5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. 6 It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 8 In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. 9 For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” — Romans 9:5-9 NIV
The promise that God made to His friend, Abraham, was fulfilled. Abraham did become the Father of many nations through his first two sons, Ishmael was the frist born, a child concieved with Hagar ten years after the promise. It was another 13-14 years later before Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah. It was sixty years later when Jacob (Israel) and Esau were born to Isaac and Rebekah. It was through Jacob that we trace the lineage of Jesus Christ. This promise was very slow in being fulfilled, but it was confirmed over and over throughout the Old Testament. Though Abraham did become the Father of many nations, the promise was not made regarding the physical descendants but, rather to the Spiritual descendants through One person. It was not to the “seeds” of Abram but to the “Seed” of Abraham. That Seed is Jesus Christ.
16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. — Galatians 3:16 NIV
In His own words, Jesus told us that He came to seek and to save the lost.
9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:9,10 NIV
Jesus also said:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. — John 3:16, 17 NIV
It is for these reasons that all nations, tribes and kindreds can join in the celebration of the birth of Chirst. We have been commissioned by Christ to go tell “the old, old story that we have loved so long.”
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.–James 2:18-22 (NLT)
Let’s be sure to always remember that salvation is a free gift from God. There are no “good deeds” that will save you. It is not that we believe there is one God that saves us. Every religion has their own god, but none of them have Jesus Christ or any one else that gave their life for their redemption. James is saying that faith alone might be enough to scare a person or a demon(demons tremble) but it won’t save you. Abraham lived a long time before Jesus died and was resurrected, so he didn’t have the choice we have today. Therefore, God in His great mercy counted his actions as righteous. Abraham and the others from the Old Testament did not receive everything God had planned for them at that time. Their total salvation and perfection had to wait until Jesus was resurrected and we all join Him in heaven and we will receive our rewards at the same time. There, we will be totally saved and we will worship Jesus forever. 39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.–Hebrews 11:39,40 (NLT)
17 When God tested Abraham, faith led him to offer his son Isaac. Abraham, the one who received the promises from God, was willing to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to him, “Through Isaac your descendants will carry on your name.” 19 Abraham believed that God could bring Isaac back from the dead. Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead in a figurative sense. 20 Faith led Isaac to bless Jacob and Esau. 21 While Jacob was dying, faith led him to bless each of Joseph’s sons. He leaned on the top of his staff and worshiped God. 22 While Joseph was dying, faith led him to speak about the Israelites leaving Egypt and give them instructions about burying his bones.–Hebrews 11:17-22 (GW)
Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Abraham’s mind when God told Him to sacrifice his only son? Surely he wondered how God was going to fulfill His promise to make him a father of many nations, if he killed his son. But this matter was already settled in the mind of Abraham. This was the statement Abraham made in Genesis 22:
5 Then Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go over there. We’ll worship. After that we’ll come back (GW)
At that moment, Abraham didn’t know how God would do it, but he trusted God to provide and take care of both he and his son, Isaac. Isaac trusted God to carry out His promise through his sons, so he blessed both of them. Jacob believed the promise and blessed his 12 sons. Those 12 sons would become the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph believed that God would rescue his people, so he made them promise that when God led them out of Egypt that they would carry his bones back to the Promised Land and bury them there. All these promises were fulfilled and written down for us so that we might be believers as well. God is faithful!!