9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’j I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
The patriarch Abraham was promised by God to be the father of as many children as there are stars in the sky (see Genesis 15:5). Here, John the Baptist says that we must not rely on the faith of Abraham to save us. Only the mercy of God can save us. Instead, what we need to rely on the mercy of God is a faith like Abraham’s faith.
I realize there are times when I lean on my spiritual heritage more than my personal relationship with Jesus. It might be something like this: I am a Methodist. We do Bible study well. We have good church potlucks. We provide charity to the poor. John Wesley taught us….
All of those traditions are nice from a human perspective, and they can remind us of our connection to a spiritual family. However, just because I am a part of them, does not mean that I am saved by the trappings of religion.
I have saved by a faith LIKE Abraham’s, not a faith OF Abraham. There is a big difference. Every one of us must make it our personal mission to nurture our faith within through repentance. Repentance can happen daily when I get up in the morning and say, “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” In saying such a simple, but powerful prayer, we acknowledge the source of salvation, who is God in Jesus Christ.
We humble ourselves before the majesty of God. We can continually claim for ourselves an identity as a beloved child of God. It is unpopular to say, “I am a sinner”, but it is freeing to me to know that. As a sinner, I stopping trying to be perfect for the world as a show. I give up perfectionism, and pick up Christian perfection (accepting that God can perfect God’s work in me through repentance and obedience to God’s will.
All saints are sinners, but not all sinners are saints. The difference is a personal faith like Abraham’s that goes when God call us to go. That repents when God calls us to repent.
Lord, I confess that I have often relied upon the trappings of religion instead of developing a personal relationship with you. I have practiced the faith of Abraham, instead of cultivating within myself a faith like Abraham through daily obedience. I repent of my ways, and ask that you would perfect your will within me. Amen.