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Third Quarter 2016 (July–September)


Week 7: August 6–12


Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).


Sabbath Afternoon, Aug. 6: Introduction



The theme verse for this week:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (Matt. 23:37)



Today's lesson ends with this quote:

"The local church’s definition of “church” is a community that does not exist for itself. This should be the definition for all our churches as well."

This quote is false because what you do is not a definition of who you are. Especially so since church is an invention and creation of God, not the work of mankind.

The church came into existence at Pentecost when Jesus' promised Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and followers of Jesus Christ, read Luke chapter two. In the early apostolic church Jesus gave leadership of this creation of God to the Apostle Peter with the assurance that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", Matt. 16:17-19. In 1 Corinthians 12:17 the church is called 'the body of Christ', meaning individual Christians are members of the true, God created church. Since Seventh-day Adventism, as a man devised organization, was not formally established until 1863 it cannot possibly be a return to what Jesus said "the gates of hell" will never prevail against.

In the lesson the story is told of the desire to "reach" the youth including "skateboarders" of a local community. We should be asking; What is the biblical role of the church? In The Great Commission, Matt. 28:16-20, Jesus said to the disciples who formed the apostolic church to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations...". Therefore, regardless of the specific group you wish to reach with the message that will make 'disciples of all nations' or whatever else you are doing in the way of worthwhile good works, you must be include and be preaching the one and only gospel message:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:1-5)

Only in the shedding of Jesus' blood is there remission of sin, Heb. 9:15-28. Unless you include and are proclaiming the death, burial and resurrection that leads to eternal life in response to this message all you are doing is 'white washing' the lives of those who are still dead in their trespasses and sin, Eph. 2:1-10.

Unless your 'good works' is coupled with and opens the door to presenting the gospel message "of first importance" you are not obeying the command of Jesus to make "disciples of all nations". Focusing on 'Sabbath keeping', good heath or other any other thing that you perceive to be a worthwhile activitie is not the gospel message that will change lives.

Only one thing changes the life of a person:

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:3-6)





Sunday, Aug. 7: Jonah in Nineveh



The lesson compares the account of the prophet Jonah and the people of city of Nineveh who repented of their sins with that of Jerusalem where the people 'kill the prophets" as Jesus said in yesterday's memory text.

The lesson says this of Jonah:

"The people repented, but Jonah now feels betrayed. He feels dishonored and used. His hope had been that the destruction of this heathen city of 120,000 inhabitants would show God’s preference for His chosen people and vindicate Jonah’s hatred for the Ninevites."



The lesson quote falsely assumes that God had a "preference for His chosen people" over that of Nineveh. In Scripture it says this of any sinner, whether or not they are Jew or Gentile:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Jesus said this:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him...." (John 3:16-17)

The very existence of Israel was founded on God's assurance to Abraham that in his descendants, Gen. 12:1-3, "all the families of the earth shall be blessed".

Turning to Scripture and comparing Jonah's warning to the city of Nineveh (“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown”) with that of Jerusalem which, in the words of Jesus, said; "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it..." makes this potentially an excellent theme to study.

However instead of commenting on what God did when Nineveh repented, the lesson author speculates on Jonah's motives and does so without supporting those opinions from Scripture. Jonah was angry with God and expresses why:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4)

If we continue in a study of Jonah chapter four the text does reveal why God's mercy for Nineveh upset Jonah. God teaches him a lesson concerning his anger but we are not told in this text what Jonah's response was. We can only assume Jonah must have repented because it would seem that a prophet of God should not be angry with God. After all, how could Jonah justify his anger against God after having so recently been rescued from the 'belly of the fish' by God?

