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“Consider Abraham: ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 7Understand then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.” -Galatians 3:6-7

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The apostle Paul was masterful at taking the Old Testament and applying it to the truth of Jesus Christ, of whom he became witness. Both Jesus and Paul, by their words, show the incredible truth behind the Old Testament, that though by the new covenant, we are granted righteousness by faith in Christ, it doesn’t necessarily negate the old covenant, or visa versa. In fact, the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old.

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A frequent question among believers and the secular community is, if one is saved in Christ, what about all those who came before Christ? Were they not given the opportunity to be saved? I used to struggle with this question myself, but after reading this verse and others like it, and with my own personal discoveries and revelations concerning the nature of faith, I have come to the conclusion that even prior to Christ, man was capable of coming under grace.

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As Paul says, let us consider Abraham. Abraham was a man of great faith, so much so that when the Lord asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham complied with the command. Yet, at the last minute, the Lord sent an angel to prevent the sacrifice of Isaac, but provided a ram to take Abraham’s sons place. Not only does this speak of great faith, but also obedience, which springs forth from that faith.

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Now Abraham was faulty just as any other man, but even prior to the new covenant, his faith was credited to him as righteousness by God. This is due to the nature of faith, which we should all take a lesson from, that by understanding this lesson, one may overcome doubt and worry. Briefly, I will mention as I write this, that it is a lesson that is speaking to me as well.

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It’s not as simple as having faith in the existence of Christ and our Lord, rather faith runs deeper than this, and it is important to meditate on it that our roots may grow deeper. Abraham not only believed in God, but believed in what He said. This might seem like a small difference, but in reality it is quite large, for to believe in what God says, is to believe in His promises. Therefore, when God told Abraham that his offspring would be the savior of the world, Abraham completely believed and it, again, was credited to him.

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Within Paul’s letters, Paul elaborates on Abraham’s offspring. Paul tells us in the context, “offspring,” is presented, it is not plural, but rather singular. Thus, a multitude of Abraham’s descendants wouldn’t save the world, but rather one singular man of a divine nature, that is Christ. In Jesus’s time, the prophecy of a savior was no secret, in fact many were looking for the savior, but in their pride, the Jews misunderstood the heavenly nature of the savior. Many expected a mere king and not the King of Kings.

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Abraham understood this and had faith in God that the savior would come and thereby, put his faith not only in God, but the savior that was to come. This is why we are children of Abraham. Abraham was of a previous generation, before the new covenant and Abraham believed this covenant was to come. Thus, with Abraham coming before, he is our father of those who would be credited righteousness through faith.

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Abraham was not considered righteous for obedience to any Law (although the Law hadn’t been given unto Moses yet) or by any of his works, but was considered and credited righteousness because of faith and belief. It is akin to this same faith in the Lord and His promises that we become the descendants of Abraham. In Galatians 3:8-9, Paul states:

“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ 7So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”

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Therefore, let us not only believe in God the Father, and the Son, but let us believe in what they make known unto us by the Word and through the Spirit, who counsels us in all things. Anyone who did this under the old covenant was granted a like righteousness, but being under the new, we are witnesses to Christ’s death, by which we are justified, and His resurrection, through which righteousness and eternal life comes. Christ gained the firstfruits of the glorified body, due to His righteousness, but Abraham was the father of righteousness by faith.

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What the Lord tells us is true and should not be doubted. It is correct to say some promises won’t come to pass until the appointed time, but let us not grow weary of our waiting upon the Lord, nor let it produce doubt within us. The Lord cannot break a covenant, for to do so would make Him imperfect, and we would cease to exist altogether. Thus, all the Lord has said will come to pass, in this age or the next, and this shall not hinder our faith. For even Abraham wasn’t hindered in his faith, but knew the promises of God would be fulfilled even when our father of righteousness by faith had passed from the world.

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“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” -Romans 5:10

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There were times, and are times when I act more in accordance with an enemy of God than an ally. This is of course much to my shame, but this is essentially what sin is, battling against God and those perfect decrees He has made known through all creation. Yet, through the death of Christ on the cross there is offered reconciliation even for the likes of myself. Furthermore, if that what was accomplished through His death, how much more was accomplished by His resurrection? His death was the gateway into salvation and His resurrection the completion. It could not have been accomplished unless these two things were in complete unity. As 1 Corinthians 15:17 states:

“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.”

Thus, when we come to Christ in faith, we must believe upon Him, His death, and His resurrection. For in His death we die along with our sins, but in His life we arise as a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (see my note on, “On The Old Overtaken by What is New”) tells us:

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!”

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Though we are made anew, this doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t contest with those things we allied to when we were enemies of God. In fact, those sins which enslaved our lives are more apt to be the ones we most struggle with in Christ. Yet, let us never tire of doing good, for despite our flaws, we are being renewed day by day (see my note concerning 2 Corinthians 4:16, “On Not Losing Heart Due to Sin”). This can be an esoteric truth to understand when one comes to Christ and it may serve the enemy to trip up those who are new to the faith. I once had a discourse with a messenger from Satan regarding this very thing.

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I had found myself losing battles but striving to do what was right in sight of the Lord. The enemy came to me saying, “Are you sure this is what you want? In me is true contentment, lack of struggle and gratification.” I am not proud to recount that it was a temptation for me. Did I really want to fight against the flesh, isn’t it much easier to go the way of sin, than of righteousness? I found myself warring against myself and I prayed for some sort of guidance and delivery from the argument. This temptation was apparently very effective, for I almost buckled under the weight of it. I kept warring back and forth between ease of gratification and the difficulty of conviction.

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Then the Lord began to answer me and the dark messenger. I found myself responding to the enemy, that even if I fail, even to the point of eternal condemnation, I shall rejoice that Christ has been victorious. By responding as such, the provocation subsided and I was astounded at the thought, to be honest, for like anyone I fear the fires of hell, but my fear was trumped by my love and praise. I began to realize, with the help of verses like the aforementioned one in Romans, that despite losing battles, the Lord is the one who won the war on our behalf. I consistently see new Christians struggle with this very thing, the associations of conviction and condemnation, but as this verse suggests, it’s not about the skirmishes that we may lose, but who we ally ourselves to. I began to see from a different point of view, that in conviction God doesn’t condemn, but rather uses it to produce better soldiers in His army.

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Illustration for John Milton's, "Paradise Lost," by Gustave Dore, c. 1866

The Lord is putting us through a Holy boot camp, that we may serve Him to the best of our ability, and that our abilities may keep improving and developing. If one who has given their life to Christ, still finds themselves asking if they truly belong to Him, they must transcend the worlds idea of worth through action. One should seek inside themselves what side they really are fighting for and against, without taking their lost battles into account, for as I mentioned before, Christ has already won the war. Ally yourself on he side of victory and push beyond what you may conceive as easy, for as the Lord showed me at the end of my discourse with the darkness, effort is put in serving the sinful nature, just as it is in surpassing it. May you surpass it and receive the blessings of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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"Christ Blessing," by Simone Martini. tempera on panel, c. 1317

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