One Pilgrim’s Progress

One Pilgrim’s Progress

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.
–Titus 3:5

Senator Ted Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,” was released just weeks after his death in 2009. At the time, critics were surprised at the honesty with which Kennedy dealt with his life. He talked about his battle with alcoholism, his philandering, and of course the incident at Chappaquiddick that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Both Kennedy and the publishers knew that if he simply painted himself as a hero and refused to deal with these defects, hardly anyone would buy the book. The fact is, candor gives credibility.

The same thing is true with the best-selling book of all time, the Bible. One of the many evidences for the inspiration of Scripture is the way the Bible deals with its central characters. Instead of painting them as superheroes, the Bible paints them just as they were, defects and all. And that is certainly true of Abraham. Abraham made some tremendous mistakes in his life, yet he was known as a friend of God.

From the very beginning of Abraham’s story, we see his flaws. Genesis 11 tells us he was from Ur of the Chaldees. Ur was a major metropolitan center, much like Paris, New York, or London today, and it was a center of idolatry. People worshiped many gods in the city of Ur.

So why did God choose to give His call to this particular man? I will tell you what most people think: God was looking for one man who would be faithful to Him. And as He looked at the city of Ur, He saw all these people worshiping idols. But there was one man among them who worshiped the true God, and that was Abraham. Have you heard that before? It would be a great story if only it were true. But Joshua 24:2-3 says, “From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.” Abraham was just as godless as everybody else in the city of Ur.

So why did God choose Abraham out of everyone else in the world? One reason: grace. Abraham did not find God; God found Abraham. Abraham was just as sinful as everyone else, but God, for His own purpose, chose him. The same is true of you. If you are a Christian, it is not because of any good thing in you. God saved you for one reason: grace. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.” We are saved by grace, and grace alone. And that was true for Abraham. God picked Abraham simply out of grace.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “One Pilgrim’s Progress” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.