As for Nineveh we should remember that most present-day Christians are also Gentiles. Only through the mercy of God have we been grafted into the New Covenant he made with the Hebrew people. We must not adopt a somewhat similar attitude with that of Jonah by thinking God has now abandoned his covenant people, falsely thinking and adopting a remnant church doctrine. Then, without biblical support, apply the unconditional promises God made to Abraham concerning a covenant people who would be a blessing to all others. God is not finished with Israel. The 144,000 evangelist who are "redeemed from the earth" (Rev. 14:3) are Jews, having nothing to do with Adventism:

And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed, 12,000 from the tribe of Reuben, 12,000 from the tribe of Gad, 12,000 from the tribe of Asher, 12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali, 12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh, 12,000 from the tribe of Simeon, 12,000 from the tribe of Levi, 12,000 from the tribe of Issachar, 12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed. (Rev. 7:4-8)





Monday, Aug. 8: The "Anyway" Principle



The theme for today is that God loves us sinners and reaches out to us despite the fact that there is nothing good about us worthy of that love. We are sinners yet God loves us "anyway". This is an excellent topic to search out assuming it is Scripture where we do the searching.

Unfortunately, in the lesson we get sidetrack onto another topic with this statement:

"Jesus is calling us to show love and be kind to people “in spite of ” the fact that they hate you or are your enemies. Notice, too, that Jesus links these acts and attitude with the character of God Himself."



In Adventism the phrase 'the character of God' is 'short-hand' in reference to the belief that the 'Decalogue' of the Mosaic law is a set of ten eternally existing moral laws that are a 'transcript of the character of God' which have eternally existed because God is eternal:

The law of God in the sanctuary in heaven is the great original, of which the precepts inscribed upon the tables of stone and recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch were an unerring transcript. Those who arrived at an understanding of this important point were thus led to see the sacred, unchanging character of the divine law. They saw, as never before, the force of the Saviour's words: "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law." Matthew 5:18. The law of God, being a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, must forever endure, "as a faithful witness in heaven." (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, Chapter 25)

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary primary definition of 'transcript' is; 'a written, printed, or typed copy of words that have been spoken'. The issue here is that Ellen G. White, on her own authority, gives the law God gave to Israel a meaning not recorded in Scripture and not support by standard English language dictionaries.

The 'law' found recorded (transcribed) was the 'heart' of a conditional contract (covenant) where God would bless Israel if they did certain things summarized in the Decalogue. If Israel did not obey these conditions there would be curses instead of blessings. For entry into this covenant given at Sinai the men of Israel must have the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, that is, they must be circumcised. Without this sign first given to Abraham, you could not claim to be covered by the Siniac covenant. The Decalogue or any of the other laws found in the Old Testament do not legally apply to you because you are not part of that covenant nor do you practice circumcision which gave a Jew entry into that covenant.

The book of Hebrews was written to show the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things. Among the points made, Jesus introduced a 'new and better covenant' with Israel that replaced the Old Covenant. In chapter seven where Jesus is shown to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek there is this statement:

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. (Heb. 7:18-22)

Law (of a covenant) that cannot make anything perfect certainly is not a 'transcript of God's character' even if it had not been replaced by the law (Romans 8:1-4) of a new and better covenant.

So, as a Christian, what was the purpose of the Old Covenant law? In Romans 7:1-6 the Apostle Paul shows that the Old Covenant law is obsolete and and does not apply to the present day saints of God who identify themselves as Christians. He then addresses this very question:

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Rom. 7:7-12)

The obsolete law does not apply to Christians yet it does reveal what sin is. Of course, the question of the "Forth Commandment" arises that identifies Seventh-day Adventist for who they are.

One of the objections to Sabbath Keeping amongst New Covenant believers is that this is the sign of the Siniac Covenant given specifically and only to the Hebrew people. As has been already pointed out before you can be a member and part of this covenant, that is, to be required to 'keep' this covenant or any part of it you are required to be covered by the physical sign of the Abrahamic Covenant which is circumcision. Since Adventist don't practice circumcision as a religious rite they have neither the obligation nor right to keep the Sabbath.





