The three great monotheistic world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, look to Abraham as their father. For Christians, this association is a spiritual relationship. When called to leave his country in Mesopotamia, Abraham was told that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3, NKJV; see also Gen. 18:18, Gen. 22:18). The blessing came through Jesus.
Read Hebrews 11:8-19, Romans 4:1-3, and Galatians 3:29. What elements of Abraham’s faith do these texts mention, and how do they relate to the idea of Christian unity? That is, what can be found in these texts that can help us today to understand what a crucial component of Christian unity should be?
As father of all believers, Abraham gives us some of the basic elements central to Christian unity. First, he practiced obedience. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8, NKJV). Second, he had hope in the promises of God. “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:9-10, NKJV). Third, he believed that God would give him a son and that one day his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. On the basis of this response, God justified him by faith (Rom. 4:1-3). Fourth, he trusted in God’s plan of salvation. The greatest test to Abraham’s faith came when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Moriah (Gen. 22:1-19, Heb. 11:17-19).
The Old Testament describes Abraham as a friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7, Isa. 41:8). His life of faith, his unwavering obedience, and his confidence in God’s promises make him an example of what our Christian lives should be now.
|Think about your actions and words over the next few days. In what ways can you seek to make sure that whatever you say or do reflects the reality of your faith?|