“And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” – Genesis 15:5-6 (NASB)
This is where it begins for every person who by faith believes the Word of God. The words of this verse are the words God spoke to Abram when he reaffirmed His covenant (unbreakable promise) regarding Abram’s descendants. They were to be uncountable. Genesis 15:6 provides an important note, but it does not pinpoint Abram’s conversion. That occurred years earlier when he left Ur. Verse 16 is a truth recorded here because it is foundational for making the covenant. It is repeated three times in the New Testament (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23) and teach us that righteousness is reckoned in return for faith. It is belief in God which is only by the gift of faith that we are saved. Nothing exists that we can do to earn the righteousness God gives to us in Christ. Good works and good behavior has no bearing on us having from God eternal life. This truth is repeated many times in Scripture. Trusting God’s promises is where it begins for us and those who truly believe by faith will find that it never ends. That is why it is called ‘eternal life.’
“And blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:45 (NASB)
Our verse today is one we read and hear often at Christmas time. But the truth and promise in the verse is good for us to remember and apply all year long. These words were spoken by Elizabeth, a cousin to Mary, the when Elizabeth learned that Mary was carrying the Christ child in her womb. Mary certainly did receive God’s blessing for believing what He had promised. For several reasons Mary deserved being called blessed. Mary is the most honored of all women because she believed what she had been told from the Lord. It was a profound expression of Elizabeth’s confidence that Mary’s Child would be the long-hoped-for Messiah. Each of us who believes that God does and will do what He has promised receives blessings through the many promises God gives us. As we think of some of his promises today let’s believe and trust that He does keep His word.
In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father.” – John 16:26-27 (NASB)
Christ teaches what He meant by praying in His name. He did not mean asking Him to ask the Father, as if the Father was indifferent to believers, but not to His Son. Asking in Jesus’ name means simply asking on the basis of His merit, His righteousness, and for whatever would honor and glorify Him. We are in the time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. During these days we see lots of decorations and lights and beautiful pictures. We see pictures which artists have made of what we call manger scenes. We are reminded that when Jesus was born his mother had only a feed trough to use far a bed for Jesus. Even as he lay there, our verse reminds us that he was the Son of God for he came from God the Father in heaven to live on earth as a human. Our verse tells us that as we believe that Jesus came from God and love Him, God knows that, and He loves us. Let’s remember as we think of the time Jesus came as a baby, that He came from God because of God’s love.
“And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” – John 4:41-42 (ESV)
Imagine, this woman in our verse was a woman of ill-repute who came to the water well at a time when she would not have to encounter any other people. But one day, she did encounter another person, a man. Not just a man but a Jew and she was a Samaritan. In the day, the two did not meet, did not speak, had nothing to do with each other. Jews despised Samaritans because the latter were mixed race, not pure. Part Jew and part Assyrian. Jesus of Nazareth had purposed to be there at that appointed time. He knew everything about the woman. He wanted her to know that He was the promised Messiah. Jesus reveals who He is to this woman who had been married five times and was now living with a man she was not married to. He promises eternal life to her if she will believe. She does and she spreads the news. Many believed first because of her testimony and then because of what Jesus told them. He stayed two days in their town and they believed He was the Savior of the world. He still is and will be forever.
(Read the context in John 4:7-42)
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
These days when a house is bought and ownership changes, there is generally first an amount of money put into and account to guarantee the earnestness of the buyer. Remember when we first learned the doctrines of grace? At first we did not know much about saving grace. We did not know whether God had converted us, or we had converted ourselves. As we read and listened to Bible teaching, we began at once to see how God the Father planned, and God the Son carried out the plan, and God the Holy Spirit made the plan effective. We learned truths which we might have believed before, but which we could not clearly and fully understand. The joy of gaining the knowledge of God’s truth was exceeding great. Having got a hold once and for all of the truth of God in that moment His Holy Spirit increased our knowledge, and opened the eyes of our understanding, we had the earnest, the guarantee, that we were promised. One day shall see, not through a glass darkly, but face to face, and then we shall know the whole truth, even as we are known now by God.
“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16:26–27 (ESV)
We learned a couple days ago in Apostle Paul’s first letter to Timothy, that there is only on mediator between us and God Almighty who is Holy and Righteous in all things. Becoming and being our go-between was the essential work and mission of Jesus, the Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and in what He has done for us, will often think of Him not as a negotiator but as a mediator working on our behalf. The Bible says Jesus does that for us and He is the only one between us and God who can mediate for us. That is exactly what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross for our sin, rising from the grace, and opened a direct pathway between us and God our Father. That is the promise in today’s verses. Jesus tells us, that believing in Him and loving Him is the way to go directly to God. We are not required to go through any intermediary and we don’t need Jesus to be more of a Mediator than He is. God the Father loves us and gives us the right of in-person audiences before Our Father God.