What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:1-3)
Abraham In The New Testament
Abram was seventy-five years old when God called him to go into a land of promise, which he would receive as an inheritance. Twenty-four years after the Lord called him, Abram’s name was changed to what he would be known by as Abraham. No single character is the central theme of the Old Testament than Abraham. God made three promises to Abraham. He promised to make of him a great nation, to give him land for his descendants, and through his blood, all nations of the earth would be blessed. The final promise is the Seed promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Abraham is also a central character of the New Testament. Eleven books include him in their story. The four gospels often record Abraham’s story, with Jesus mentioning the patriarch many times. Luke, Paul, James, and Peter refer to Abraham in their writings. Each story has a backdrop showing Abraham’s faith as a lesson for the Christian. The New Testament writers relied heavily on the story of Abraham to show the character of the child of God. Stephen uses Abraham in his defense before the Jews. Paul preached about Abraham throughout his journeys. Abraham was the foundation of Paul’s argument in Romans of justification. In the Galatians, Paul shows the promises of Abraham fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Writing to Hebrews, the author of the book reminds the Jewish Christian of the spiritual heritage of Abraham and his faith. James and Peter mention Abraham to the New Testament Christians as an example to follow.
A great storehouse of character building is found in the stories of the Old Testament. Abraham’s life is idyllic to understand the character of the New Testament Christian. He lived many thousands of years ago, but his faith shines through the vale of time as one who trusted in God for everything. Why would a seventy-five-year-old man leave his family at the urging of a voice? Where did faith come from to believe a man of one hundred years could produce a son with a woman ten years his junior? When God told Abraham to kill his only begotten son, Abraham did not waver. He immediately obeyed God’s voice to do something against everything he believed and what he believed to be an abomination to the One who demanded it. Faith moved Abraham to trust in the word of the Lord.
Paul argued in his letters about a problem that has plagued God’s people for generations. Men often equate salvation to works and believe they can do enough works to justify themselves before a righteous God. Abraham proves that being justified by the Law of Moses fails. He was justified apart from the law. Faith reigned in the heart of Abraham as he obeyed the word of the Lord. James would use the same example of Abraham to prove that a man is not saved by faith alone. God told Abraham to kill his son, and Abraham’s faith did not prove himself before God. He rose early the following morning and traveled three days to Moriah, where he took Isaac and offered him as a burnt offering before God. He believed and knew God would raise his slain son from the dead. Abraham was not allowed to kill Isaac as the angel of the Lord stayed his hand. Faith alone did not save Abraham, and God’s grace alone could not save him. Abraham was justified by faith and works.
It is impossible to be saved by faith alone. The grace of God alone cannot save a man. Abraham’s story shows the power of faith, the need for grace, and the works of his faith that justified him before God. No man can be saved unlike Abraham. If you want to know what to do to be saved, read the story of Abraham (Genesis 11-25). It will help you learn how to become a Christian and serve the Lord as a disciple of Christ.