Though Ron and I never had the privilege of becoming parents, I imagine that one of the most sobering aspects of parenthood is realizing that children will emulate much of their parents’ character as well as their habits, mannerisms, values, and speech—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Part of what we see in our morning’s passage is this very phenomenon being played out in the life of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Though Isaac was a child of divine promise, supernaturally born when Sarah was barren and Abraham was elderly, this doesn’t mean he was a perfect child for he, as is the case with all of us, was born with a fallen human nature. But as we’ll also see, even so God ended up using him, as he does us all.

Like father, like son. In our passage we find examples of how Isaac displayed the best and worst traits of his father, Abraham. This account in Genesis 26 whose focus is Isaac is reminiscent of two earlier accounts in Genesis whose focus was Abraham. Verse 1 provides this connection stating, “Now there was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar.” Back in Genesis 12, we were similarly told that because of a famine in the land, Abram went to live in Egypt.[1] Rather than go to Egypt, however, Isaac went to king Abimelek in Gerar which was located in the southern part of what is now Israel. In fact, starting with verse 2 we see that the LORD specifically told Isaac that he should not go to Egypt but should instead, “live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.[2] I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,….” Notice the many parallels and continuity between what the LORD told Abraham over the course of his life with what he was now telling Isaac, his son:

As the LORD had appeared to Abraham,[3] so now he appeared to Isaac;

as the LORD told Abraham to go to a land he would show him,[4] so now he told Isaac to stay in that land;

as the LORD promised to be with Abraham and bless him,[5] so now he promised Isaac;

as the LORD promised to one day give Abraham and his descendants the land,[6] so now he affirmed to Isaac;

as the LORD promised to make Abraham’s descendants more numerous than the stars in the sky,[7] so now he promised Isaac;

as the LORD told Abraham that by his offspring all nations would be blessed, [8] so now he said to Isaac.

As we’ve noted before,[9] God took the initiative in all of this. Therefore all of this was due to God’s grace, his unmerited favor, for he called Abraham and made these promises to him before Abraham had ever known or followed him. Yet the almighty, all-knowing LORD knew that Abraham would follow him. This exemplifies well what Paul later states in his letter to the Ephesians, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,…”[10] And then, again, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”[11] By way of his servant Abraham, chosen and predestined by God, God worked out everything “in conformity with the purpose of his will” as Abraham did the good works that “God prepared in advance” for him to do. And as stated in verse 5 of our passage, to Isaac were passed the very promises the LORD had made to Abraham, “because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.” Because of God’s goodness, the promises he had made to the father were now passed down to the son. And Isaac, like his father, obeyed. As we read in verse 6, at God’s bidding he didn’t go to Egypt during the famine as his father Abraham had done but instead “stayed in Gerar” as the LORD had told him. As the father had once obeyed God, so now did the son.

However, we see that one of Abraham’s bad traits was also passed along to his son for as Abraham had twice lied about Sarah, saying she was his sister rather than his wife,[12] so now did Isaac. As stated in verse 7, “When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, ‘She is my sister,’ because he was afraid to say, ‘She is my wife.’ He thought, ‘The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.’” In this we see that both father and son were more concerned for their own personal safety than about that of their wives.

Now as to Abimelek, given that we have no markers of time in the opening of this chapter, we can’t be certain about whether or not this was the same Abimelek that Abraham had dealt with,[13]  especially given that Abimelek was a common name. In all likelihood, this was probably son or grandson to the king that Abraham had had dealings with.[14] What is more, one commentator suggests that the events in verses 1–11 probably took place prior to the birth of the twins, Esau and Jacob, since these verses “highlight the fact that the birthright and blessing Jacob struggled to obtain from his father…involved the covenant inheritance of Abraham that Isaac had received.”[15] Given that the Scriptural account doesn’t always state events in chronological order—even as we saw last week[16]—this suggestion makes sense.

Whatever the case, beginning with verse 8 we’re told, “When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing[17] his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, ‘She is really your wife! Why did you say, “She is my sister”? Isaac answered him, ‘Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.’” Clearly, neither Abraham nor Isaac held the respective Abimeleks and their men in high regard. Yet both times, upon learning that the women whom they had been told were sisters were in fact wives, these kings acted nobly.[18] As stated in verses 10–11, “10 Then Abimelek said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.’ 11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: ‘Anyone who harms this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.’” Given that according to verse 8 “Isaac had been [in Gerar] a long time” before this took place, it’s evident that as God had protected Sarah from the consequences of the sister-lie, so had he protected Rebekah.

