Your Answer:  3. Obeyed God

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Genesis 22:15-18 says: Then the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. "And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." (NAS)

Abraham's Faith Led Him To Obey

Sometimes we find it hard to understand how Abraham would be willing to have such faith in God...a faith that would lead him to obey God's voice in this difficult situation.  Abraham loved Isaac.  The eternal covenant of God was with Isaac.  If Isaac were to be killed, then what would become of God's promise?

There is no mention in the text of Abraham having any anxiety over God's command.  Instead, the scriptures tell us that Abraham considered that God could raise Isaac from the dead:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, "In Isaac your descendants shall be called." 19 He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type. Hebrews 11:17-19 (NAS)

Once God saw that Abraham would obey, he stopped the sacrifice of Abraham's son and provided an animal to sacrifice in Isaac's place.

Did Abraham earn the gifts and promises that God made?

Some might ask, did Abraham get the rewards and promises from God as payment for the things Abraham did (e.g., Genesis 12 - going forth into a new land; Genesis 15 - the sacrifice; Genesis 22 - willing to offer his son Isaac)? Could Abraham boast that he received them as wages for what he had done?

"For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due." Romans 4:2-4 (NAS)

Although obedience to God is essential; when we obey...we are by no means paying God back in full for the gifts He has given to us.  

Do Christians today need to believe and have faith?

"Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying "All the nations shall be blessed in you." So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer." Galatians 3:6-9 (NAS)

Can you have true faith, without works?

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God." James 2:21-23 (NAS)

"You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." James 2:24-26 (NAS)

Abraham's Seed or Abraham's Seeds

When God promised to Abram "in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed," many of the Jews believed that this meant all of Abram's descendants (plural). But God said through Abraham's descendant or seed (singular), the earth would be blessed. Paul, writing over 2000 years later explains the difference:

"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ." Galatians 3:16-19 (NAS)

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