Athlete, You Are Included

*This devotional series was written by the AIA staff team at the University of Virginia

Read Genesis 15

Abram wants to know how God will make him into a great nation and bless all nations through his offspring if he has no child (15:2-3)?  Once again, God reassures Abram of his promises.  

First, God asks Abram to look up at a starry sky and compares the number of Abram's offspring to the stars.  "Abram believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6). Righteousness was credited to Abram because of his faith in God's promises.  The New Testament quotes this crucial verse to show that God has always forgiven sin and counted his children as righteous on the basis of faith, not on the basis of their good works (see Romans 4).  Abram was saved from sin and death by faith in promises that had not yet been fulfilled.  Christians today are saved by faith in these same promises, but the promises have already been fulfilled through the work of Christ.  

Second, God gives Abram a vision that is foreign to us.  In the ancient near east, two parties would "cut a covenant" by cutting animals in two and walking together between the divided animals.  If one party failed to keep the covenant, he invoked the cursed fate of the animal on himself.  In this instance, God, represented by the smoking firepot, passes through the animals without Abram.  While God's covenants with his people are two-sided, in that they include demands of his people, this vision shows that God himself would fulfill the demands of the covenant.  God does this through his Son, Jesus.  Jesus not only took the curse for the failure of God's people to obey the covenant on the cross, He also obeyed the demands of the covenant perfectly on our behalf.  Through our union with Jesus, we are included in his death for our covenant-breaking ways and we are included in his righteous life.  As we live in him and He is in us, He enables us to walk in obedience to the good, life-giving ways of God's covenant.  

 Questions for Reflection and Prayer

1. Abram believed in the promise of God, but he could not figure out how God was going to make it happen.  Are there areas of your life where you struggle to trust in God because you are not sure how God could work to bring good?

2. Today, do you understand your God's love for you to be based on your performance or your good works, or are you believing that his love for you is based on your union with Jesus (by faith), who perfectly fulfilled the demands of God's covenant on your behalf?

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