Counting Stars In An Empty Sky By Michael Youssef

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


Day Five

Sheer Grace

Scripture: Galatians 3:16

One of God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 12 is that he will become a great nation. This is the first of many unconditional promises God made to Abraham. It’s just as well that it was unconditional, because if it was conditioned upon Abraham’s faithfulness and performance, and that of his descendants, the promise would have been null and void very quickly. 

When God chose us in Christ, that was an act of sheer grace. It was unconditional. It had nothing to do with us. We were lost in sin and incapable of meeting the demands of a just and holy God. Our salvation was a gift of His grace, not based on our works. We had nothing to do with our salvation except the decision to receive it. 

Why could God make an unconditional promise to Abraham that He would make of Abraham a great nation? Because the greatness of that nation didn’t depend on the faithfulness of Abraham or his descendants. God’s unconditional promise to Abraham was not fulfilled by Abraham or his offspring. God’s unconditional promise was fulfilled by “the seed” of Abraham. Who or what is “the seed” of Abraham? 

The apostle Paul answers this question in Galatians 3:16. For centuries, Jewish scholars and teachers misunderstood what God’s promise meant. They interpreted seed in a plural-collective sense, never realizing that God was using seed in a singular sense, meaning not many seeds but the one seed—Jesus the Messiah. 

Millions of people around the world today and billions down through history have worshiped the living God because of the blessings He showered on Abraham, blessings that are fulfilled in Jesus. 

It’s no wonder that when Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I am,” the religious leaders picked up stones and wanted to kill Him (John 8:56–59). They thought they were the seeds of Abraham, his promised descendants. But it was Jesus who was the seed, and through Him, countless people from every nation around the world would come to a saving faith and eternal life. And Jesus, the singular seed of Abraham, was also the preexistent and eternal Creator. 

Why do you think Abraham is such a prominent figure in both the Old Testament and the New Testament?