Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.
I cannot imagine any truly unconditional human relationship. Even the most committed partnerships have an unspoken “I will love you if…” Yet, God loves and saves us unconditionally. A bizarre scene from Abraham’s life illustrates our Lord’s gracious acceptance of us.
Abraham is the father of faith, but how did he express that faith? He held on to the promises of God. God made three specific promises: 1) Abraham would have many descendants, 2) Abraham’s descendants would occupy the Promised Land, 3) God would bless everyone through one of these descendants.
Abraham believed these promises and acted on them.
In the days of Abraham, a strange ceremony sealed solemn agreements. The two parties would come to terms and then cut a bull in half and walk back and forth several times between the halves. This gruesome march reminded them, in a visceral way, that if they broke the terms of the agreement, they would suffer the same fate as the chopped bovine.
In Genesis 15:9-21, God made such an agreement with Abraham concerning all his aforementioned promises, with one important twist. God alone passed between the animal parts in the form of a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch. This showed that the agreement was one-sided, unconditional, and fully dependent on God alone.
Like Abraham, we place our faith in the unconditional promises of God. Christ fulfilled the promise that all nations would be blessed through Abraham (Galatians 3:8). We trust the “seed of Abraham”, Jesus, to pay for our sins and justify us before a holy and righteous God. Our secure relationship with God depends fully on Christ, not on us and, thankfully, no longer involves messy cow parts.
“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.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith” (Galatians 3:8-9).
Lord God, thank you for offering me an unconditional covenant through your Son, Jesus. Thank you that I can come to you as I am knowing you are faithful to accomplish all your promises towards me. Thank you for the assurance that you will never leave me or forsake me, and that one day, I will be fully delivered from every trace of sin by your grace alone.
Throughout This Day: Take time to reflect on the fact that God has done absolutely everything needed to deliver you from evil and make you part of his forever family. Thank him that you have absolutely nothing to add to this covenant. You have only to receive it by faith and walk in it in God’s own strength.
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