Agonizomai: Heb 6:13-15 - Christ - IS The Promise

Monday, January 04, 2010

Heb 6:13-15 - Christ - IS The Promise

Heb 6:13-15 - Christ - IS The Promise

Heb 6:13-15 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham, {Greek he} having patiently waited, obtained the promise.

Here comes the example from history of a person who was faithful to the end, and thus inherited the promise. But first we need to be clear about the mechanism. Abraham was rewarded for the perseverance he exhibited by the fulfillment of God’s unbreakable promise. Did Abraham’s performance make God’s promise unbreakable? Was God’s promise conditional and, if so, how?

We must utterly slay the “works” mindset at every turn. We cannot entertain the idea that God blessed Abraham because Abraham exhibited faith; we must go the whole hog and understand that Abraham exhibited faith because God blessed Him. Only then shall we begin to see the way that God works in man through promise, election, preservation and blessing.

Why do I say this? It is because Abraham was a pagan, and happy to be one - an idolater and a moon-worshiper, living in darkness, not knowing God and without hope in the world. But God chose Abraham, revealed Himself to him, made an inviolable promise to him, swore by His Own Person as the greatest "thing" in all of existence, worked in and upon Abraham by His Spirit to bring him to the point of absolute trust - and it was only on account of these initiatives and graces on God’s part that Abraham was able to see and to believe the God of the promise.

Now, was the requirement that Abraham actually obey in faith (which was indeed necessary for the promise to be realized) for God’s benefit or Abraham’s? Did God know whether or not Abraham would believe to the point where the promise was indeed his? Of the two, which one did not know whether he would actually endure? It was Abraham. So the obedience was necessary for Abraham’s sake, so that he would know for sure that he belonged to the God of the promise. God already knew that he would endure, because he had (effectually) called Abraham. But Abraham knew only that God had called him and so needed to be obedient to that call as a creature, in order discover the absolute trustworthiness of the One Who had called him.

Abraham did obey the call, though his faith often wavered. It certainly needed to mature. And God was there every step of the way ensuring that Abraham not only remembered the promise, but came to trust in the God of the promise to the exclusion even of the thing he loved most in this world (his son, Isaac). God grew Abraham in faith. Abraham walked in it.

And so, we have the two aspects of faith working together in this very passage. We have the self-revealing God, Giver of repentance and faith showing Himself to Abraham in order to bring about His own purposes in which He had chosen to give Abraham a particular role. And then we have Abraham exercising the faith he has been given (imperfectly, as the story ultimately reveals) - not solely by doing things in and of himself, but doing those things that focused on trusting the God of the promise to perform all that He had said.


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