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Summary: Because we are simultaneously saints and sinners there are times when we go so easily from faithful service to failure.

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Genesis 26:1-11

August 17, 2003

We’ve all been there. One minute we are being used by God to accomplish something wonderful for His kingdom. Our faith is strong. We are riding high on the wonder of God’s grace working through us. Then the very next minute we do something so boneheaded that we smack ourselves on the head and say, "what was I thinking?" One minute we are serving God with all our heart and the next we are committing a sin so basic that a child would see it for what it is.

We have a situation like this in our passage for this morning.

A. The highlight of faith Genesis 26:1-6

1. The crisis situation 26:1

Famine

Abimelech - dynastic title of people living along sea - at least 50 years after Abraham had been here in chapter 20. Probably the son or grandson of the king that Abraham dealt with. Philistines - not the same that David and Saul encounter later in 1 Samuel.

2. The challenge to Isaac 26:2-5

God tells Isaac not to go to Egypt - just like God told Abraham to leave his land and go to one which God had shown him. This is the test of Isaac to see whether the promises would pass to him

3. The response of faith 26:6

B. The weakness of faith 26:7-11

1. The Lie 26:7

Abraham’s was a half truth - Isaac’s is a full lie.

Fear - God has just promised to give him all of the covenant blessings, yet he now doubts God’s ability to protect him.

Genesis 12 & 20

2. The Lie discovered 26:8-11

NIV Genesis 20:1 Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar,

2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman."

4 Now Abimelech had not gone near her, so he said, "Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation?

5 Did he not say to me, ’She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ’He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands."

6 Then God said to him in the dream, "Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her.

So what is going on here?

This illustrates one of the most amazing truths of God’s grace. Under the grace of God we are simultaneously justified and sinners. At the very same moment those in Christ are declared righteous before God through the blood of Jesus and yet at the very same moment are still sinners.

NIV Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

I appreciate what Paul says in Romans 7 so much.


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