We have officially reached the halfway point of our time in Romans. This week, we are taking a break from our “10 Sentences To Change Your Life” series for a standalone message on Genesis 15 where we see a significant encounter between God and Abraham.
Pastor Joe will help us fix our gaze on three main points: the doubts, the covenant, and the anchor.
While the modern world works primarily through contracts and handshakes, God often spoke to people in ancient times through covenants. As Pastor Joe puts it, “They didn’t sign contracts. They acted them out.”
The covenant God would make with Abraham was remarkable in many ways. Firstly, the Lord audibly spoke to Abraham and reassured him that he had nothing to fear and much to gain.
Abraham is known in the Bible for his faith credited to him as righteousness. He is in the “faith hall of fame” in Hebrews and is cited often for his belief. Yet, in this moment, we can find ourselves relating to his response to God.
As God drew near with promises of descendants as numerous as the stars, Abraham’s first response was doubt. Even a man in the hall of faith can falter in his belief and sink into doubt sometimes!
In that doubt, we get to learn some great things. If someone like Abraham doubted, we could doubt too. But, we see two incredible truths about God at this moment. First, God doesn’t condemn Abraham for his doubt. He responds compassionately and gently. Second, he doesn’t leave Abraham in his doubt. This is such a beautiful assurance for us as we live in community with other believers. We will all cycle through seasons of doubt and faith, but we can support one another through it all and lovingly point one another back to Christ.
Then, we can observe the covenants. In a ritual that may seem foreign and strange to us, God has Abraham cut the chosen animals in half and God walks through them himself. This symbolized that he was promising to do his part and keep his promises. He didn’t expect Abram to walk through. Every other religion makes you hold up your end of the bargain or perform to be deserving. But God didn’t expect that of Abraham, and he doesn’t expect that of you.
While Abraham’s mind was buzzing with questions like: “How do I know you’ll do your part, God?” and “What if I can’t do my part?” God was saying: “I will do your part through Jesus.”
Jesus serves as the anchor our souls desperately need. God showed us that he would do his part, and he would also do our part through Jesus. There is no other anchor we can put our hope in, no other anchor that stays consistent with time and never changes.
And when we doubt, and our faith starts to feel unsteady, we can remember the covenant God made with Abraham and the better covenant God made through Christ that would redeem us all. Our part has been covered. We never need to fear. Our doubts can remind us to look to Jesus, who signed our contract for us and paid our ransom, who took away the penalty of sin and gave us his gift of grace in its place