Tuesday, Aug. 9: Love Never Fails



On the theme of 'Love Never Fails' the lesson quotes Jesus (Luke 10:27-28) concerning the 'two greatest commandments'. The lesson then reminds us that the consequence of those who merely claim to be Christians is this:

"It’s no wonder that many people through the ages, and even today, have been turned off by Christianity as a whole. Thus the imperative to reveal Christ to others through our own lives should be stronger than ever. And nothing can do this more powerfully than the kind of love expressed by Jesus Himself being expressed in our own lives as well."

The question is; How can you “ the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”?



In Luke 10:24-37 Jesus illustrates what real love is by giving us the example of the 'Good Samaritan'. The lesson author does well to reminds us of Apostle Paul's very clear exposition of the importance of real love where Paul says that if we do not have love we have nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-4). Then Paul goes on to tell us what love is:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

If we really love 'our neighbor' as Jesus illustrates with the parable of the Good Samaritan and have the kind of love describe by the Apostle Paul we must understand the words of Jesus concerning 'an empty house':

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matt. 12:43-45)

If your acts of love is limited to acts of cleaning up an unsaved sinner on the outside yet the inner person remains empty then that person is in mortal danger of becoming worse off than before you did anything. Real love for that person means that above all else you, out of sharing God's love for that person, will introduce them to the Savior Jesus Christ by sharing the gospel message of the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the atonement of that person's sins.

At the moment a sinner repents of his/her sin and confesses Jesus as Savior, Jesus' gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit will fill that person's 'house'. It is no longer empty and in danger of being refilled with evil.

Real love for both God and 'our brother' will include sharing the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. As beneficial our good works for another person should be, we should never fail to share the gospel message.

The real gospel of the Christian faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings salvation for lost sinners is this:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:1-5)

The admonition to not alter the gospel that changes the life of lost sinners is so important the Apostle Paul invokes a curse upon those who would do so:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Gal.1:6-9)





Wednesday, Aug. 10: The Second Touch



The lesson title and theme for today alludes to this account:

And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. And he sent him to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” (Mark 8:22-26)



The lesson asks us:

"How do you understand the man’s answer to the question “ ‘Do you see anything’ ”?"

This question is oddly stated as it should have been; 'What was the man's response' instead of what we "understand" or think the man said, by quoting the Scripture we were asked to reread.

The lesson goes on to say this:

"In a spiritual sense, how could we apply this incident to our own lives? It might be that after Jesus gives us spiritual sight, we are not totally restored. We might see people as “trees,” as objects. This could mean that we still are blind to them as real people with real needs...."

This is an interesting question worthy of being explored at another time but has no bearing on why Jesus restored the blind man's eyesight in two steps. Since Scripture does reveal to us why Jesus did this in this way it isn't possible to arrive at any certain conclusion. When the man said; “I see people, but they look like trees, walking”, the suggestion is that the man already knew what people should look like but what he saw of them at that moment was very blurry.

Again in the lesson, instead of focusing on what Scripture actually says, we are asked "why might" be the reason Jesus healed the man in two stages? Really now, are we to learn from the study of God's word through the leading of the Holy Spirit or are we allowed to dream up answers from our own flawed imagination? After all, Jesus said this to the apostle for our undestanding:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you...." (John 16:12-15)

The lesson ends with this:

"Not only people outside the church need Jesus’ healing touch. Inside the church there is blindness. Partially sighted church members who see people as statistics and objects will not care or notice that many new babes in Christ slip out the back door of the church. They need Jesus’ second touch so they will see everything more clearly and will come to love others as Jesus did."

Instead of speculating on why "many new babes in Christ slip out the back door" through the superficial study of a passage of Scripture that has nothing to do with this issue, you should begin by asking those who do so; ask them "Why did you leave"? As for myself (you can click on my name and read my testimony) I was a forth-generation Adventist and certainly not a newcomer even though I would appear to have slipped away unnoticed. Which is to say, it isn't only the disappearance of newcomers you should be concerned about.



