[Lesson 93: Review #1] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 95: Review #3]

Lesson 94

Review 2:

Abraham: Righteous by Faith

Genesis 6-22, etc.

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

Today we continue our review of the message of God's prophets. The message of the prophets is a story…God's Story…God's wonderful story about what He has done to seek and to save the children of Adam who are lost in sin. In short, the message of God's prophets is the Good News about how unrighteous people can be made righteous before God. Our review lesson today is entitled: "Righteous by Faith."

Like every story, the story contained in God's book has a beginning and an end. In our last study, we reviewed the beginning of the story and saw how the first person, Adam, chose to follow Satan, the enemy of God. Adam's one sin caused all his descendants to be born in sin, on the path to hell. Some try to deny this, saying: "Adam's sin was his own problem! It doesn't affect us!" But those who say this ignore the Scriptures of the Prophets which declare: "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned!" (Rom. 5:12)

The Wolofs say: "An epidemic's effects are not confined to the one who caused it!" Similarly, the curse of Adam's sin did not stop with him alone, but spread to us all, like a contagious disease. Adam's original sin is the reason that all men are born with a sinful nature. "A rat only begets that which digs." {Wolof proverb}. Similarly, we have all inherited the nature of our forefather Adam. What is absolutely certain is that the sinful nature which is in us will condemn us forever-unless God provides a remedy for us. The good news is that the Lord God has provided a remedy. As we read in the Torah, on the same day that Adam and Eve sinned, God, in His mercy, made a promise. He promised to send down to earth a righteous Redeemer, who would be born of a virgin. This Redeemer would shed His blood as a sacrifice that would pay the debt of the sins of the children of Adam.

In our study in the book of the Gospel {Injil}, we saw that when God's appointed time had come, God sent down the One whom He had promised. Who is this Savior that God promised? He is the perfectly righteous Man, Jesus Christ. Listen to how the Word of God shows the difference between Adam who sinned and Christ who did not sin. The Scripture says:

"For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace…reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Rom. 5:17-19)

That is what the Scripture says concerning those who are in Adam and those who are in Jesus Christ.

We are all born in the likeness of Adam. But God is calling the children of Adam to be born again in their hearts, to put off the likeness of Adam, and to take on the likeness of Christ! How can this happen? It can only happen by faith! The Scripture says that if you believe in your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ paid for your sin, God will cause you to be born again by cleansing your heart and renewing you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will become a new creation in Christ; you will no longer live for yourself, but for Him who died and rose again for you.

Now let us return to the Torah, and continue our review by recalling how God moved forward with His plan to send the Redeemer into the world. In our chronological lessons we saw the two first sons of Adam, Cain and Abel. Abel believed what God promised concerning the Redeemer, who would come to shed His blood as a sacrifice, but Cain did not believe it. God called Cain to give account so that he might repent, but Cain only got angry and killed Abel, his younger brother.

After that, we saw that most of the children of Adam followed in the footsteps of Cain, reveling in sin, which is why when we come to the time of Noah, the Scripture says: "The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Gen. 6:5) We saw how God purposed to destroy the children of Adam with a flood. In that corrupt and crooked time, Noah was the only one who believed what God had promised concerning the coming Redeemer. Consequently, God commanded Noah to build a great ark, which would be a refuge for his family and many animals. For one hundred years God patiently endured sinners while Noah was building the ark. However, no one repented and believed God's word except Noah and his family. Thus in the end, God, who is faithful to His word, did everything He promised, wiping out all those who refused to enter the ark of refuge which He had provided for them.

After that, we saw that Noah's offspring gradually forgot the Word of God, because they too were children of Adam and sinners by nature. Then we read about the tower of Babel and how people tried to gather the peoples of the world to one place and to build a great city and a high tower in rebellion against God. However, God judged them by confusing their language and scattering them over the face of the whole earth.

