Its been interesting to be involved in a series on Genesis recently. One of the big questions for me has become, what is it that we learn exactly about Christ from the Old Testament and in particular the Father’s of faith? What does it mean that Abram ‘believed the LORD and it was credited to him as righteousness?’ Genesis 15:6. On what basis was he righteous? Was it a smoke and mirrors faith, as I’ve come to term it, where he trusted in some sort of general sign or God and through that was indirectly saved by trusting in Christ- even though he didn’t know it. I’m convinced not. I’m convinced in fact that he trusted directly in Christ, who as John Owen and others have so wonderfully commentated has always mediated between God and the church.
For as the Bible puts it: ‘Salvation is found in noone else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12.
‘For I do not want you to be ignorant brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptised into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink: for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
Take Genesis 15. Who was it that Abram trusted when the Lord made his covenant with him? Did he have some sort of pre-Christian pseudo faith that we have to learn from by basically discarding for the real deal? No, Genesis 15 presents Abram as trusting in the one who is known as the ‘word of the Lord.’
‘After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1
John in his gospel prologue is very clear that we should understand Christ as being the Word of the Lord, who is, in the context of the passage, the eternal Word who predated John the Baptist and has always been at the Father’s side. This word is also visible, verse 1 of Genesis 15, as he came in a ‘vision’. So this is not just a spoken word. Additionally the Bible assures us that it cannot be God the Father, because ‘no-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made him known.’ John 1:18.
So this word is a person, which is confirmed further, when in verse 5 we read that: ‘He (that’s the word of the Lord) took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars…’
In verse 6 and this is the crux really, we are then told that ‘Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.’
So where is Abram’s faith and what is the basis for his righteousness that is always praised in the Bible? Well, he believed the word of the Lord. The word of the Lord, Christ the second person of the Trinity who has always mediated the affairs of the church. Which means that Abrams faith is not ‘trust here and believe some vague thing and indirectly you will be saved by faith in Christ.’ No his faith is in Christ directly.