Three of today’s major religions are rooted in Abraham: Judaism views Abraham as its founding patriarch.
In Islam, Abraham (known as Prophet Ibrahim) is the friend of God and the father of Prophets: Ishmael and Isaac, and the grandfather of Prophet Jacob . He is also one of the ancestors of the Muhammad.
Mormonism — with its emphasis on the priesthood of Melchizedek — also testifies to Abraham’s importance. Standing side by side with the Bible in the Mormon canon are the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Book of Abraham which was an Egyptian manuscript Joseph Smith believed was written by Abraham’s “own hand.”
Given the importance of Abraham’s influence, we should know what the New Testament teaches about him.
The Apostle Paul argues in Romans 4 that everyone who will ever know God must follow the example of Abraham. The question is what is that example exactly?
At the end of Romans 3 Paul made three claims about justification by faith:
- the gospel ends our pride (Romans 3:27);
- the gospel ends our prejudice (Romans 3:29) and
- the gospel fulfills the Law (Romans 3:31).
In Romans 4 Paul illustrates those claims with the life of Abraham and explains what saving faith is.
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