Sunday, January 19, 2014

"THE Covenant ... "

Day #23:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 20th

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 12 - 15 ...

Genesis 12 - 15 forms the foundation for God's plan of salvation throughout the rest of the Bible ... throughout the rest of history, until the return of Jesus Christ.  Without these chapters the rest of the book of Genesis, the remainder of the Old Testament and the entire New Testament would be impossible to understand and to tie together.  Without these chapters and God's promises to Abraham, the wisdom and glory of a sovereign God who orders all things according to His plan cannot be seen in all their beauty.

The New Testament begins this way:  "A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Son of David, the son of Abraham ..." (Matthew 1:1).  And the Apostle Paul explains the relationship of believers to God in his letter to the Galatians by saying, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Galatians 3:29).  What promise?  The promises of God's Covenant of Grace.  In verse 16 of Galatians 3, Paul explains that the promises were spoken to Abraham and the inheritance of the land, the promise that God would be a God to him and to his descendants, the promise that his descendants would be as the stars of the sky and the sand of the seashore, and the promise that all nations would be blessed through him ... ALL of the promises would come through the "SEED" of Abraham - JESUS!

God chose Abram (father of a nation) ... Abram did not choose God.  God would later change his name to Abraham, (father of nations).  Clearly, God was with Abraham through the twists and turns of life in this world.  But the key to the covenant God made with Abram  is found in Genesis 15, verse 6.  God had promised Abram many descendants, but Abram was getting old and still had no son, no heir.  God told him to look at the stars of the sky and said, "Count the stars - if indeed you can count them ... So shall your offspring be" (15:5).  Then THE verse ... the verse that lies at the center of the Gospel ... that leads to the coming of the Savior and the gathering of people from every nation into the Church, the body of Christ:  "Abram believed the LORD, and He (the LORD) credited to him (Abram) as righteousness" (Verse 6).

"Credited to him as righteousness!"  Abram wasn't righteous.  YOU aren't righteous.  I'm not righteous, but God's promise to Abram ... to Abraham and all who believe in the promised SEED of Abraham - JESUS - is that God "credits" righteousness to them by faith in Jesus.  Paul explains in Romans 4:16 that "the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  As it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations'" (Romans 4:16-17).

By faith in Jesus believers are righteous before God and heirs of eternal life!  Understanding the Bible begins here.  Understanding God's plan in our world today revolves around God's fulfillment to the promises He made to Abraham, then to Isaac and to Jacob ... and in Jesus, to us!  Rejoice in the LORD and live daily to serve Him, knowing that by faith YOU are a member of THE Covenant!!

"Heavenly Father, Your wisdom and power are seen throughout all creation.  In Your covenant with Abraham You have revealed Your plan to gather a people to belong to You and to proclaim Your name to all the earth.  May we be found carrying out Your purpose as we proclaim the name of Jesus to all, rejoicing in being children of Abraham!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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