If having faith in God means that we believe in him—and trust him—and embrace what he has revealed about himself in his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, how can we know if our faith in him is real? This morning’s passages provides an answer to this question.

But before I turn to it, I once again want to address briefly the portion of Scripture I’m jumping over. At the end of Genesis 21, we have an account of King Abimelek—whom we previously met in chapter 20[1]—and Phicol, the commander of Abimelek’s forces. Abimelek had observed that God was with Abraham in everything he did. Consequently, he asked him to swear that he wouldn’t deal falsely with him or his descendants. Abraham did so.[2] Subsequently, some of Abimelek’s servants seized one of Abraham’s wells and he complained to Abimelek. Therefore, the two men ended up making a treaty[3] at a place called Beersheba.[4] Once the treaty was made, both Abimelek and Phicol returned to the land of the Philistines.[5] Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree and “called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.”[6] The closing verse notes that “Abraham stayed in the land of the Philistines for a long time.”[7]

In turning to our morning’s text recall that last week, when Sarah saw Hagar’s son by Abraham, Ishmael, mocking her own son, Isaac when he was probably around two or three years old, she had Abraham send away both Hagar and Ishmael. In doing this she had made certain that Ishmael would never receive an inheritance from his father. Once God reassured an understandably distressed Abraham concerning his eldest son, Ishmael, he did as Sarah requested. Now in casting off both Hagar and Ishmael, Abraham had in effect cut all ties with his firstborn so that Ishmael would no longer be considered his son. Therefore, the only son now left him was Isaac, the son whom the LORD had promised when he was 75 years old and delivered when he was 100.

As chapter 22 opens, we don’t know how hold Isaac is. We’re only told that these events occurred, “Some time later….” But Isaac was probably a teenager, perhaps around the same age Ishmael had been, 16 or so, when he and his mother, Hagar, had been sent away. But the important part of verse 1 isn’t the “some time later” but “God tested Abraham.” For everything that follows describes the terrifying nature of this test which, according to one definition of “test,” “would reveal the strengths or capabilities of [Abraham] by putting [him] under strain.”

Continuing on in verse 1, the test begins as God “said to him, ‘Abraham!’” And Abraham replied, “Here I am,” an expression of willing submissiveness. “Then God said,” verse 2, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”[8] How very strange and alarming these words must have sounded to Abraham. For at the age of 115 or so, he had now walked with the LORD for some 40 years of his life—since the age of 75 when God had first revealed himself to him. And throughout this time Abraham had sought to obey all that the LORD had asked him to do.

Now there are two interesting events in Abraham’s life that are echoed here. First, when the LORD initially called Abram[9] to leave Ur of the Chaldeans, part of what he said to him was “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”[10] And part of what he now told Abraham in verse 2 was to perform this sacrifice “on a mountain I will show you.” Second, and as already noted, last week we saw Abraham send away his first-born son, Ishmael. But now he was being asked to sacrifice his only remaining son, Isaac. Though the request to send Ishmael away would have been difficult, this particular request must have taken Abraham’s breath away. Could it be that God was really asking him to sacrifice his only remaining son, a son whom he loved, a son whom God had promised him, as a burnt offering on a mountain that the LORD would show him???

Though we’re not told what Abraham was thinking, we are told his actions in verses 3–4: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.” In other words, Abraham yet again obeyed God. He got up and prepared a donkey with the needed provisions, including “enough wood for the burnt offering” that he had cut. In addition to Isaac, he brought along two of his servants. And then they all set off “for the place God had told him about.” On the third day, having spotted the appointed place in the distance, we’re provided a glimpse of what Abraham was thinking, verse 5: “He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’” Did you catch that? Abraham told his servants that “we”—not “I”—will come back to you. Despite knowing that God had asked him to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering, Abraham reassured his servants that once he and Isaac were done worshiping, they would both return to them.

Abraham’s distressing obedience presses on, verse 6, as he “…took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father?’ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’” Isaac realized something was amiss. He was old enough to have experienced times of worship and sacrifices of burnt offerings. He was old enough to notice that though his father had made sure to bring along a source of fire, a knife, and wood, the key part of the offering—the lamb—was missing. Had his 115 year-old-or-so father forgotten? No. Of course, he hadn’t. As we’re told in verse 8, “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.”

