Our Father Abraham

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father . . .” (Isaiah 51:1)

Abraham is seen as the Patriarch by followers of three of the major world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As such he serves as a link which connects us through a common heritage. Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldeans – modern day Iraq. At that time the people of his native land were idol worshippers, serving many false gods.

When Abraham was called by God to leave his country, his people and his father’s household, and to follow the one true God, he responded in complete faith and obedience. He is therefore called the father of the faithful. God declared him to be righteous because of his faith and those who emulate his faith, by believing and obeying God, are true children of Abraham. Abraham put his faithfulness to God before loyalty to nation, tribe or family. Likewise, those who want to emulate the faith of Abraham must be prepared to put their faithfulness to God before all other loyalties. A true believer in the God of Abraham should be governed by God’s word alone. Unfortunately, many people belong to a religion simply because they were born into it and they often accept the beliefs of their religion without ever having given them serious consideration. That is not the faithfulness of Abraham.

  • Who is the God of Abraham?

There is only one true God whom we must worship, the God who revealed himself to Abraham. The story of Abraham’s journey of faith was recorded in the Bible. In this same book God declares that there is no God, no Saviour or Redeemer apart from Him. (cf. Isaiah 43:11,14 ; 45:5).

  • Why was Abraham so important?

The Bible tells us that Abraham was singled out from among the people of his day and called God’s friend. God called Abraham into a very special relationship with him in which He revealed His purpose to bless all mankind. This purpose was to be accomplished through the seed of Abraham – the Messiah. God would redeem the whole world through this one descendant of Abraham.

  • Why do we need a Redeemer?

Man’s original dwelling was in the Garden of Eden, the Paradise of God, but when man disobeyed God he was exiled from this world and separated from the presence of God. In order for man to be reconciled to God and restored to this place of blessing the penalty for his transgression had to be paid. The consequence of man’s transgression is death. All men have sinned and are destined to die, but God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance and receive eternal life. Therefore God purposed to redeem mankind Himself. Only God can redeem his people:

No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him – that he should live on forever and not see decay . . . But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. (Psalm 49:7-9,15)

If we could redeem ourselves God would not have promised to send a Redeemer. This is the theme of the Bible from beginning to end. The Bible is the story of how much God loves us and how he redeems us and reconciles us to himself so that we may dwell in his presence forever.

  • God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled

God was faithful in fulfilling his promise to Abraham. The promised Redeemer came at the appointed time announcing the good news (Injeel) that the Kingdom of God had come and that God was reconciling mankind to himself through him. Jesus is the descendant (seed) of Abraham who brings blessing to people of every nation.

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4)

He is able to pay the price of our redemption because he is the sinless Son of God who took humanity upon himself in order to bear the penalty of our sin.

  • The Son of God

Muslims and Jews often misunderstand what Christians mean by “Son of God”. It was prophesied that the Messiah would be of the seed of Abraham, that he would be born in Bethlehem, but that his existence is from eternity. That is why Jesus was born of a virgin. Miryam carried him in her womb and gave birth to his flesh, but he existed with God before the beginning of creation.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from ever-lasting.” (Micah 5:2)

The psalms and proverbs also speak of the eternal existence of the Son:

Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know? (Proverbs 30:4)

I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’ (Psalms 2:7)

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalms 2:12)

The gospel confirms not only his eternal existence, but his oneness with God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1;1-5,14)

This is why Jesus is able to redeem us. He came into the world, lived a sinless life and died as a sacrifice for our sins, taking the penalty that was due to us to redeem us to God. God raised him from the dead, giving him the victory over death so that all who trust in his sacrifice for sin will receive eternal life.

This is the good news of redemption for all mankind:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16)

Thus God fulfilled his promise to Abraham – that all nations would be blessed through his seed, the Messiah, Saviour and Redeemer of the world. His salvation is for everyone who calls on His Name.

“Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12)

The Bible tells the story of Hagar when she fled from her mistress because she was being ill treated. The LORD appeared to her and told her to return to her mistress with the assurance that He would bless her descendants. After that she called the LORD “the God who sees me.” This is the wonderful assurance that we have. God sees everything and knows our distress and he has indeed blessed all the children of Abraham through his seed, the Messiah.

Abraham is the father of all who believe. Abraham trusted God to fulfil all his promises to him, promises that extended beyond his natural life because they were bound up with the promise of the Redeemer. Ultimately Abraham will receive his eternal inheritance in the Paradise of God, and all who trust in the Redeemer, as our father Abraham did, will share in that eternal inheritance which God has prepared for those who believe.

Consider Abraham’s faith and obedience. Call on the God of Abraham to redeem you through his Messiah who has paid the price of your redemption and you will be assured of an eternal inheritance in the Paradise of God with Abraham and all who believe.

Peace / Salaam / Shalom