Thursday, Aug. 11: The Other-Centered Church



Today's theme passage:

"...Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,..." (Phil. 2:3-5)



The quarterly lesson does well yet fails to mention that as we address the needs of those around us, their one great need above all else is for their sins to have been covered by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Remember the account recorded in Acts 16:16-34. Paul and Silas had been put in jail because Paul, in the name of Jesus, had cast out an evil spirit from a slave girl. Their time in jail culminated by the jailer asking:

And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Acts 16:29-34)

The church, which was the local body of Christ in the city of Philippi Paul is writing to, began by the preaching the salvation message to a trembling jailer. The saints in Philippi Paul is encouraging in their acts of good works are who they are because their sins have been cover by the atoning blood of Christ.

The problem with today's lesson is that if you leave out the biblical gospel message, your acts of love as you reach out to those in need, will count for nothing which can be understood through a study of Luke chapter eleven. Right after the passage on the Lord's Prayer we come to this promise:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)

We then come to where Jesus casts out a demon and his accusers say he did it by the power of Beelzebul whereupon Jesus points out that the prince of demons would never do that. Then Jesus traps his accusers with this question:

And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. (Luke 11:19)

Jesus warns his accusers:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)

Jesus' warning applies to all who would teach good habits and acts of morality but fail to present the biblical gospel message whereupon Jesus' promised gift of the Holy Spirit would then indwell and fill that person. His/her "house" would no longer be empty. Instead, that newborn saint of God would be eternally secure in the kingdom of God, Romans 8:31-39.



Friday, Aug. 12: Further Thought



Aside from an Ellen G. White quote the thought for today centers on this passage:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17)



The Apostle James uses the example of Abraham to show what real faith is:

Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:20-24)

James is very clear about faith. Real faith, the faith James writes about, will result in works that reveal our faith in the promises of God. Since James points to Abraham as an example of what this faith is, Abraham's faith is what we will examine in today's commentary.

The key unconditional promise God gave Abram, who God later on renamed Abraham, is this:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3)

This is God's related/connected promise given to Abram:

The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. (Gen. 13:14-16)

Here God counts Abram's faith in God's promises "as righteousness". Note well that Abram has done nothing to earn God's unconditional promises other than to belive God:

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15:1-6)

Before Abram, now called Abraham, had done anything as a result of his faith in God nor had God yet given him the promised son, God chose to give Abraham the sign of his unconditional promise which God calls an "everlasting covenant":

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. (Gen. 17:9-13)

Next, God repeats his promise about Sarai his wife, now called Sarah, bearing a son who would inherit this everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:15-16), whereupon Abraham falls down on his face and laughs to himself:

Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Gen. 17:17)

God corrects Abraham's thinking and repeats his promise of a son to be named Isaac (Gen. 17:19-21) whereupon Abraham obeys God in faith by doing what he had been told to do (Gen. 17:23). The seal of circumcision was in place long before Abraham displayed his faith in God in obedience to the command to sacrifice Isaac. When Abraham put Isaac on the alter as commanded by God his faith in God led him to say to Isaac; “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” (Gen. 22:8).

The Apostle Paul refers to the relationship of Abraham's works versus his faith in this passage:

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Rom. 4:1-12)

Hebrews chapter eleven gives us an explanation of just what is faith with Abraham being one of the examples of truth faith. Abraham revealed this faith early on when when he obeyed God, Heb. 11:8-10. Furthermore, Sarah his wife expressed this same faith, Heb. 11:12, when she believed God that she would conceive in her old age.

Romans 4:1-8 makes it clear that being 'justified by faith' is not some kind of formula that includes our works. Instead our works are an outgrowth of our faith in the promises of God and what James means when he says; "faith apart from works is useless". Faith in God's promises cannot help but be seen by others when you have such faith.






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