Grasping the Promise
In Sunday’s sermon we learned about the promise that Abraham received, namely that he would be heir of the world (Romans 4:13). We learned that he received this promise by faith, and that receiving the promise had to be this way. We also learned that Abraham’s faith had a certain “look” to it: Abraham trusted in God even though there was nothing in his circumstances to indicate that he could have a child through his wife Sarah.
Though the promised blessing in this passage is huge, certain factors make it difficult for us to grasp. The biggest barrier, it seems to me, is that to become heirs of the world with Abraham at some point in the unknown future seems too distant to be of benefit right now. Given the amount of information we process, as well as our human tendency toward immediate gratification, we might chalk this promise up to be something to consider down the road. But this would be a mistake.
It’s common knowledge in the corporate world that an organization without a vision will struggle, but it’s less common for individuals to give much thought to the vision of the future that shapes their own lives (or should shape their lives). Our eyes tend to focus on that which is right in front of us. What vision or goals we have tend to be both basic and close enough to grasp, such as running a marathon this year or traveling to Hawaii.
The blessing to Abraham and to his spiritual heirs will more substantially affect our lives if we can bring it down to the “everyday/now” level. Two things are helpful here. First: we meditate (think in a focused and reflective way) about the promises of God. This requires time set aside for this purpose. For example, I often reflect on an image in my mind before going to sleep that visualizes the wonderful blessings to come in the new heavens and new earth. Is there some way you could take time, even today, to consider God’s blessings? You might find that, as you become more heavenly-minded, you become more earthly good (to challenge the cliché).
Second: don’t allow your perception of the future to be too abstract. Abstraction is often an enemy of current benefit. What do you know about Abraham’s blessings that speak in tangible terms to you? The ability to see old friends forever? The wonder of learning for eternity? The joy of fulfilling and productive work? If you need ideas on this front, see Randy Alcorn’s extensive treatment of the subject in Heaven.
Don’t miss God’s promise today. If you don’t yet know what it means to be part of God’s family and inherit this promise, then contact us and we’ll help you work through this eternally-significant topic. If you already are an heir of God’s promises, is there an idea above that could help you grasp them more fully?
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Beau Stanley and his wife, Stacey, both grew up in the Columbus area and have been part of Grace Polaris Church for most of their lives. Beau joined the Grace staff in 2007 after theology studies in the Chicago area and in Phoenix (Phoenix Seminary). Prior to that, he studied commerce (University of Virginia) and worked in the financial industry, including a role as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Beau is a fitness enthusiast and also enjoys music and learning about diverse topics. Beau and Stacey have two young boys.