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Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1~4)
The Word of God Is Alive
In the Bible, Genesis chapter 1 begins with, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Then God begins working through the Word of God. And God said let there be light and there was light. God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. The earth changed and was renewed as the Word of God entered it. Romans says, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Nowhere in the Bible was there no change where the Word of God entered. The sea became still when Jesus said, “Peace, be still.” When Jesus told the paralytic, “Rise up and walk,” he walked. We say that the Word of God is alive because in it, there is the power to achieve that Word. Spiritual life begins at the Word of God. It begins from emptying the many things in your heart that differ from the Word of God and accepting the Word of God. This is also where the works of God begin. God, one day, spoke to Noah. “I will punish this earth with water. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood.” These words entered Noah’s heart. “Ah, God is passing His judgment! I’d better make the ark!” But these words did not enter other people’s hearts. “What judgment? I heard that Noah’s building an ark. That’s crazy!” This is the difference between a person who had the Word enter his heart and one who had not.
God said to Abraham, “I will bless thee and thou shalt be a blessing.” God was not telling Abraham to become a blessing, but that He would make Abraham into a blessing. Jesus told Peter, “I will make you a fisher of men,” rather than, “Be a fisher of men.” Peter cannot become a fisher of men through graduating from a seminary, learning to witness, and learning faith. The words of Jesus, “I shall make you a fisher of men,” included the will of Jesus. All works of God in the Bible have begun in this manner, through the will of God. God establishes His will in His heart, then that will comes out through His lips, and the works of God arise when we accept those words. God told Abraham, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” God has His chosen people and His chosen place. The place God had chosen was the land of Canaan. All the works of God began in Canaan. God called Abraham to Canaan to do a work in him. The person God has chosen is Jesus Christ. Many people have come and gone on this earth since Adam, and God used many of those people: Noah, Abraham, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul…. But God did not leave the work of salvation to man but did it Himself. Because man was all engulfed in sin, He could not use man to save mankind. Therefore, God used someone who was not human; someone who has never committed sin. He sent His son to this earth to save man. Man is not saved through his own effort or labor, nor through himself doing well. It is God who achieves the work of delivering man from sin, of making man righteous and holy. Saving a drowning person is not having that man swim out himself. When that man has lost all strength, the savior comes to save him. That is salvation. Salvation is when there is no effort whatsoever on the part of the person being saved. If effort is added by the person being saved, that is not salvation, but help. To say that God saved me means that I did not rely on my strength, effort, or labor whatsoever, but 100% only through God. It is not salvation if your labor, effort, or zeal had anything to do with it. God established a plan to save us. He did not try to help us while we were laboring and toiling to become freed from sin. But rather, He saves us without any effort or labor at all from man. There was no one on this earth who accomplished salvation in conjunction with God. Thus, God sent His son Jesus Christ to this earth to accomplish the salvation that man could not.
To Send Christ to Earth
God established a plan to save mankind since Adam and Eve committed sin. God knew precisely that man could not become freed from sin through his own effort and labor; thus He set up the plan to send Jesus. God selected Abraham because He wanted to have Jesus born as a descendent of Abraham. Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1) Until then, Abraham’s life had moved through his own thoughts and plans. But the great will of God does not become accomplished through Abraham’s will or thoughts but through God. God had His will in Abraham “I will make you into a great nation. You will be a blessing. Those that bless you will be blessed and those that curse you will be cursed.” Abraham heard those words of God, but he could not understand them all. He simply thought, “God is blessing me. He will make me into a great nation.” How could the heart of man understand the depths of the heart of God? But in the words, “shalt be a blessing,” the work of Jesus Christ coming for our sins and dying on the cross to save us is included. God established Abraham to do this.
Faithless Abraham, Who Trusted Man’s Schemes
Abraham followed the Word of God to the land of Canaan. But as soon as he faced a famine in Canaan, he tried to take refuge in Egypt. Right then, in Abraham’s heart, if the words of God, “Thou shalt be a blessing. I will make you into a great nation,” remained, he would have said, “If that was what God promised, then I will be a blessing. I will become a great nation!” and had no fear. But what did he do when he was going down to Egypt? Because his wife was so pretty, he was worried that other men would kill him to take her. This is the difference in faith. If Abraham had the heart, “God said He would make me a great nation. How can I become a great nation if I die?” he would not have been afraid. Later, after Abraham had Isaac, he was going up to give Isaac as an offering. Abraham was able to offer Isaac. It was because God said that He would give him many descendents through Isaac. “God clearly said that I would have as many descendents as the stars in the sky and the sands in the sea through Isaac. Then that shall be! Whether I kill Isaac or burn him into ashes, Isaac will not die and ultimately become like the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea because the Word of God is always achieved.” Abraham had that faith. Therefore, when he was told to offer Isaac, he said, “Yes, God! I will offer him.” Some people think that Abraham said, “How can I offer my son, to whom I gave birth when I was 100 years old?” and wept. But that was not the case. “God said it, so surely Isaac will have a son. Therefore, he will not die!” Since he had that faith, he was not worried whatsoever. If Abraham had the faith to offer Isaac in Genesis chapter 12, he would not have worried. The main character of a movie does not die in the middle of the movie. It seems that he will die, but he survives. It’s that way because that’s how the script is written. Movies are made according to the screen writer’s intentions. Likewise, people’s lives are in God’s hands and they go according to God’s plans. Abraham was to become a blessing in God’s script, but Abraham did not believe that script. Therefore, he told his wife, “Say that you are my sister,” when he was going to Egypt. He was afraid that people would kill him to take her since she was so pretty. It was his humanistic method that implied that it would be okay to lose his wife just as long he lived.
