Counted As Righteousness

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Counted As Righteousness

Counted As Righteousness

Genesis 15:1  After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6  And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Throughout the Bible we learn that God is never late and He is never in a hurry. He knows the beginning from the end and He works out His plan with absolute precision. Throughout the history of mankind, every person has always had all the information needed to believe in God and to choose to follow Him.
Abram was first introduced to us in Genesis 11. He grew up in an idol worshipping country. There must have been something different about him. As we have already noted, he was exposed to the truth somewhere and he chose to believe in the true God. God called him to leave his homeland and his family. He needed to separate from the paganism that was all around him in order to better understand and follow the Lord.
Abram was slow in obeying God. He left Ur of the Chaldees, but he chose to take some of his family with him. He needed to take his wife, but not his father nor his nephew. His father died on the way and he needed to separate from Lot in order to be able to receive the blessing of the Lord as He intended it to be.
In the beginning of chapter 12, God promised to make a great nation out of Abram. He promised to bless him and those who would bless him. He also promised to curse those who would curse Abram. In our text, Abram is getting older, but he still has no son.
In verse 1 God reminded Abram that he did not need to fear. He needed to trust God. God was his shield, and He was also his exceeding great reward.
Abram needed to be reminded of this since he had already told Sarai, his wife, to lie for him once. He feared man more than God at this point in his life. God knew the heart of Abram. He did not condone the lying. He did not bless the lying. He would deal with the lying. God knows the heart of each person. We can assume we know our hearts, but we really don’t.

Jeremiah 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
10  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

We need to listen to God as He shows us what is going on in our heart. The lost need to listen to God and agree that they are lost and need a Saviour. The saved need to listen to God and follow Him as His child. The question is whether we will listen to what He is saying.
Abram needed to understand that the LORD was not just a shield for him, but he was also his exceeding great reward. God was there to protect Abram from the enemies of God. God was also there to protect Abram from his own doubts and fears. Abram would be blessed in trusting in the LORD. What a great promise God made to Abram that day. He had promised to be with him when He first called him to leave Ur. God never fails in His promises. God is just and righteous and fully capable of doing what He says He will do.
In verse 2 Abram wanted to know about his lineage. He had no son. God had promised him a son, but he had no son. He was getting older and he had no son. Sarai was getting older and would not be able to conceive and bear a child. Should Abram be content to give the promise of God to his servant? A faithful servant of God is a great blessing. Abram’s servant was a great blessing to him. However, God was not going to give His promised blessing to Eliezer. Abram was going to have a son.
In verse 4 the LORD reassured him of this fact. In verse 5 God took Abram outside and told him to look up into heaven. Abram saw more stars than we see today. There was not the artificial lights that interfered with the glory of the stars. Abram could not possibly number all the stars. The heaven is far too vast for that to happen. God told Abram that his seed would be like the stars of heaven. God was not lying. God never lies. God does not make empty promises. He knew what He was talking about.
Verse 6 is a very encouraging verse. It is not more important than any other verse. It is a verse that shows us the blessing of believing God. There are many verses that show us this same blessing. We see in this verse that righteousness is not inherent in man. It is a gift from God. It is dependent upon true faith in God.

Romans 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Righteousness is not earned through law keeping. No one could ever be righteous on that basis. No one is capable of keeping God’s law perfectly. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God proved that He is capable of keeping the law perfectly and that is why we can be declared righteous when we put our trust in Him.
We know from the book of Hebrews that Abram had some understanding of the Messiah. We are not told to what extent he knew this, but it was enough for him to be able to trust in God not just to make him a great nation, but also to provide that promised son. Abram was told by God that not just anyone could take ownership of the promises that God had made to him. God had a specific son in mind and Abram needed to trust God to provide that son in His time. Abram could rest assured that son would come at just the right moment.
Today, we can be assured that Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfilment of that promise. We know that:

Galatians 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

God did not delay Christ’s coming. Those who like Abram, believed God’s promise, were blessed in trusting in God just as much as we who have evidence of Christ’s coming, are blessed. For all true saints, it is faith in God that declares us righteous, not our works. Those who are saved will produce good works because Ephesians 2:10 declares this to be the fact.
Abram would go on to prove that he trusted in God. He did not do so perfectly. He suffered the consequences of this failure. However, the promise was sure. The same is true for true saints today. We are saved by God’s grace through faith. No true Christian can declare that they always do what is right. However, if the person is truly saved, they have been given the gift of “eternal life”. It cannot be removed. It cannot be lost. It is eternal. There is a judgment for the saints, but eternal life is assured by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of this is a fulfilment of God’s promise to Abram in Genesis 15:1. The LORD is his “exceeding great reward”. There is no comparison to the reward that Jehovah God provides for His child. It is a great blessing. Today, we can rejoice in the blessing of knowing the true God. For those who are not saved, you have thus far missed out on the greatest blessing ever known to man. You can change that today! You can turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation today! Don’t delay!
Pastor Bartel

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