Genesis 12-15, Psalm 4
We engage in contracts constantly in society. Every patient who sees me is in a conditional contract with me. I agree to provide my medical services, and they agree to pay me for these services. Every employee contract is conditional. Wages are earned in response to work that has been agreed upon. The Mosaic Covenant between God and the Israelites was conditional. There were 613 laws, if they were followed obediently then they would be blessed, if not they would be cursed. But in today’s reading we read of a unilateral, unconditional covenant between God and Abram.
We note the only thing required of Abram was faith. This was before the rite of circumcision and before the Law handed to Moses. We read in Genesis 15:6, “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” The Lord had already promised Abram in Genesis 12:2-3, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” He promised him numerous descendants in Genesis 13:16 and 15:5. He was promised that he would be a father of many nations in 17:4-5. In our society when a covenant or contract is made the two parties agree and sign. In that society we read about the different, bloody nature of covenants. We read the preparation in Genesis 15:9-10, where animals would be cut in half so that the two parties could enter into the covenant between the carcasses. If anyone broke the covenant they were as good as the dead animals they were between. But as Abram was waiting, he fell into a deep sleep. We read in Genesis 15:17-18, “And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,”. Realize, Abram did nothing, God did it all. The covenant is unconditional and unilateral and perfect because the all perfect God is the one who established it.
We have to reflect on this and understand that Abram had no part except having faith in this covenant. When people are asked when they die where they will be going, heaven or hell, and why. Almost everyone says heaven based on their own goodness. People ascribe to the religion of good works. But this wasn’t God’s way with Abram and it’s not His way with us. When Jesus died on the cross, He did it all, unconditionally and unilaterally. Instead of going between the blood of the animals, He signed this covenant with His own precious blood, spilled out for us. Like Abram, our only part is to repent and have faith and believe with our whole heart. Heaven is now available to anyone who simply is willing to enter into this covenant with Jesus. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: