“Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.
Abraham did not have to kill his son Isaac as an offering to the Lord because at the last moment, God Himself provided the sacrifice, just as Abraham said He would. Look at Genesis 22:13-14: “Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.’”
You see, God was teaching Abraham, as well as all of us, the most important lesson we can ever learn, and that is we are incapable of providing an adequate sacrifice to God. Hebrews 10:4 says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” There is no sacrifice you and I can make to earn God’s forgiveness in our lives. God has to provide the sacrifice for us. And He did that two thousand years later when He provided the perfect Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, who takes away the sin of the world. God Himself had to provide a sacrifice for our sins.
Also as a result of this test, God called Abraham his friend. James 2:21-23 says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God.”
This passage confuses a lot of people because it seems to imply that we are saved by works and not by faith. Make no mistake about it: Abraham had been saved forty years earlier in Genesis 15, when he believed the promise of God. The moment he believed the promise of God, God took that little bit of faith and exchanged it for His perfect righteousness. Verse 6 says, “He believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” That is the moment Abraham was justified. But James was saying that when Abraham went through this tremendous test, he was shown to be righteous. He was proved to be justified by his obedience to God. And it was from this point on, the Bible says, that Abraham was known forever as the friend of God.
We are not saved by works; we are saved by the grace of God, through faith, and our salvation is paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God. But whether we truly have saving faith is demonstrated by our obedience to God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Saying Yes To The Impossible”” 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. www.lockman.org