Although God Made Abraham a Promise
When two people going through life face a problem, the person with God in his heart has faith and thinks, “God will take care of this problem.” On the other hand, the person without God worries, “What should I do in times like these?” and uses humanistic methods and ways. When Abraham was going down to Egypt because he was so hungry, God was not in his heart. The Word of God was not inside of him. God was with him, but Abraham did not have God in his heart. The Word of God was not inside of him. The promise of God disappeared from his heart and he could only think, “I’m dead. How can I survive?” Whenever I face difficulties or problems at my church, I think, “This problem cannot be taken care of.” My own judgments come out. But while praying, I feel in my heart, “This will work if God does it.” I also feel in my heart, “I am one who believes in God, but I had my own thoughts. It will not work if I do it according to my own thoughts. I should act according to the will of God. Things will work out if God does it.” Although God made a promise to Abraham, Abraham did not keep the promise in his heart and only had his own thoughts and methods as he went down to Egypt. In reality, God was with Abraham, protecting him, caring for him, and making him into a blessing according to the promise. And He was going to give him many children like the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. But Abraham accepted his own assumption that he would die and lose his wife in Egypt as reality and took the promise of God as an illusion in his heart. People with the Blood of Jesus Remaining vs. People with Their Own Sins Remaining
People with true faith have the cross of Jesus remaining in their hearts. “I did sin, but Jesus received all the punishment for the sins I committed. I should be cursed, but Jesus received all of that.” People with faith have the blood of Jesus in their hearts and that blood overcomes sin regardless of what sins they may have. Sin loses its power because it is washed. This is so amazing. Once, a brother who was a doctor was operating on another brother. I was observing from the side and saw that he first dipped all his surgical tools into water, boiled the water, then dipped them into a sterilizing liquid. Then he pulled them out, not with his hands, but with tweezers and began the surgery. He killed all the germs through the boiling water and dipped them in sterilizing liquid because he was afraid of any germs getting on the tools. In the same way, we originally had many sins but the blood of the cross sterilized them, killing every single sin. The suffering Jesus endured on the cross was all the punishment that was to be received for your sin. Therefore, every single one of your sins, without exception, has been washed away. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5) His death on the cross and the blood shed on the cross washed all of your sins away. Some people have only sin remaining in their heart, and some people have the cross and the blood of Jesus remaining in their heart. Blood rids sin. Blood was shed to forgive sin. If the blood Jesus shed on the cross is alive in your heart, you are not a sinner regardless of what sins you may have committed. However, people who do not have the cross and the blood of Jesus only have sin remaining. The blood on the cross was surely shed for our sins, and at the cross the punishment was received for our sins. But to the people without this in their hearts, the cross is only a formality and only sin remains in their heart.
God Is Ruined if His Credit Is Lost
Abraham went to Egypt and called his wife his sister and he immediately lost his wife to the Pharaoh in Egypt. But God spoke to Pharaoh and made him return her to Abraham. God protected Abraham and his wife because it was the only way for Abraham to have many descendents like the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. Only then could Abraham become a blessing. How could he be a blessing if he is beaten to death? That would make God into a liar. If the people had killed Abraham and taken his wife, this would make God into a liar. Because God is invisible, He is ruined if He loses His credibility. However, people do not believe in God although He has maintained His credibility. If God began lying, who would ever believe in God? Therefore, God is bent on protecting His credibility. God does not lie. If God called Abraham a blessing, then he is. If God said that He would make him a great nation, then He will. Therefore, God protected Abraham, and even though he lost his wife, God allowed her to come back to Abraham’s bosom. Abraham did not have faith in God. Abraham protecting himself cannot compare with God protecting him. But since he did not have God in his heart, he acted according to his own will. You, too, can use your own methods and ways when you face difficulties when you do not have God in your heart. Even in terms of receiving the forgiveness of sin, you try to wash your sins away with your own methods when you cannot believe in the blood on the cross. Just as the father made the prodigal son holy, God made you holy, But you try to make yourself clean and holy because you cannot believe that God has made you holy. You end up living the spiritual life where you are laboring to not sin. In the Bible, whether Abraham was old or young, whether it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women or not, Sarah had a son according to the promise of God. Whether that son, Isaac, is given as an offering on Mt. Moriah, or burnt into ashes, or turned into dust or not, God, as He promised, will make the descendents of Isaac like the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. Jesus was born from that seed and God accomplished the precious work of saving all mankind through Jesus Christ.
I Hope Faith Will Lead Your Life
Abraham left his country and his father’s house and moved to Canaan, but he did not have the faith to believe in God. He then took his maid servant to have a son and went through many other trials and errors. Then, after a long time, he came to believe in God. “I’m old but God will give me a son as promised!” Since he believed, Sarah gained new strength and had a son. Even when God told him to give that same son up as an offering, Abraham believed that his children would all come from that child, so was able to offer him. And God, as promised, allowed Abraham to gain many descendents through Isaac like the stars of the sky and sands of the sea. Loving folks, the methods of man reign in your heart if you do not have God in your heart. You will become defeated by many great and small burdens that weigh you down. You will labor, you will toil…. There are two paths in spiritual life: one is you doing everything, and the other is the spiritual life of believing that God will do everything. People who have the spiritual life with themselves doing everything, consider believing in God working to be laughable and foolish. But the truly foolish are those who work through their own methods. God makes a promise to us and accomplishes that promise. I hope that the Word of God will be in you and that the blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross will also be in you, so that this faith will lead your life.