The Bible tells the story of a rich man who traveled into a foreign country and released his wife into the harem of a pagan king on two separate occasions. This same man fathered children with multiple wives, as well as one of his wife’s handmaids. What do you think God did with this man?
In two short sentences, I described to you Abraham, father of the Jewish nation, and the prime Biblical example of faith. In all fairness to Abraham, the two sentences I used to introduce him captured the worst moments of his life. In the opening paragraph of this post, I unfairly defined him by his sin, and his failures.
While I may seem like a dirty dog for doing that, the truth is we do this to ourselves and each other on a daily basis. We tend to define ourselves by our worst moments, which leads to discouragement, which leads to depression, which leads to anger and estrangement.
You may see yourself as a failure. You may see others around you as failures. However, that does not mean that’s how God sees you, nor does it mean that’s how God sees others.
How can God honor a man who sinned as grievously as Abraham? Simple. Romans 4:3 says “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”
Abraham believed God. He trusted God. He took God at His word. Therefore, God regarded Abraham as righteous and saved his soul.
Furthermore, God looked at Abraham, not as the adulterous man who violated His plan for marriage, but rather as a work in progress that God refined until he was ready to receive His blessings.
You see this concept at work with Joshua the high priest in Zechariah 3. Joshua the high priest stood before God wearing filthy garments, a sign of his sin, and a sign of the sin of his people. Satan stood beside Joshua, “resisting,” or accusing him, but God responded, “The LORD rebuke thee, Satan, even the LORD who hath chosen Israel rebuke thee, is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
Joshua stood before God as a mess, but God saw Joshua for the man whom he was transforming him to be.
Your life may be a mess right now. You may be fearful to enter God’s presence. Perhaps that is why you haven’t been to church in a while. You want to at least be able to put your best foot forward, and right now, you don’t have a shoe to fit.
If you trust God, He regards that as righteousness, and He will save your soul. Furthermore, His view of you has less to do with what you are, and more to do with what He will transform you to be. He sees the best in you, and He will bring it out.
And just as scripture gives glowing praise of Abraham, if you trust God to do this work in you, you, too, will hear God’s praise on the day of judgment, when He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
If you don’t know the Jesus Christ as your savior, trust Him to save you today. If you know the Lord, trust Him to transform you. Then, return to His presence.
I’ll see you Sunday morning.