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Sabbath School Insights
2017 Quarter 3: Jul - Sep
Insight #5 July 29, 2017
THIRD QUARTER 2017 ADULT SABBATH SCHOOL LESSONS
"OLD TESTAMENT FAITH"
JULY 29, 2017
"OLD TESTAMENT FAITH"
JULY 29, 2017
“Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Gal. 3:6. If you had a choice, would you rather be accounted righteous, or would you rather be righteous? Or, is Paul in this verse actually describing the experiencing of being righteous with the word, “accounted”?
Does God engage in a sort of, “make-believe” when He “reckons”, or “counts” us as righteous? Clearly God knows our true condition. What would be His purpose in saying something is the case, when it is in fact not the case. We’re told in Titus that God cannot lie, so if He says it then it has to be true. Why reckoned, or “accounted” then.
Perhaps, as is often the case, we need to do our homework. A good rule of thumb on a verse that seems a bit confusing is to go through the following exercise: 1. What does the verse actually SAY? Yes, you need a concordance and you need to look things up – i.e. Bible STUDY. 2. What does the verse MEAN? Look at context, other uses of the word, etc. 3. How do I APPLY the verses? Said another way, look at such verses with the following axiom – WHAT, SO WHAT, NOW WHAT! What does it actually say? What does it mean? And, how do I apply it?
So, what does the word “account” or “reckon” actually say? The word in Greek is “logizomai”, which comes from the root, “logos”, where we get the translated word, “word”. It is similar to the idea of considering or estimating something or someone to be in a certain situation. So another way of saying Gal.5:6 is to say that God “esteemed” or “considered” Abraham to be righteous.
And now for the important question. Did God esteem, or consider, or account Abraham to be righteous because God needed to do that to balance some heavenly accounting books? Did God reckon Abraham to be righteous because God needed to do a heavenly bait and switch, where somehow God miraculously pretended that Abraham’s still immature faith was going to be called righteousness, even though we all know (including God and Abraham), that it’s not really righteousness, but by “counting” it so, then the heavenly justice books are satisfied?
Or, did God esteem, consider, “reckon”, Abraham to be righteous, because Abraham needed to see the confidence (or faith) that God was expressing in him, in order to give Abraham the courage that God was for him, and with him, and supporting him, even when Abraham knew that he was immature and still making mistakes? God reckons or accounts things to be the case in our lives, not because God is doing some mystical or fancy heavenly accounting to balance some heavenly ledger, but God esteems us better than we are FOR OUR BENEFIT! God knows our true condition irrespective of how we are esteemed or reckoned or accounted. But God RELATES TO US as if we were His righteous children, even though we’re still growing and falling and getting up and falling again.
We need that reckoning or accounting on God’s part towards us to encourage and strengthen us so that when we do fall short, we can fall back on the assurance that our Heavenly Father is still on our side – esteeming us and considering us and reckoning us to be better than we actually are. It’s that confidence or “faith” that God has in us, that ultimately produces the mature righteousness in us that we lack at the beginning of our salvation walk while still being considered righteous.
So eject from your mind and heart any idea that God is accounting something to be the case because He needs to do that for His holiness or justice to be satisfied. He is accounting things to be the case because we need it! If God is for us, who can be against us! (Rom.8:31). God being for us is another way of saying that He is esteeming us or considering us to be not merely what we are at the moment that we first believed, but what He sees that we can and will be as we appreciate His faith (esteeming) in us.
The only question is, will you believe - and thus experience - what God’s faith and estimation of you promises that you will be, or will you believe what Satan and your fickle emotions tell you that you are when you fall short? As John the Baptist said, “Believe the good news”, (Mark 1:15), of how God has chosen to relate to you! When you have faith in God’s prophetic view of your future, then righteousness will follow – not by a sense of obligation or requirement – but out of an appreciation for God’s confidence in you when everyone else, including yourself, saw no reason for confidence or trust in you.
May we believe God’s “accounting”, and experience the righteousness (love) inherent in it!