To Save the World

Genesis 12:1-4a

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17

John 3:1-17

Psalm 121

 

The call of Abram is a more stunning event than we credit it to be. At the opening of chapter 12, all we know is that Abram is the son of Terah, is married to Sarai, and is the uncle of Lot. The last fact given in chapter 11 is that Terah died in Harran.

Harran. Not Ur.

Genesis 11:31: Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled thereNIV

That is the full extent of what the Bible tells us about Terah traveling to Canaan. However, the oral teachings of Judaism give us an extensive history of Abram’s early life. The key points are that Terah made a good living fashioning gods to sell while Abram spent 13 years in a cave fashioning an understanding of the universe. When he stepped from the cave, Abram began to preach the idea that there is only one God. The people of Ur finally drove Terah out of the city.

With the death of Terah, chapter 12 begins with the call of God to Abram to move from Harran to Canaan, including the promise that he would father a great nation.

Paul gives us the key to understanding why all this history of Abram, who becomes Abraham, is important. Verse 16a: The whole thing, then, is a matter of faith on man’s part and generosity on God’sPhillips Salvation depends on one thing only: Faith.

That is what Jesus promised in his longer discussion with Nicodemus.  Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdomMSG Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdomMSG

We are all born into this world—this earth in the midst of a vast universe. At the same time, we are born citizens in a different world, the perfect one of God. We are all aliens on earth. Jesus tells us that we can move on to the perfect world or we can stay here and die with the imperfect world.

Moving on requires faith that God loves us enough to let his Son do what we cannot do, even those we call saints. Only God can defeat evil and death.

If you find it too much to accept that a human could be perfect—could be God—and still be completely human, join the crowd. That’s one reason we call it faith. Also, your faith does not need to be great. With faith, size does not matter.

Finally: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through himNIV You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through himPhillips John 3:17

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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