Next we see that an already wealthy Isaac—due to having inherited his father’s wealth[19]—became even more wealthy. As stated beginning with verse 12, “12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.” However, all of this wealth created a problem for the Philistines on whose land he was living didn’t appreciate Isaac’s wealth. As stated in verse 14, Isaac “had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.” The Philistines’ envy then turned to malice as they stopped up “all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham…filling them with earth,” verse 15. What is more, verse 16, “Then Abimelek said to Isaac, ‘Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us.’” This is the very thing that the Pharaoh of Egypt had done upon learning that Abraham had lied about Sarah being his sister rather than his wife.[20] Interesting to note here is that though neither Abraham nor Isaac ended up possessing the land that the LORD had promised their descendants, both men became extremely wealthy despite being foreigners and strangers who lived in tents within that promised land.

Now as stated in verse 17, Isaac obeyed Abimelek as he departed from the portion of Gerar where the king dwelled and “moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar, where he settled.” He then “reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them,” verse 18. But as had also occurred with his father, Isaac experienced conflict with the men of Gerar due to fighting over those wells[21]—keep in mind that all of this was taking place during a time of famine so water was at a premium. Without water, Isaac’s considerable livestock wouldn’t be able to drink. Thus we see the conflicts related in verses 19–23:

19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”

Isaac named the wells according to the situations that occasioned them: Esek means “dispute”; Sitnah means “opposition”; and Rehoboth means “room.”

Subsequently, we see the LORD again appearing to him. Starting with verse 23: “23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.’” There’s an interesting transition that starts to take place here in terms of how the LORD reveals himself. When the LORD called Abraham out of paganism to follow him, he disclosed himself in ways that Abraham could understand. If you’ll recall, in Genesis 15, he revealed himself in a manner similar to how he now revealed himself to Isaac, saying to Abraham, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”[22] Abraham was chosen by God to follow him as from him he made a nation for himself. God’s self-disclosures to Abraham tended to be either general—in addition to “shield” and “great reward” he referred to himself as “The LORD”[23] and “God Almighty”[24]or situation specific as when God appeared to Abraham and said, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”[25] But now, in disclosing himself to Isaac, God attached his self-disclosure to a specific person—his father, Abraham—demonstrating that God’s relationship with us is to be not only individual but also communal and generational: “I am the God of your father Abraham.” And again, as he did with Abram, God exhorted Isaac not to be afraid, assuring him for the second time in this chapter[26] that he would be with him and would increase the number of his descendants for the sake of his “servant Abraham.” Isaac, in turn, responded as his father Abraham often had done. As stated in verse 25, after the LORD disclosed himself to him, “Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.”[27] Like father, like son.

Next we see Abimelek, Phicol,[28] and Ahuzzath, Abimelek’s personal advisor, approaching Isaac—and this despite the fact that Abimelek had previously sent Isaac away. Therefore Isaac asked, verse 27, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?” Their response? Verses 28–29, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you; so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully.[29] And now you are blessed by the Lord.” If you’re yet again having a sense of déjà vu, it’s because a similar exchange took place between Abraham, Isaac’s father, and the Abimelek and Phicol of his day. As recorded at the end of Genesis 21:

That time as well, Abimelek and Phicol acknowledged God’s favor upon his servant;[30]

That time as well, they asked for a sworn agreement between them;[31]

That time as well, they asked for reciprocity as each promised not to harm the other;[32]

And as his father, Abraham, had done, so did Isaac in complying with said agreement. As stated in verses 30–31, “30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.”

Next, as earlier the text noted that “Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham,” verse 18, the passage ends with the reopening of the well where his father Abraham had made an oath with the first Abimelek.[33] Starting with verse 32 we read, “32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, ‘We’ve found water!’ 33 He called it Shibah, and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.”

