Abraham and the Fire – Gospel in Life

Abraham and the Fire

Tim Keller |  July 3, 2011

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  • Salvation
  • Understanding the Gospel
Genesis 15:1-21
RS 331-01


This account of Abraham encountering God is known as a theophany — where God manifests himself in a dramatic, physical expression. This sermon will look at the passage under three headings: 1) The questions and doubts of Abraham; 2) The answers and assurances of God; and 3) What this means for us.

Genesis 15:1–21

We’re looking at times when God made His presence known in a real way on earth, known as theophanies. These events in the Old Testament help us better understand who God is, especially as He is fully expressed in Jesus Christ. One particular story we’re focusing on involves a deep conversation between God and Abraham, where Abraham is full of doubts and questions, and God gives answers and promises. This story has a lot to teach us today.

1. Abraham’s doubts and questions

Even though God keeps reassuring him, Abraham still has doubts and fears. This shows us that God is patient with our questions and doubts, guiding us towards faith without forcing us. This careful balance is important because it neither glorifies doubt nor discourages questioning. This approach is different from what we often see in our culture, and it shows us how important it is to have spaces where people can ask their hard questions and be guided towards a deeper faith.

2. God’s answers and promises

God makes a special promise, called a covenant, with Abraham. He shows in a dramatic way what would happen if the covenant were broken. At first, Abraham thinks he’s the one who has to keep the covenant, but God makes it clear that He’s the one who will keep His promises. This covenant, made possible because Jesus Christ gave His life for us, extends the blessing given to Abraham to everyone. It promises salvation to all, no strings attached.

3. What does this mean for us?

Christianity is special among all religions because our God became human. This offers a unique and beautiful view of who God is. It’s a faith based on grace, meaning that God saves us through Jesus Christ, rather than us trying to save ourselves. God’s nature and His promises never change, and this gives us a strong anchor for our lives. We can be confident and secure in God’s constant presence.



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