Genesis 18-20…God sends three visitors to Abraham, God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, but spares Lot and his family, and Abraham and Abimelech encounter God’s character.
The Lord has been faithful and merciful to Abraham despite his rebellion and foolishness. He sends three visitors to let Abraham and Sarah know once again that they will have a son, as promised. Sarah laughs at this notion, then lies about her unbelief. The question posed by the Lord here is very encouraging. In Genesis 18:14, He says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Of course, the answer is no, nothing; but, the question is asked to remind Sarah that God doesn’t operate under the same limitations as us.
Despite Abraham’s pattern of sin, he seems to be growing in faith, slowly but surely. God’s patience is amazing, and as we see the ebbing and flowing of Abraham’s obedience, we should recognize that we’re no different. He asks the Lord to spare Lot and his family, and God does so, destroying all of the rest of Sodom and Gomorrah. The messiness of Abraham’s faith is just like ours. We cannot perfectly believe, and we sin daily. Our hearts are lukewarm far too often, and we fail to grasp the seriousness of our sin against a holy God. But God is faithful, and He is maturing us spiritually, using trials and tribulations to sanctify us. If we pursue Him, He will grow us, but we have to fight, and treat each day as a spiritual battle. Sanctification does not come easily, and if we are not consuming His word regularly, praying consistently, and engaging in intimate fellowship with the brothers and sisters in our church, we won’t grow. This is important for our assurance of salvation, because if we’re not being sanctified, then we may not be saved.
In Genesis 20, Abraham once again shows that his faith is weak, and he doesn’t trust God to protect him. He lies to King Abimelech, thinking that he can protect himself through deception. These things are written for our warning, not for us to imitate. This shows us that even Abraham needed a savior. He cannot be justified by his works, but must be indebted for justification, to the righteousness which can only come through Christ.
Romans 4:22-25 is specifically about how Abraham was saved in the same way we are:
22 This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ 23 The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness – for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.