Texts: Galatians 3:1-14; Romans 1:2, 4:3; Genesis 15:6, 12:1-3; Leviticus 17:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21
What began as a fun day at the beach took a turn that could have ended in disaster. Unaware of a severe rip current, two boys playing in the surf were suddenly swept away from shore. Noticing that the boys were in unsafe waters and unable to return on their own, family members, including their grandmother, all tried to assist and became trapped as well. They were too far from shore to get back on their own.1
At first those watching from the sand thought the frantic family had seen a shark in the waters, but it became evident that instead of a shark, the problem was a riptide. Police were called but unfortunately nothing was available until a boat could be sent out later. One woman determined that the boys, their grandmother, and the nine other family members must be rescued. With the help of boogie boards and surf boards, 70-80 onlookers from the beach began forming a human chain. Hands were clasped as the chain reached out farther and farther into the water. Finally, all were rescued. The family members, as well as rescuers, were all safe on the shore. The faith of each member of the chain in the other members made the rescue possible.2
In our lesson this week we studied how God was involved in an elaborate rescue plan to save us. The plan requires faith. In both the Old and New Testaments, we’re given examples of individuals who accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit and demonstrated faith. Abraham was one of those people. In the Old Testament, his story of faith, growth, and trust unfolds. In the New Testament, the story is mentioned again in several places when Abraham’s faith is used as a testimony of those who demonstrate faith by trusting God. As we read his story, we see an imperfect man with enormous faith.
Since no one, not even Abraham, is able to keep the law perfectly, there had to be a plan to provide salvation to those who have faith in God—those who trust in the forgiveness and saving power of Jesus, the One who became what we deserve so that, through faith, we could experience something we could never deserve. Through faith we can experience something we could never earn, something that comes only as a gift. Even Abraham, one held up as an example of extreme faith, could not present a life that was perfect when held up to the law. Abraham’s hope came through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because, like Abraham, we cannot measure up to the law, our only hope comes in our faith in Jesus.