as old as the cross, then I am shortsighted. Jesus was called “The Lamb” from before the foundation of the world. God revealed Himself, and Jesus, to Abraham! Abraham believed, looked ahead to the Lamb’s sacrifice on Calvary, and “it”, “Christ’s righteousness”, was credited to Abraham’s account. The process of salvation was identical to mine.
Here are some astounding facts that support how Abraham came to faith. 1.) God preached the Gospel to Abraham. (Gal.3:8-9) Wow, what did that sermon sound like and look like? 2.) Jesus said that Abraham knew him. (John 8:56) So much more happened than what was recorded in scripture!
God is much bigger than I thought. God is never inconsistent. Salvation, even in Genesis, has always been about Jesus, the Lamb of God. God has been the creative communicator, working through time to make Jesus known. As a Christian woman in 2010, I have not placed my faith in a Savior, and a plan, that is only two thousand years old. My feet are standing in a salvation that was conceived before time, one that has not changed with history. Never am I more secure than when I trust the God of the ages.
Man thinks himself clever when he believes he has found a loophole, a seeming inconsistency in scripture. Ultimately, our need to be clever is a way to escape the reality of our sin and the need for Christ’s atonement on our behalf. Today, I am aware more than ever that there are never legitimate loopholes with God and His Word. My faith is well placed. Abraham experienced the revelation of Jesus, just like me, and believed amidst a world of unbelief. God blessed that and He still does.
You are so big. I am so small. Jesus has always been ‘the Lamb’. And, I have always been yours, chosen before time. Amen