Our hope is based on our confidence. Our confidence is based on our knowledge of
something sure – God’s Testimony. God’s Testimony is found in his Word the Bible and is based on his character which is unchangeable and incapable of being false. God’s Word is His revelation of Himself to us. We know God when we know his Word. Consequently, we can go through any trial, storm of life, or even death without fear because of the promises found there in. This confidence is only afforded when we are grounded in His Word. The more we know of God’s nature, character and person; the more hope, peace, and joy we have as we wait for what is promised to come.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
16 Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who is trustworthy. I AM the God of truth. Truth exists because I AM Truth and I made it transferable to mankind. My promises reflect my character and exist to give you hope. My Word is my bond. You can take it to the bank (of heaven). I AM all powerful, but one thing I cannot do is lie to you. What I promise – I AM able to do. My Word will last for eternity, and so will my promises to you. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my Word will never pass away. I guarantee it. I AM the God of hope, a hope which makes your life safe and secure, a hope which motivates and encourages.
Satan, on the other hand, is the father of lies. His promises only let you down. They may seem wonderful, but his design is to rob, kill and destroy all who would succumb to them.
My promises are based on my word, not your expectations of me.
This behooves you to know my promises, to know me, to know how much I love you and want to help you. Beware though that you do not presume in your expectations of me by human reasoning rather than what my word actually says.
Abraham made this mistake and faltered in his “human reasoning” by sleeping with Hagar. I said that I would give him a son solely by my power but he obeyed Sarah’s human reasoning instead. However, when all hope was lost, I came through for him and gave him a son because I am faithful to my promises. He also used human reasoning to save his skin when he lied about his wife just being his sister to the king. I intervened and protected him in that instance too. He also (partially) obeyed me in leaving his father’s house (yes he left, but he brought his father, his father’s household and his nephew with him) only after his father died and after Lot separated from him to Sodom did I reassert my covenant to him.
Even though your faith may be small, and doubts wrack your mind. I AM able to help and save you if you trust me. “Do not lean on your own understanding”. When things get their darkest, and there is no earthly hope of help, then my salvation is evident so that there will be no confusion about who is helping whom. Though every man be found to be faithless and a liar, yet I AM faithful to my promises. You must fail in your own strength and reasoning, so that you can see my mercy, love, grace, forgiveness and salvation.
Faith is simply taking another person at his word
Faith is simply taking another person at his word that what he says, he will do. In our fallen state we do not have that luxury any more it seems. We require binding contracts with threat of lawsuit in order to have any sense of surety. God has given us this guarantee in his word. So on a spiritual level, faith is simply taking God, who is incapable of lying, at his word. The key to realize is that it is not how much faith we have, or faith for faith’s sake, but God’s faithfulness to his promises and our allowing him to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Abraham is the father of faith –not because he was so faithful (scriptures record him faltering at least three times) but because He let God remain faithful to him in spite of his own shortcomings. He is our example of a hero of faith because he let God take him to the Promised Land, he let God give him a son, and he let God provide a substitute ram for a sacrifice in Isaac’s place on the altar. This is what saving faith is – letting Jesus die for you because you realize that God’s holy judgment requires that it should be you hanging there instead of him.
Abraham was rewarded for his faith, not faithfulness
Was God’s promises based on Abraham’s faithfulness to obey, Abraham’s good works, or perhaps his lack of sin? No. Abraham was a heathen and came from a family of heathens. He failed God on many instances. Abraham certainly did not deserve it. But because God wanted to choose a man through whom he could save mankind for his glory. This shows us that God calls us even though we don’t deserve it. None of us do. Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness, but by his mercy…”
Vs 16 “Puts an end to all arguments”. See Genesis 15:10 for the story of the oath God gave to Abraham. It is important to note that this contract was God walking through the carcasses on his own. Normally both parties would walk through them. But God is making an unconditional contract with Abraham. God knew that Abraham could not fulfill his end of any kind of bargain.
Salvation is received not earned
The same is true with the contract of the Ten Commandments, God knew that the Israelites could not comply even though they said that they would obey. So God gave them the sacrificial system to save them from the penalty of breaking the laws. So you see that salvation has nothing to do with our capability to obey. Rather our responsibility is to receive what God does for us by faith. To trust that God is faithful to his promises. I like to say it this way: “salvation is simply allowing God to die in your place PERIOD”.
More to come,