Monday, February 20, 2012

Acts 7:5-8

Summary retelling of Acts 7:5-8:

Stephen talks about how God worked through Abraham.  God gave Abraham promises, but the ultimate fulfillment of those promises would always be in the future.  God promised Abraham that he would have a great amount of land (we call it Israel today) but Abraham himself would not acquire possession of it.  God promises Abraham that his offspring would worship God freely in that land, but they would have to serve many nations before that time.  Finally Stephen mentioned that God sealed his promises with a covenant.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
According to Stephen, Abraham really was a man of faith.  God made all these grand promises, but Abraham would not see many of them come to their ultimate fulfillment.  In addition to this, Abraham had to do things and move around a good bit in order for God to position him to receive those promises.  Abraham displayed a great amount of faith and trust.  In fact, Stephen is saying that Abraham’s actions are completely a response to God’s interaction with him.  This begins the understanding that Christians have in Christ that we are not saved by our own works and especially not by our ability to live according to the Law.  We are saved by Christ, and anything we do is out of a response to that salvation much like everything Abraham did was a response to God’s promises.

What is the difference between doing good works because you are trying to earn God’s love and doing good works because you have already earned it?  How can this impact how other people perceive us as Christians?

Second Thought:
This second thought piggy-backs upon the first thought.  Abraham did most of his work as a response, but he also did it while looking a good bit forward.  Abraham responded to God because he was thinking of the countless generations that would come after him who would benefit from his faithful response to God’s call.  Much of the work that Abraham did he accomplished for the sake of people that he would never meet.  In Abraham we see a great perspective on the complete opposite of self-mongerism.  Abraham works for other people – even other people that he’ll never meet in this life.  Many of the promises that God gives to Abraham he will not see himself.

How does this thought impact our decision making process?  How many of the decisions we make are based on the consequences that impact ourselves?  Are we good at making decisions based on how they will impact our future progeny?

Third Thought:
God gives evidence of His promises.  God gives circumcision to Abraham so that there would be evidence of the promise.  In other parts of scripture, God gives the Law to Moses as a sign of His promise to take the Hebrew people as His people.  In the New Testament, we know that God gives us the Holy Spirit as the guarantor of salvation.  (See Ephesians 1:13-14)  God raised Jesus Christ as evidence that He can conquer death and deliver eternal life.  God does not give us empty promises and ask us to trust the He is good for it.  Rather, God gives us full promises and then He provides evidence that He can live up to His Word.

In what ways has God made Himself clear in your life?  Where have you seen God Himself present in your thoughts, actions, or words?  If God is in you, does that give you hope in your salvation into eternal life with Him?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 7: 9-16
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