Next, we came to the wonderful story of the prophet Abraham. Truly, Abraham had a very important place in God's plan to redeem the children of Adam from the dominion of sin. Abraham's father was an idol worshiper, and Abraham himself was a sinner, like all of Adam's descendants. However, we saw that God, in His wonderful design, appeared to Abraham and ordered him to move out of his father's house and to leave his country. God planned to make of Abraham a new nation, through which the holy Redeemer would come into the world. That is what we read in the Torah, in the book of Genesis, chapter twelve, when God called Abraham, saying to him,

"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Gen. 12:1-3)

Why did God command Abraham to move to another land? God wanted to make of him a new nation. Why did God want to make of Abraham a new nation? Through that nation, God planned to raise up the prophets who would write the Holy Scriptures. And through that same nation, God intended to send the Redeemer into the world. That is why God promised Abraham, saying, "You will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

Did God fulfil what He promised to Abraham? Yes, He did! When Abraham was one hundred years old, and Sarah, his wife, was ninety years old, God gave them a son, Isaac, just as He had promised. Isaac had a son, Jacob, who had the twelve sons who formed the new nation of Israel. Those of you who know the Holy Scriptures, know that it was through the nation of Israel that the Redeemer came because Mary (Jesus' mother) and Joseph (Jesus' adoptive father/guardian) were both descendants of Abraham. Thus, the first verse in the Gospel says: "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Matt. 1:1) Concerning His earthly form-Jesus Christ came through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But concerning His holy soul-He is the Son of the Most High, the very Word of God {Kalimat Allah} who came from heaven to be born upon earth.

However, let us return to the story of Abraham, because there is something else important to remember about him. We saw that Abraham was born in sin, like all the children of Adam. However, the Holy Scriptures tell us that today Abraham is in heaven, in the presence of God the Holy One, where he will be forever! Now we ask: What did Abraham do for God to forgive him of his sins, judge him as righteous, and welcome him into heaven? What does the Scripture say about this? It says: "[Abraham] believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." (Gen. 15:6)

Abraham believed God-God Himself. Abraham believed what God said to him. That is why God credited him with righteousness, counting him as righteous. You who are listening today, do you believe the Word of God as Abraham believed it? We are not asking if you believe that God exists, or whether God is One. The devil himself knows that God exists! What God wants is that you believe what He says concerning the way of salvation which He decreed, as Abraham believed it! Abraham told us what we must believe. Can you remember what Abraham announced on that distinguished mountain, the day he offered the sheep in place of his son? He said that "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering." (Gen. 22:8) And after he had slaughtered the sheep, he called that mountain Jehovah Jireh which means the Lord will provide. (Gen. 22:14) Why did Abraham name that mountain "The Lord will provide," when God had already provided the sacrificial sheep? Abraham, as a prophet, was announcing what was yet to happen. When Abraham said, "The Lord will provide," he was predicting what would happen on that mountain where the sheep replaced his son on the altar. He was looking ahead to the day when the Redeemer would shed His blood on that same mountain--to save all who believe in Him from God's righteous judgment.

In our study in the Gospel, we saw that Jesus Christ came into the world about two thousand years after the time of Abraham in order to fulfill Abraham's prophecy. Yes, outside Jerusalem, on the mountain where Abraham sacrificed the sheep in place of his son, there the Redeemer, Jesus, shed His blood to redeem the children of Adam. That is why, after they had nailed Jesus to the cross, before He died, we heard Him speak with a loud voice, saying, "It is finished!" The word finished means completed. Why did Jesus say "It is completed!"? He said that because His death on the cross completed the plan of salvation, which God had announced a long time previously through His prophets. Jesus' death completed and fulfilled the symbolism of Abraham's sacrifice and of all animal sacrifices!

You who are listening today, do you believe that Jesus Christ Himself is the perfect and final sacrificial {Id al-Adha} "sheep," whom God sent from heaven? Do you possess the faith of Abraham? Listen to what the Gospel says concerning Abraham's faith:

(Rom. 4) 1What then shall we say that Abraham…discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about-but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."… 22This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." 23The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Amen!

Thank you for listening. We hope you will join us again for the next program. God willing, we will continue our review of the message of the prophets and see another great prophet whom God selected to prepare the way for the coming of the Savior of the world. That prophet is Moses.…

May God bless you and give you a clear understanding of what the Scripture declares, saying:

"Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Rom. 4:3)