Peter called Lot “righteous” even though he lived among the wicked and came to a very bitter end. God called Noah Righteous even though he came to a disgraceful end as well. Abraham is another man that God calls righteous. 18 faithHe’s righteous not because he’s perfect (thank you, Lord), but because he trusted God. Genesis 15:6 says, “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.”

Abraham was far from perfect. The story in Genesis chapter 20 is a perfect example. He lies to Abimelech about Sarah and lets him take her for his wife. But God intercedes and protects Abimelech from Abraham’s lie. Then he blesses Abimelech and Abimelech responds by blessing Abraham with great wealth. Clearly we see the truth of Romans 8:28, “God works all things together for good, to those who love Him.” He even uses our sins for His own purposes. God doesn’t love us for what we can do for Him. His love for us is unconditional. But this is not license to sin; it is confidence in spite of our falling into sin. We’ve all sinned in the past and we’ll all sin in the future and if the truth be shared we are all sinning at the moment. There are sins of commission and sins of omission as we’re instructed by James.

Most of you have heard the children’s hymn, “Jesus loves me. This I know for the bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, I am weak but he is strong, Yes, Jesus loves me.” There’s another verse that we don’t sing very often. It says, “Jesus loves me when I’m good, when I do the things that I should. Jesus loves me when I’m bad, even though it makes him sad.” Yes, Jesus loves me and you even when we’re bad also. Kent Hughes writes, “It is so common to think that God will love us more if we perform some great work, some external achievement. But the Bible (and here the story of Abraham and Abimelech) focuses on making a great heart. Here God was working in Abraham to create an unusual dependence upon him, because (Kent quotes Oswald Chambers here) ‘He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.’” It is faith that pleases God. Without faith “it’s impossible to please God.”