For the second time we’re provided a clue as to what was going on in Abraham’s mind. As he had previously reassured his servants that both he and Isaac would return once they had worshiped, so now he reassured his son that God himself would “provide the lamb for the burnt offering.” Despite the unthinkable task God asked him to do, Abraham’s faith in him held firm. Concerning this incident, the author of the book of Hebrews later observed, “17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”[11] Abraham had lived long enough to know, as we’ve noted before, that God is not only a promise Maker but, more importantly, he is also a promise Keeper. Since God had promised Abraham that it was through Isaac that all the nations of the world would one day be blessed, Abraham knew that this would be so. Therefore, even if Abraham sacrificed Isaac, he knew God would bring his son back from death. Thus was Abraham able to reassure his servants that the two of them would return to them; thus was he able to reassure his son that God himself would provide a lamb for the burnt offering.

His faith in God was so firm that, verse 9, “When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” We dare not imagine the conflicting thoughts and emotions Abraham must have been contending with:

On the one hand, he knew that Isaac’s birth had been God’s idea, not his. Isaac was the child promised by God through whom all nations would one day be blessed. And in initially fulfilling this promise God had once before brought life from death for he had made possible Isaac’s life by way of Abraham and Sarah’s good-as-dead aged and barren bodies;[12]

On the other hand, God had now told Abraham to sacrifice his only and beloved Son on this mountain. How could God ask such a thing if Isaac, indeed, was the child of promise? Perhaps God would bring life from death a second time.

Whatever may have been going through Abraham’s mind, it’s clear that he would obey God. As early on in his walk of faith he had believed God and that belief had been reckoned as righteousness, so now the authenticity of Abraham’s belief was on full display as by way of God’s test he prepared to sacrifice his son.

It’s at this critical juncture that God intervened. When Abraham “reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son,” we’re told beginning with verse 11, “the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’” As we’ve noted before, this is an instance of a repetition of endearment.[13] Stating a name twice indicates intimate knowledge between the speaker and the one who is being addressed. Abraham was indeed a friend of God.[14] What is more, as one commentator further notes, “The repetition of the name…underscores the urgency of the intervention.”[15] By no means was Abraham to follow through. God had stayed his hand. And Abraham yet again replied with willing submissiveness, “Here I am.” Next the angel of the LORD said to him, “Do not lay a hand on the boy… Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” The testing of Abraham’s faith was now complete and he had passed with flying colors.

Next the passage goes on to note how God did indeed provide a sheep for the burnt offering—or a ram, as it turned out—just as Abraham had told Isaac he would. For, verse 13, “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” Is it any wonder, verse 14, that “Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided’”?

But the account doesn’t end there for starting with verse 15 we’re told,

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

God swore by the highest authority that exists—himself.[16] He again confirmed the promise he had initially made to Abraham that had resulted in Abraham’s belief in God being reckoned as righteousness.[17] Knowing Abraham’s heart, the LORD knew that when this day of testing arrived, Abraham wouldn’t let him down. Abraham would obey God at any price. The passage closes with Abraham and Isaac both returning to his servants—just as Abraham had said they would.[18]

With this we’ve come full circle since the LORD first appeared to Abraham and made him this promise, haven’t we? For in our studies in Genesis, we’ve seen at least three occasions—in Genesis 12,[19] 13,[20] and 15[21]—when the LORD promised to make of him a great nation prior to Abraham ever having done anything to merit such a pledge. But I want to revisit God’s appearance to him in chapter 15 for after telling him that the promised heir would come by way of his own flesh, not that of his servant Eliezer, the LORD took Abraham, “outside and said, ‘Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” And this is when Scripture says of him, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”[22] Abraham believed the LORD. Abraham trusted the LORD. Abraham knew that the LORD would do just as he said. And, again, that belief was “credited…to him as righteousness.” It was reckoned to him as righteousness. It was regarded by the LORD as righteousness even though Abraham at that point had done nothing but believe. So we have to ask, “Why was Abraham’s faith alone—his faith in God alone—sufficient to be regarded as righteousness by him even prior to Abraham doing anything?” Again, it’s because God knew Abraham’s heart. He knew that Abraham’s faith was genuine. He knew that Abraham’s faith was real. He knew that Abraham had a faith that worked. He knew that when tested, Abraham would faithfully obey. Even if he was asked to sacrifice his one and only son, Abraham would follow through reasoning “that God could even raise the dead.”[23]

This is the matter that James takes up in the second chapter of his letter. James isn’t asking whether faith matters more than works or whether works matter more than faith. What he is addressing is the importance for believers in God to have a faith that works, i.e., a faith that is consistent with and displayed by our deeds. Anything other than this is hypocrisy. James sets up the parameters of his argument in verse 14: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” In other words, one cannot simply state with their lips that they believe in God for this isn’t faith as defined in Scripture. To simply say we believe in God but not live according to the Scriptures he has disclosed isn’t biblical faith. No, biblical faith in God is made evident by how we live our lives; by following biblical teaching.

