© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 16 March 2019
4A4. God’s nature expressed as perfection:
In grace, God chose Abraham UNCONDITIONALLY
from amongst all other peoples,
to be set apart exclusively for Himself
4A4(title) God’s nature expressed as perfection
God’s intention was that all people express His perfection by being totally “set apart” for Him and separated from evil. They were to live in His ways only. Then they would be “in the likeness of God” and express His own nature [1A3(s)(ii)].
But instead, the FALL’s effects on all people ended with them becoming totally sinful. Then came God’s judgment by the FLOOD, when He expressed His perfection and power by destroying almost all the people. Yet even following this, the survivors further sinned and rebelled against God Gen 11:4. So He again upheld His perfection by scattering all people across the Earth and confusing their languages Gen 11:8-9. All of this demonstrated the negative consequences of their not choosing to live in God’s ways.
4A4(sub-title) In grace, God chose Abraham UNCONDITIONALLY from amongst all other peoples, to be set apart exclusively for Himself
God then began implementing His strategy to make Himself known THROUGH people positively. He was going to work this out through Abraham and his chosen descendants.
4A4(a) Abraham and Sarah were not perfect
Although God had chosen Abraham, he and Sarah were far from perfect, as follows.
# To protect himself from assassination, Abraham twice deliberately disowned his wife and exposed her to potential abuse! He deceived others by not admitting that Sarah was his wife and required her to join in this deception Gen 12:11-12,13, 20:1,2a,13. This resulted in her being taken away twice to the harems of foreign rulers! Gen 12:14-15, 20:2b. On the second occasion she was probably already pregnant with Isaac!!! Gen 18:14, 20:1,2, 21:1-2. Only by God’s fearsome interventions Gen 12:17, 20:3,7,18 was she protected Gen 12:18-19a, 20:4a,6b and freed Gen 12:19b, 20:14.
# When the second deception was discovered, Abraham was shamed by having to confess his lack of faith in God Gen 20:11. Yet he tried to justify himself Gen 20:12 and even implied that God was to blame for his predicament! Gen 20:13a. His deceptions had brought serious troubles upon the foreign rulers and their households Gen 12:17, 20:8b,18. They even had to make amends for their unwitting mistakes Gen 12:20, 20:14-15,16. Abraham also had to pray so that God would deliver some of them from their troubles Gen 20:7a,17.
# Abraham and Sarah had both laughed incredulously at God’s promise that they would procreate a son in their extreme old age Gen 17:15-16,17, 18:12. Later Sarah also lied to the LORD by denying that she had laughed Gen 18:13,15.
Yet despite his faults, Abraham was called by God and commanded to leave his own people and migrate to Canaan Gen 12:1. God’s choice and promises did not depend upon Abraham’s perfect moral rectitude. God’s call was UNCONDITIONAL, based entirely upon His grace and purpose Gen 18:19a.
4A4(b) God intended Abraham and the nation of his chosen descendants to be set apart exclusively for Himself
God’s set an absolute standard for what He required from Abraham himself Gen 17:1b.
God later stated His intended role for Abraham, his household and descendants Gen 18:19b. God also added further requirements for them [see 4A10]. By fulfilling these, Abraham would lay the foundations of a God-honoring culture for the nation that would develop as his chosen descendants multiplied.
God intended Abraham and his descendants to become a unique nation, set apart exclusively for Himself from all other nations. They were to live entirely in His ways. God could then express His own perfect nature by making Himself known TO and THROUGH them to all nations.
4A4(c) How could God ever express His own nature of perfection through fallen, sinful people?
4A4(c)(i) How Abraham attained God’s perfection: GRACE
After Abraham had received God’s vast declarations and promises, he obeyed God’s command to leave Ur and went to Canaan Gen 12:4,5. When he reached Canaan, God added His promise to give that Land to his descendants Gen 12:6,7a.
Later God promised childless Abraham that he would father a son and have countless descendants Gen 15:4,5. Abraham believed God’s promise and God then “credited it to him as righteousness” Gen 15:6. This meant that, again in extraordinary GRACE, God had granted him a status of perfection! [2A8(c)(v, vi)]. It was solely in response to Abraham’s believing God’s apparently impossible promises.
4A4(c)(ii) Had Noah attained God’s perfection on the same basis of “believing” God as Abraham had?
This sheds further light on why Noah “found favour in the eyes of the Lord” Gen 6:8 [3A6(a)] and why God “found” Noah to be “righteous” Gen 7:1b [3A11(b)(ii.i)]. Noah had even been summed up as having attained God’s perfection! Gen 6:9b.
Noah had obeyed God by building the Ark exactly as God had commanded Gen 6:14-16,22. This implied that Noah had believed God’s declaration that the FLOOD would come Gen 6:13,17 despite the unbelieving people around him. So it could be assumed that God’s “finding” Noah to be “righteous” was similarly based on his having believed God.
4A4(c)(iii) In grace, God could accomplish His primary purpose THROUGH Abraham
Despite Abraham and Sarah being far from perfect, God in grace had made a way to express His perfection THROUGH them. This way had been put very simply Gen 15:6. Therefore the two keys for Abraham to fulfill God’s calling were to believe whatever God had declared and promised to him, and to obey whatever God commanded him.