Like father, like son. As we’ve seen, this passage in Genesis 26 records a number of instances that provide parallels in the ways that the LORD interacted with both Abraham and Isaac. Again,

As the LORD appeared to Abraham, telling him to go to a land he would show him, so did he appear to Isaac, telling him to remain in Gerar (verses 3, 6);

As the LORD appeared to Abraham, promising to bless him, so he did with Isaac (verse 3);

As the LORD appeared to Abraham, promising to give the land to his descendants, so he did with Isaac (verses 3, 24);

As the LORD appeared to Abraham, promising to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and giving them the land, so he did with Isaac (verse 4, 24);

As the LORD appeared to Abraham, promising that all the nations on earth would be blessed through him and his offspring, so he did with Isaac (verse 4).

So now we see again that the messianic baton had been passed.[34]

Like father, like son. As already noted, this passage also records a particular character flaw passed down from Abraham to Isaac—that of lying and trying to pass off their beautiful wives as their sisters due to a fear of being killed (verse 7).

Like father, like son. Positively we see both men building upon their wealth (verse 12); others recognizing that God was with them (verse 28); and both men thereby doing what they could to maintain good relations with those among whom they were living (verses 30–31).

Like father, like son. We see as well positive character traits passed down from Abraham to Isaac for Isaac, like his father, obeyed God by staying in the land of Gerar as instructed (verse 6). Also like his father, he built an altar to God after the LORD appeared to him (verse 25).

So what does all of this have to do with us? Well, as children often display character traits—both bad and good—of their earthly parents, so should all who are children of our heavenly Father through believing and receiving his Son, Jesus Christ,[35] and receiving the Holy Spirit he sends them,[36] display the traits of our only good Father in heaven. For it is by his Holy Spirit that all who are followers of Christ are being made into his image as our fallen image is replaced with his holy image. As Paul teaches in his second letter to the Corinthians, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”[37] By his Holy Spirit, our heavenly Father is transforming all who have believed in his Son into the very image of that Son. This is our sanctification, our being set apart to do God’s will as he makes us holy as he is; as he recreates in us his image which was marred by the Fall. This is his divine work in us.

But we evidence this divine work as we submit to and obey him. For Jesus taught that if we love him, we will keep his commands.[38] And in the portion of his Sermon on the Mount read earlier, he similarly exhorted his disciples to live as our heavenly Father taught. In expositing Leviticus 19:18, Jesus corrected incorrect teaching. Starting with verse 43 of Matthew 5 we read, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” Make no mistake. Nowhere in the Old Testament does it teach that we’re to hate our enemies. What the verse from Leviticus actually states is, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” In fact, the book of Exodus explicitly states, “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.”[39] This is teaching love, not hatred, for one’s enemy.

Jesus, who is God, then went on to express the actual intent of this Old Testament Scripture in verses 44–45: “44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Dear sisters and brothers, in the way that we live our lives, followers of Jesus are called to demonstrate that we are children of our heavenly Father. Prayer for others, even those we consider to be our enemies, is but one way we can express our love for them. And because God is love, whenever we love others, we demonstrate that we’re his children. As John says, “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”[40] This is the very thing Jesus taught: “34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”[41] As our heavenly Father is—and as Jesus his Son is—so should God’s children be.

For what we see next is that our heavenly Father is so loving that “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Both sun and rain being necessary for survival, one of the ways our heavenly Father expresses his love is by providing these essential goods not only to those who love and seek to please him but also to those who hate him and view him as their enemy. As Paul and Barnabas similarly taught, “Yet [God] has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”[42] Indeed, Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.”[43] As our heavenly Father is, so should his children be.

Jesus then applies this teaching to his followers in verses 46–47: “46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Loving those who love us is easy. It’s so easy that even those who were most looked down upon in Jesus’ day, the tax collectors, were capable of loving those who loved them. What is more, showing hospitality towards or “greeting” only those whom we consider to be “our people” is something that even those who don’t believe in God, the pagans, are able to do. But if we say we are children of our heavenly Father, adopted to be his children by believing and receiving his Son and thereby being sent his Holy Spirit, then our calling is much greater. Our calling, as stated in verse 48, is “Be perfect…as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

So then, dear sisters and brothers, let us be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect not by relying on our own strength but by turning to him, resting in him, trusting in him, following and obeying him. For our loving Father, Son, and Holy Spirit wants us to love him. He wants us to know his love for us. He wants to teach us how to love others as he loves us.