As James goes on to state beginning with verse 15, “15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” We take James’ point, don’t we? Nice words are, well, just words. If we have the means of helping out a brother or sister in need but instead simply wish them well, our words—no matter how nice—have done nothing to help them. To be genuine, nice words need to be accompanied by actual deeds. And so it is with faith. In order to be real or genuine, faith in God must be accompanied by deeds done in his name, by his power, for his sake, and for his glory.

James anticipates a rather weak objection to this in verse 18, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’” Yet James rightly notes that the Christian life isn’t a matter of faith or deeds but rather both are required. Therefore, he responds, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” In other words, faith without deeds isn’t biblical faith but biblical faith in God can be demonstrated by living according to what he has disclosed to us in his Word. James brings this point home in verse 19, “You believe that there is one God.[24] Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” The demons not only know God exists; they not only believe God exists; but this belief in God causes them to shudder for they know that their fate has been sealed due to their disobedience; due to the fact that they follow Satan, that ancient serpent;[25] due to their refusal to do as God commands.

If the example of demons weren’t enough, James next appeals to Father Abraham. Starting in verse 20 he tells the “foolish person,” that is the morally bankrupt person who believes that faith without deeds is possible,

do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[26] and he was called God’s friend.[27] 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

What we see James arguing here is that Genesis 15—Abraham’s belief being reckoned as righteousness by the LORD—was later confirmed by his offering up of his son, Isaac. Whereas God knew the genuineness of Abraham’s faith prior to his doing any works because he knew his heart, we know the genuineness of Abraham’s faith in seeing his obedience for, unlike God, we can’t know his heart.

But we can see how Abraham’s later obedience completed his faith. His later obedience demonstrated what God always knew, namely, that Abraham’s faith in him had been genuine from the start.

Faith isn’t simply a matter of what we say; it’s about what is in our hearts to begin with. As Paul similarly teaches, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”[28] God knew Abraham’s heart. God knows our hearts. And if we genuinely believe in our hearts that God raised Christ from the dead, we will be saved. Again, if Abraham’s belief had been comprised merely of his saying so but had not been an expression of what was in his heart—if his faith had merely been words or lip service—he never would have left Ur in the first place, much less offered up his son when God called him to do so. Such faith would have been useless. For true faith will always result in our doing the deeds God calls us to do. Faith that works will always trust in God’s goodness. Faith that works will always seek to obey what God has stated in his Word.

Now James isn’t arguing for salvation by works for works without faith is no more salvation than faith without works. Works without faith assumes we can earn our way to heaven by our own efforts and this simply isn’t so. As one commentator notes, James is saying “…that people are justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.”[29] True faith in God and his goodness always leads to good deeds in obedience to him. As John teaches, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”[30] Again we see that obedience to God evidences what is in our hearts and what we say we believe. Obedience completes our speech. It expresses our heart. This is nothing other than what Jesus also taught. “23 …Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”[31] Genuine love is born out, is completed, by our deeds. If we love Jesus, we’ll do what he teaches as recorded in Scripture. Later in his letter John again underscores what our Savior and Lord taught: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”[32] Faith in God who is love, leads to obedience to him out of our love for him. It results in love for others.[33] Again, although God knows our hearts and therefore knows the genuineness of our faith in him, we can only know the genuineness of someone’s faith by their works. As Jesus said when he warned his disciples about false prophets, “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”[34]

Dear sisters and brothers, do you want to know if your faith in God is real? Faith in God is real if we seek to do what he commands, knowing that everything that he commands—whether or not we agree with or understand it—is always for our good because our heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who commands it is good. Faith in God is real if it’s a faith that works, a faith that obeys, a faith that seeks to do as he commands. Consider the example of some of the Old Testament saints we’ve studied:

Noah believed God—and he built an ark while living in the desert;

Lot believed God—and he left his home in Sodom;

Sarah believed God—and she bore a son, Isaac, who brought her laughter in the 90th year of her life;

Abraham believed God—and he left Ur of the Chaldeans to a land God would show him—and sent away Ishmael his firstborn—and was prepared to sacrifice Isaac as an offering to God.

Let us, too, have a faith that works—a faith that in word and deed points others to the God who Provides; to God Almighty who made us and everything that exists; to God who desires to redeem us by his own Son’s sacrifice in taking upon himself the sins of all who are dead in sin and in exchange bestows his righteousness and eternal life by his Holy Spirit upon all who believe in him.

