In Genesis 12 God speaks to Abraham and calls him to walk away from everything and follow Him. Abraham ends up becoming probably the 2nd most well known figure in world history outside of Jesus Christ. His life is referenced throughout Scripture 300 times. 11 of the 27 books in the New Testament mention his name. His name comes up in all 4 gospels. Jesus talks about him. 3 world religions attribute their roots to Abraham and hold him in high regard; Muslims as the descendant of Ishmael, Jew as the descendant of Isaac, and Christianity as the picture of faith. Abraham is used by God in amazing ways, but he isn’t the hero of the story.
Can you imagine God asking you to walk away from everything you have accomplished? Walking away from your home, your job, your 401K, your family, everything you have worked for, and accomplished to go live in the desert as a nomad. Can you imagine what that would be like?
To make it even worse when people ask you what you are doing your response is, “I was talking with God and He told me to…”. That kind of stuff sounds crazy! You need to know when God speaks into your life He is going to call you to walk away from everything you have been hanging on to and worship Him. Walk away from everything emotionally, physically, spiritually, and worship Him. It isn’t going to make sense to everyone else, it isn’t going to make sense to you and when God speaks to us He is calling us to walk away from all those others things we have been giving our life to and worship Him, trust Him, and follow Him.
It is at this point that we push back and conclude our life is nothing like Abraham. We are just regular people. The people in the Bible are super spiritual people. However, that just means we haven’t read the whole story. When you read the life of Abraham he does a lot of stupid things. At one point he laughs at God when God tells him he and his wife are going to give birth to a son at a 100 years of age. He pimps out his wife twice to two different kings because he is scared. When God tells Abraham he is going to have a son he is convinced it can’t come through his barren wife Sarah so he hooks up with his maid servant. Abraham isn’t the hero of the story.
The hero of the story is God and we best see that in Genesis 15:6, “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
That word “reckoned” means God credited to Abraham’s account the righteousness of God. God doesn’t demand for Abraham to be righteous. God doesn’t require Abraham to clean Himself up, but instead credits to Abraham’s account the righteousness of God. In that moment that Abraham believes he is clothed in the righteousness of God.
Did you know it hasn’t changed? In the thousands of years since Genesis 15 all of humanity is completely without righteousness, separated from God, and dead in our sin. Our righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Abraham looked forward to One who would come, and we look back to One who did come. Jesus Christ. That is why in the NT it reads, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
Biblically it is called justification and it is a judicial term of being acquitted in God’s court. Our sin has offended a Holy and Righteous God and the result, the punishment, of our offense is to be eternally physically and spiritually separated from God. He told them in Genesis 2 that if you eat of the tree you shall surely die, in Romans 3 in the NT the wages of sin is death, and all of humanity is separated from God and this is our spiritual condition before God.
The offense has been committed and He must respond. Our culture wants God to overlook it and simply forgive and forget. If He did He would be worse God ever because it would go against His character and nature and ultimately it means evil and wickedness would exist forever. In His grace and mercy He doesn’t overlook it, but is completely just by taking the responsibility of our sin upon Himself. It is why Scripture describes Jesus as the just (sin is accounted for) and the justifier (He takes the consequences). That is the beauty of the gospel and through faith our sin is accounted for and we credited with the righteousness of God. In Genesis 15 Abraham looked forward to the One who would come and we look back to the One who did come. That is why Jesus is the hero of the story.