So let us love our enemies that they might desire to join our eternal family;

Let us pray for those who persecute us that they might desire to become children of God;

Let us do good not only to the righteous but also to the unrighteous that they might experience the kindness of God and so be led to repent and become his children;

Let us be hospitable to all people that their eyes might turn to Christ as the Savior and Lord;

Let us ever seek to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect that we might live out our chief end in life, to glorify our gracious Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as we enjoy him both now and forever.[44]

Let us pray.

 

 

[1] Genesis 12:12: Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

[2] See Genesis 22:15–18: 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.”

[3] See Genesis 12, 15, 17, 22.

[4] Genesis 12:1: 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.

[5] Genesis 12:2: 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.; Genesis 15:1: After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, [Or sovereign] your very great reward.[Or shield; / your reward will be very great]

[6] Genesis 15:7, 18–21: He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it….” 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[Or river] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

[7] Genesis 15:5: He took him 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[Or seed] be.”; Genesis 22:17a: I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.; See also Genesis 17:2–6: Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.

[8] Genesis 12:3: I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.; Genesis 22:18: and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.

[9] See sermon preached on June 14, 2020, God’s Blessing through Abraham on Genesis 12:1–9.

[10] Ephesians 1:11. Emphasis added.

[11] Ephesians 2:10. Emphasis added.

[12] See sermon preached on June 21, 2020, Trusting God’s Provident Protection, on Genesis 12:10–13.

[13] This account with Abraham and Abimelek may be found in Genesis 20.

[14] As stated in a note on Genesis 26:1–2, the Crossway ESV Study Bible states, “…more likely…that he is the son or grandson of the Abimelech [sic] known to Abraham.” The Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 26:1 agrees with this assessment.

[15] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 26:1–33.

[16] In Genesis 25 the passage jumps from the death of Abraham, to the death of Ishmael, to the birth of Isaac’s sons. Despite the chapter opening with Abraham’s death, he lived to see the first fifteen years of his grandsons’ lives.

[17] The Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 26:8 observes, “In this context the Hebrew verb ‘to laugh’ implies laughing as they caress affectionately. The narrator deliberately chooses this verb to create a play on the name ‘Isaac,’ which means ‘he laughs.’”

[18] In the case of Abraham, God appeared to Abimelek and protected him—not to mention protecting Sarah. Consequently, Genesis 20:14–16: 14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.” 16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

[19] See Genesis 25:5: Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.

[20] Genesis 12:19–20: 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her to be my wife? Now then, here is your wife. Take her and go!” 20 Then Pharaoh gave orders about Abram to his men, and they sent him on his way, with his wife and everything he had.

[21] Compare Genesis 21:22–31: 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.” 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. 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.

[22] Genesis 15:1. Emphasis added.

[23] Genesis 12:1.

[24] Genesis 17:1.

[25] Genesis 15:7. Abraham responded by referring to God as “Sovereign LORD” in Genesis 15:8.

[26] As already noted, the first time is in verse 3 at the beginning of the chapter: Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.

[27] Compare with Abraham: Genesis 12:7–8:The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your seed will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.

[28] Again, as with Abimelek, this Phicol may be the same as the one mentioned in Abraham’s day or it may be another Phicol descended from the family or someone else altogether.

[29] It’s interesting to note that Isaac considered that he had been treated with hostility (verse 27) but Abimelek insisted he had sent Isaac away peacefully.

[30] Genesis 21:22: At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do.

[31] Genesis 21:23a: 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants.

[32] Genesis 21:23b: Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.

[33] See verse 31 of Genesis 21:25–31: 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. 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.

[34] The births of Esau and Jacob twenty years after Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage indicate an initial passing down of this Messianic baton. See sermon preached last week, September 20, 2020, Children of Divine Promise, not Human Works on Genesis 25:19–34.

[35] John 1:12–13: 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

[36] Romans 8:15–16: 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.[36]

[37] 2 Corinthians 3:18. Emphasis added. See also Romans 8:28–30: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.; 1 Corinthians 15:48–49: 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.; Philippians 3:20–21: 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

[38] John 14:15: If you love me, keep my commands.

[39] Exodus 23:4–5. Emphasis added.

[40] See 1 John 4:7–12: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

[41] John 13:34–35. See also 1 John 2:3–6: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.

[42] Acts 14:17.

[43] Romans 2:4. The fuller context is found in Romans 2:1–4: 1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

[44] A modification of Question 1 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q: What is the chief end of man? A: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.