For unlike Abraham who was willing to offer up his only and beloved son, our heavenly Father actually did sacrifice his only and beloved Son;

And as God provided a ram as a substitute for Isaac’s life, so he provides his Son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for us. As John the Baptist declared concerning him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”[35]

And whereas on the third day Abraham set out to sacrifice Isaac, on the third day our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, having sacrificed his innocent life for the guilty lives of all who believe and receive him, rose from the dead. For this is why God in Christ came. He came to take away the sins of the world by placing those sins upon himself in our place. As Mark teaches, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”[36] So, too, Paul teaches that “ God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”[37]

So let us, like Abraham, demonstrate that our faith in God is faith that works and “…not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but [be] strengthened in [our] faith and [give] glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God [has] power to do what he [has] promised.”[38]

Let us ever remember that our faith works not because of us but because it’s a faith placed in a living Savior; in a Savior who conquered sin for us—and conquered death for us—and conquered Satan and all evil for us—and rose from the dead for us—and “was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”[39] So let us believe in our hearts; so let proclaim with our mouths; so let us live with our lives.

Let us pray.

[1] Abraham had asked Sarah to lie to King Abimelek, saying she was his sister rather than his wife. The LORD protected the king from Abraham and Sarah’s deception. See Genesis 20:1–8: 1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

[2] Genesis 21:22–24: 22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.” 24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”

[3] Genesis 21:25–27: 25 Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. 26 But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”

27 So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty.

[4] Beersheba can mean well of seven and well of oath. Perhaps both senses are intended here. Genesis 21:28–31: 28 Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock, 29 and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?” 30 He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.” 31 So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there.

[5] Genesis 21:32: After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines.

[6] Genesis 21:33: Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.

[7] Genesis 21:34. A possible anachronism or editorial note since the Philistines did not yet exist.

[8] As noted by Carol Kaminski in Casket Empty, “Mount Moriah is indeed the future site of the temple (2 Chron. 3:1). It is the very place where thousands of offerings will be made for sin. But one day God will provide his only beloved Son as a sin offering ‘once for all’ for the sins of the world (Heb. 10:10)” (50). 2 Chronicles 3:1: Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David.; Hebrews 10:10: And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

[9] His name before the LORD changed it. See Genesis 17:5: No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

[10] Emphasis added. See Genesis 12:1–3: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

[11] Hebrews 11:17–19. The quotation is from Genesis 21:12: But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspringwill be reckoned.

[12] See verse 12 (emphasis added) of Hebrews 11:8–12: By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

[13] So far as I know this phrase, “repetition of endearment,” was coined by Douglas Stuart, Linebrook Church’s former pastor and Old Testament scholar.

[14] See 2 Chronicles 20:7 (King Jehoshaphat is speaking) “Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”

[15] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 22:11. Emphasis added. The Zondervan NIV Study Bible concurs.

[16] See Hebrews 6:13–15: 13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[Genesis 22:17] 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

[17] Genesis 15:6.

[18] Genesis 22:19: Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

[19] See sermon preached on June 14, 2020 on Genesis 12:1–9, God’s Blessing through Abraham. The opening of Genesis 12 presents two appearances of the LORD to Abram which I’m counting as one. See vv. 1–3, 7: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.2 I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you….” 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your seed I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

[20] See sermon preached on June 28, 2020 on Genesis 13:5–18, Valuing Others above Ourselves. Genesis 13:14–17: 14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[Or seed; also in verse 16] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

[21] See sermon preached on July 5, 2020, on Genesis 15:1–6, Believe God—Be Credited his Righteousness.

[22] Genesis 15:6.

[23] Hebrews 11:19.

[24] In other words, the shema from Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

[25] Revelation 12:9: The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.; Revelation 20:2: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

[26] Genesis 15:6.

[27] See 2 Chronicles 20:7 (King Jehoshaphat is speaking) “Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”

[28] Romans 10:9–10.

[29] Zondervan NIV Bible Study note on James 2:14–26. Emphasis added.

[30] 1 John 2:3–6. Emphasis added.

[31] John 14:23–24.

[32] 1 John 3:14.

[33] To love God and love others is our call as followers of Christ. Matthew 22:34–40:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:5: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” and Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

[34] Matthew 7:17–20.

[35] John 1:29. See also John 1:36: When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Emphasis added.

[36] Mark 10:45.

[37] 2 Corinthians 5:21.

[38] Romans 4:20–21.

[39] Romans 4:25.