And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him. Genesis 17:27
If you probably think this scripture is too long and you therefore have skipped reading it, I wouldn’t blame you because I understand well the fast world in which we live today. But it is essential that you read through the whole scripture because it is more important than what I have to say in this post. Here’s the way to go about it: Calm yourself down, take a deep breath and get off to somewhere quiet, with no kids running between your legs or the chow burning.
Actually, the scripture we are looking at is the entire chapter 17 of the Book of Genesis, which you can read conveniently in your own version of the Bible.
There are many things that we are going to consider in this scripture (I think). The subject is one, though. I will try to be as brief as possible with each topic. However, I ask for your patience. Being the sort of fellow who writes off the cuff, and incurably scatter-brained, I sincerely doubt that I am capable of doing even the minutest justice to the deep lessons to be found in the above scripture. But the matter addressed therein is of the utmost importance and we have to address it. And more importantly, I am trusting the Holy Spirit to help me in my weakness.
Now, lest I wander off into the bush and miss it, let me hit the nail on the head straight away. The point I want to establish here is that Abraham walked a perfect life without the law. Mark that with the reddest pen you can get. And you can now hang up your running shoes. We have come to the end. Once you hit that word, “perfect”, you’ve arrived.
God’s call upon our lives is, simply, a call to perfection. In Matthew 5:48, Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This is the same call that we see God giving to Abraham, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
In Colossians 1:28 the Apostle Paul says that his goal in ministry was to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”.
And in Ephesians chapter 4 we read that God gave the 5-fold ministry to the church to build it up so that (we read in verse 13) “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
All the gifts that Christ gave to the church are geared towards achieving a single end: a perfect man or woman, who lives up to the measure of the stature of Christ – for each one singularly and for the church as a Body.
You see, the problem with the church today is law, legalism. We need to realize that we will never get anywhere spiritually as long as we are walking by law, and not by grace. We already established in an earlier post (“No Law, No Sin”) that the law does not have the power to defeat sin. Indeed, as we saw in 1 Corinthians 15:56, “the strength of sin is the law”!
The church needs to – has to – get the law out of its system.
What we want to look at in the following couple of posts or so is how Abraham achieved perfection without the law. I am sure we will get to understand why Abraham earned the title “father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). And we will get to see how we, too, can – and should – become heirs of the same faith that Abraham had.
So buckle up, and let us embark on the most exciting safari ever!